The City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County are dedicated to providing wonderful recreation areas and programming for families. We are fortunate to live in a community so rich with parks, nature trails & outdoor play areas. And, an added bonus is our Schoolyard Playgrounds. When all the children have left school for the day and on weekends, the playgrounds in Charlottesville and Albemarle are available as public parks for everyone to enjoy. Below find descriptions of all the favorite places for children to play - whether they're sandbox fans or ready for minor league sports! For other fun ideas, also take a look at our other publication especially for tourists and newcomers, The Charlottesville Welcome Book.
Charlottesville City Parks
Charlottesville operates over two dozen wonderfully fun parks and playgrounds for children that are always being added to and improved! The Charlottesville Parks & Recreation Department provides many programs and events throughout the year, too. You can call them to find out more or to reserve a shelter at 970-3260. The Parks Division can be reached at 970-3090 or visit their web site.
Shaded park on a quiet neighborhood street with new picnic shelters and sprinklers for the hottest days of summer; take the walking path to Crow Recreation Center to pick up the sprinkler key. This park also has lots of room for kids to run around without getting out of sight. There are two playgrounds one for older children and one for tot-sized children.
250E Bypass to Rugby/McIntire Park exit, right at stop sign, at next light, right on Rose Hill Dr., park on right at Greenleaf Lane. Parking can be at a premium in this little neighborhood park, please be courteous to the families living nearby and mindful not to block driveways.
In summer, you will find the playground and wading pool near the bypass full of little ones, with many other families enjoying the nine-hole golf course, athletic fields, and the second playground back near the picnic shelter. This huge park, the city's largest, is the home of the Annual Dogwood Festival and is a popular sledding spot, too. McIntire also has a skate park where kids can rollerblade, skateboard, play roller hockey, and ride BMX bikes under the watchful eye of a full-time attendant. They are currently undergoing construction improvements so check out the progress as it happens!
250E Bypass to Rugby/McIntire Park exit, left at stop sign into park
Popular in warm weather, the Onesty Pool and Water Park has a separate toddler area, lazy river, waterslide, and a bright and imaginative playground. Bathhouse and snack bar are adjacent. Picnic shelter, basketball court, and athletic field are also available.
250E Bypass to right on High St., bear left on Meade Ave. at fork, park on left.
The second largest park in Charlottesville, Pen offers a golf course, tennis courts, athletic fields, sand volleyball pit, and big sunny playground with water and restrooms nearby. Popular spot for kite flying on breezy days. Fitness and interpretive nature trail along the river can also be explored here.
Rt. 29N to right on Rio Rd., 2 miles on left
On the floodplain of the Rivanna, this park provides a close look at nature with the Greenbelt Interpretive Trail. It is likely that you will see many birds, deer, squirrels and even beavers at work building their dams! The paved trail reaches 1.4 miles all the way to Free Bridge and is a safe and easy place for kids just learning to trike or bike. The park also has a playground, port-a-potty, and an open play field.
Corner of Chesapeake St.& Riverside St.
Tonsler's playground is brand new and lots of fun! There are also basketball and tennis courts, softball fields and a new recreation building.
Corner of 5th St. and Cherry Ave.
This popular swimming pool has a waterslide, a mushroom waterfall, and a beach-like graduated water level. There are new playgrounds for big kids and for tots with even a playhouse and table set. The recreation center is open year-round and provides water and restrooms.
Corner of Preston Ave and 10th St.
Charlottesville Neighborhood Parks
Bring your own volleyball net and Azalea Park is the perfect spot for a family get-together. It features lots of room to run around, an interesting looking bug climber, and a grill in the shade. Take a walk on the side with a view of Moore's Creek and you will see an innovative erosion control project, a beautiful bog garden. Community gardens and a fenced in area where dogs can run make this a park with dedicated fans. There is also a ball field, volleyball poles, basketball court, dinosaur, bug climber, small merry-go-round, animals to ride, diggers, and swings.
Off Old Lynchburg Road near I-64
Thanks to fund-raising efforts from members of the Belmont community, the park has recently received a total renovation.
Sprayground, swings, basketball court, and tall shady oaks make this a favorite park for all ages. A sheltered courtyard is also the setting for outdoor concerts.
At the intersection of Rialto Street & Druid Avenue. Click here to view location on map.
For the compact space, Fifeville has quite a bit of playground. The shelter is a good spot for a small family gathering.
Add to that a full basketball court, swings, slide, small merry-go-round, teeter-totter, climber, animals to ride, and a grill it is a great space to spend the afternoon.
Off Cherry Avenue at Spring & King Streets.
Forest Hills Park
Originally known as Forest Park, old shady oaks make the name perfectly suited for this popular park. The new sprayground has plenty of space and features to keep kids cool in the summer. There are also picnic areas, a shelter, slides, swing sets, and basketball courts.
Forest Hills Park is located at the intersection of Forest Ridge Road and Forest Hills Avenue.
This is a small neighborhood park that seems to serve mostly the local community. It is located next to Moores Creek and has a good amount of shade. Full basketball court, picnic tables, swings, slide, large merry-go-round, and climber round out the fun.
On 6th Street S.E. off Elliott Avenue.
Cozy, shady neighborhood playground with picnic tables, fun things to climb on, and a basketball court. A visit to McGuffey Park is perfect to combine with a trip to the library, a stop for homemade ice cream, or other downtown errands.
Downtown next to the McGuffey Art Center.
There are plenty of cool seats in the shade at Northeast Park and the bubbler is a popular stop for local joggers going by. The Park provides a full basketball court, tire swing, 4-way animal teeter-totter, swings, UFO climbers, animals to ride, merry-go-round, spiral slide as well as picnic areas.
At the corner of Sheridan Avenue & Calhoun Streets.
One of Charlottesville's best kept playground secrets - this park is a favorite. It has a separate fenced-in section for tots, little paved paths for new bikers, open space, picnic areas, a separate parking lot, and many great play areas. It also has a great field for pick-up ball games along with basketball court, tic tac toe, small merry-go-round, animals to ride, swings, climbers, diggers, rickety bridge, and tire swing.
On Rives Street, between Florence Street & Monticello Avenue.
Albemarle County Parks
Over 2,000 acres are dedicated in Albemarle to the pursuit of fun and adventure! Many of the Parks offer natural areas, fishing, boating, and sandy-bottom lake swimming with varying hours please call ahead for recreation guidelines and hours. All parks are open year-round. Te reserve a shelter or find out about sports teams and leagues, contact the County Parks and Recreation Office at 296-5844 or visit their web site.
Beaver Creek Lake
The lake is well stocked for fishing (as are all county park lakes) and boating but please dont take a dip, this is Crozets water supply. Shady picnic tables and seasonal restrooms.
Crozet: From Rt. 250W, cross Mechums River, right on Rt. 680, left into park.
Chris Greene Lake Park
This lake offers swimming, canoeing (rentals available), a playground in the sand, mushroom waterfall in shallow area for toddlers, bathhouse, picnic tables, grills, and snack bar. It is a popular fishin hole, particularly in spring, and has a new handicap-accessible pier.
Earlysville: From Rt. 29N, left on Airport Rd. At stop, right on Rt. 606. Turn left on Rt. 850 (Chris Greene Lake Road) and into park. 973-3790
Claudius Crozet Park
Location of many events, including the Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival. It offers a community center, swimming pool with lifeguard and an umbrella fountain. The park also has horseshoe pits, snack bar, baseball field, picnic facilities, and a small playground. (Privately owned)
Crozet: Rt. 250W to light at Rt. 240 (Crozet Ave.). Turn right, one mile to right on Tabor St. Take next right on Park St., park on left. 823-2211
Darden Towe Memorial Park
The Rivana Greenway Trail begins here at this riverside park of athletic
fields. There is also a small wooden playground, picnic shelters, four tennis courts and a snack bar open during ballgames. Paved trails and parking lots are good places for biking and rollerblading when not crowded. Host to the spring
Quackin for a Cause Junior League of Charlottesville Fun Festival and the
playing fields of SOCA, the Soccer Organization of Ch?ville-Albemarle. Off-leash area for dogs opened.(Jointly operated by city and county.)
Rt. 250E toward Pantops to left on Rt. 20N, 1/2 mile to left on Elks Drive, park at end of this road.
Small park nestled on the banks of the James River with athletic fields, tennis courts, playground with a curly slide, and picnic shelter. This park is home to many popular town events, like the 4th of July Festival and the Scottsville James River Jamboree.
Scottsville: From Rt. 20S, right on W. Main St., left on Page St. to Park
Ivy Creek Natural Area
A 215-acre natural area with over 6 miles of mostly easy walking trails (plus a paved trail) through forests, old fields, streams, natural springs, and two miles of shoreline. The Ivy Creek Foundation has created a bird watching area and offers year-round nature programs at The Barn of the former farmstead. (Jointly operated by city, county, and Ivy Creek Foundation.)
Charlottesville: From Rt. 29N, left on Rt. 743 (Hydraulic Road), left on Rt. 743 (Earlysville Rd.), left into park. 973-7772
Mint Springs Valley Park
Picturesque spot above Crozet, surrounded by mountains, provides lake swimming in summer with bathhouse and vending, short hiking trails, picnic shelters, grills, fishing, and a small playground. Site of annual Trout Fishing Day for kids in April.
Crozet: From Rt. 250W, right on Rt. 240W. At stop sign in Crozet, turn left, then immediate right on Rt. 788. At fork, turn right on Rt. 684 (Mint Springs Road). Park is 1/2 mile on left. 974-3790
Simpson Park in Esmont
This new park opened in 2002 with sports fields, basketball, tennis, shelter, and more. Best of all, there is a sprayground a playground filled with fountains & water activities!
Esmont: From Rt. 20S turn onto Rt. 6 right and take Porters Rd. and the park is across from Yancey Elementary
Rustic spot for boating, fishing, and quiet picnics with a seasonal restroom, but no swimming. This is Scottsvilles water supply.
Scottsville: From Rt. 20S, right on Rt. 726 (James River Rd.), left on Rt. 845 (Totier Creek Rd.) to Park
Walnut Creek Park
A close-by haven for bicyclists and hikers with 13 miles of community built mountain bike and nature trails with varying degrees of difficulty. In summer, the lake is open for swimming with a beach playground, canoeing (rentals available), boating, bathhouse and snack bar.
Red Hill: From Rt. 29S, left on Rt. 708, right on Rt. 631, 1/2 mile on left. 979-0964