Charlotte residents are fortunate to have a large selection of urban parks and greenways at their disposal. Walkers, runners and hikers will find there is easy access to an extensive network of city greenways, offering miles and miles of multi-purpose paved trails. Nearly all the parks have good facilities for children, including playgrounds and splash pads.
1.Clark’s Creek Greenway
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Originating at the Kirk Farm soccer field, Clark’s Creek greenway joins Mallard Creek greenway to offer an easily accessible paved trail linking several neighborhoods. The 7-mile greenway is paved almost the entire way, making it ideal for running, walking, cycling, roller-blading, dog walking and more. The greenway is pleasantly shaded for most of its length, as it follows the meandering path of the two creeks and you can access the trails from many points along its length, allowing you to determine the length of your out-and-back route. The trail is pretty flat which makes it ideal for the entire family to enjoy and there is a good chance of spotting a variety of wildlife along the route.
Clark’s Creek Greenway, 9801 Mallard Creek Rd, Charlotte, NC 28262, Phone: 980-314-1000
2.Colonel Francis Beatty Park
Charlotte residents and visitors are fortunate to have an enormous 265-acre recreational area right on their doorsteps in the South Park area. The Colonel Francis Beatty Park is a popular weekend destination for sporty families, offering tennis and basketball courts, 5 soccer fields, horse-shoe pits and soft-ball fields. In addition, you can explore the walking trails, bring your bike to ride the mountain-bike trails or enjoy canoeing, kayaking or fishing on the lake. If you just want a relaxing outdoor day you can bring a picnic to enjoy at one of 10 picnic areas which have tables and fire-pits. The conference center and outdoor picnic shelter can be hired for parties or weddings and younger visitors can have fun at either of the two children’s playgrounds.
Colonel Francis Beatty Park, 4330 Weddington Rd, Matthews, NC 28105, Phone: 704-643-5725
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Edgehill Park is located in the Myers Park Neighborhood of Charlotte, where it provides locals with a very pleasant urban park offering a variety of recreational activities. The park is popular with local families who can come and enjoy walking and cycling or simply relaxing under the large shady trees. Younger visitors love the children’s playground and there are also tennis courts where you can challenge friends or family to a game. Fitness enthusiasts can enjoy a run along the walking trail and then do some body-weight workouts at the five-station workout structure. Parking is easy to find in the road outside the park.
Edgehill Park, 975 South Edgehill Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207, Phone: 704-432-4280
4.First Ward Park
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Located in Uptown Charlotte, First Ward Park is one of the city’s newest parks, which opened to the public in 2015. The park covers 4.6 acres and the development will eventually include a hotel, office tower and parking deck on adjoining land. The park offers an ideal green space where office workers can escape to during their lunch-hour and families can come and enjoy a picnic. Younger visitors will love the splash-pad fountains in summer and the climbing installation is great all year round. The park hosts regular free music concerts and events – all you need to do is bring your camping chair or a blanket and enjoy the music, the food trucks and the excellent atmosphere.
First Ward Park, 301E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Located in Charlotte’s Third Ward, directly adjacent to Downtown Charlotte, Frazier Park covers twelve acres of recreational green space. Locals and visitors are welcome to come and enjoy the fresh air as you explore the creek-side trails or set off for a serious run or cycle along the Irwin Creek Greenway which runs through the park. The park boasts soccer and American football fields, tennis and basket ball courts, a dog park and the children’s playground. While you are there you can visit the poignant Children’s Memorial Walkway, where local children whose lives have been prematurely terminated by any cause (but in particular victims of homicide) are remembered.
Frazier Park, 1201 W 4th Street Ext, Charlotte, NC 28202, Phone: 704-432-4280
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Located between Charlotte’s Myers Park and Dilworth historic neighborhoods, Freedom Park is a popular 98-acre recreational green space where locals and visitors can come and relax. At the heart of the park lies a beautiful 7-acre lake which is surrounded by a walking/biking trail. Regardless of your family’s interests, this park offers something for everyone including sports fields, tennis and basket-ball courts and volleyball nets. Younger visitors can have hours of fun at the Play 360 children’s playground and walkers and hikers can access the Sugar Creek Greenway from the park and you can even rent a bike on site. Fishermen will be please to know that fishing on the lake is rumored to be great.
Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Ave, Charlotte, NC 28203, Phone: 704-432-4280
7.Hornet’s Nest Park
Covering over 140 acres of recreational green space in the North Park region, Hornet’s Nest Park is one of Charlotte’s most popular family parks. Here you will find something for every member of the family regardless of their age. If you are looking to have a relaxing outdoor day you can bring a picnic to enjoy at one of the picnic areas and just have fun walking around. If you need a little more exercise you can play disc golf, basket ball, volley ball, tennis or softball. Walkers and cyclists can explore the trails while BMX enthusiasts can hone their skills at the 1,150 foot BMX Track. There is also a great children’s playground and outdoor exercise structures for adults.
Hornet’s Nest Park, 6301 Beatties Ford Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216, Phone: 980-314-1001
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You will fine Independence Park tucked away in a quiet corner at the western end of the Elizabeth neighborhood. The park is the oldest green space in the city and has been welcoming visitors since 1924. The park is divided into two sections, the lower section has a pleasant winding walking path, a rose garden, reflecting pond and a gazebo; this is the most tranquil part of the park and is a very relaxing area to visit. In the upper section you will find a variety of sports fields, walking, hiking and cycling trails, and a 300-seat stadium. You can rent one of three mini-shelters for kiddies’ parties and there is a children’s playground and a beautiful Demonstration Garden.
Independence Park, 300 Hawthorne Lane, Central Park, Charlotte, CA 28204, Phone: 980-314-1002
A popular recreational green space in the Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, Latta Park is named after Edward Dilworth Latta, who was an early 20th century real estate developer. The park covers thirty-one acres and offers local residents a great place to relax or get active. Those who prefer to take it easy can enjoy a gentle stroll and have a picnic at one of the picnic facilities. There are shady benches for relaxing with a good book while the children have fun at the playground or splash pad. If you fancy some exercise you can get active on the fitness trail, play some tennis or join in a game of soccer, basketball or volleyball.
Latta Park, 601 E Park Ave, Charlotte, NC 28203
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Providing an inviting green space in the heart of Charlotte’s Second Ward, Marshall Park offers beautiful views of the Charlotte skyline. The park is a popular with local office workers who can enjoy a breath of fresh air in the park during their lunchtime. The park encompasses open grassy areas surrounding a pretty lake which is frequented by ducks and other water birds. You will also find a statue of Martin Luther King and a Holocaust Memorial in the park. Marshall Park frequently hosts music concerts and other events at the amphitheater – you can check online to see what is planned during your visit.
Marshall Park, 800 East Third Street, Charlotte, NC 28202, Phone: 704-432-4280
11.McAlpine Creek Park
Located about 15 minutes southeast of Uptown, the McAlpine Creek Park is a sprawling recreational playground which is particularly popular with runners. McAlpine Creek Greenway and Campbell Creek Greenway meet in the park, offering walkers, runners and hikers a (mostly) paved 4.9mile trail which is both scenic and rich in wildlife. Apart from this popular Greenway, McAlpine Park has plenty of other activities for visitors including soccer fields, a 1.5 mile nature trail, a 2-mile bike trail and an outdoor fitness center. In addition, you can enjoy fishing from the fishing pier, play horse shoes, have a picnic or bring your four-legged friends to have some off-leash fun at the Dog Park.
McAlpine Creek Park, 8711 Monroe Rd, Charlotte, NC 28212, Phone: 704-552-8213
12.McDowell Nature Center and Preserve
The McDowell Nature Center welcomes visitors to the expansive 1,132 acre McDowell Preserve, where you can spend some time getting back to nature. The preserve is home to several species of mammal, reptiles and amphibians as well as over 100 species of birds. You can explore the preserve along a very scenic 7-mile network of trails which will get you up close to some of the wildlife. Campers are invited to bring along their tent or RV – there are 56 campsites which you can reserve in advance. Other activities in the park include boating, fishing and kayaking (guided kayak tours are available) and picnicking. There is also a playground for the younger visitors.
McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, 15222 South York Rd, Charlotte, NC 28278, Phone: 980-314-1128
13.Nevin Community Park
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Offering the local community an expansive 197-acre recreational area, the Nevin Community Park is the ideal place to bring the kids for a picnic, walk or dog or watch some sport. The park boasts three soccer fields and four softball/baseball fields, horseshoe pits, bocce ball courts and an 18-hole disc golf course. You can walk, jog or cycle the multi-purpose trail or just enjoy a relaxing picnic at one of two picnic areas. Your children will love Nevin Park – there are three large children’s playgrounds and a seasonal splash pad (“sprayground”) where they can have water fun on hot days. There are two reservable shelters ideal for children’s birthday parties.
Nevin Community Park, 6000 Statesville Rd, Charlotte, NC 28269, Phone: 980-314-1001
14.Park Road Park
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Located in Charlotte’s Closeburn/Glenkirk neighborhood, the Park Road Park offers residents and visitors a sprawling urban recreational area for active family fun. In addition to an eleven-acre lake, the park has facilities for just about every kind of sports you could wish for, including basketball courts, baseball fields and much more. Tennis enthusiasts have the use of no less than 36 courts and Queens University stages all their home softball games at the park. You can fish on the lake, walk, run or cycle along the trails, have a picnic or bring the children to have hours of fun at the playground.
Park Road Park, 6220 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28210, Phone: 704-643-5725
15.Reedy Creek Park
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Residents of Charlotte’s Newell neighborhood are very fortunate to have the wonderful Reedy Creek Park and its’ associated Nature Preserve right on their doorsteps. Covering 125 sprawling acres, the park is home to a wide variety of sporting facilities, two picnic areas, children’s playgrounds and even a dog park. You can fish at one of the ponds or the lakeside fishing pier and cricket fans can watch the South Park Cricket Club in action during the season. Hikers have the use of over ten miles of hiking trails in the adjacent nature preserve where you can enjoy bird-watching as you walk or hike. Younger visitors can have fun while they learn at the Nature Explorer Zone playground.
Reedy Creek Park, 2900 Rocky River Rd, Charlotte, NC 28215, Phone: 704-598-8857
16.Romare Bearden Park
You will find this urban public park right in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, directly opposite the BB&T Ballpark. Romare Bearden Park covers 4.5 acres and offers residents and workers from the surrounding apartment and office blocks a great outdoor area where they can take a walk, have a picnic or just admire the beautiful sculptures. There is a seasonal splash pad where younger visitors can have some water fun while parents relax on a bench. There are several food outlets close to the park where you can buy a snack or drink to enjoy alfresco, against the beautiful backdrop of the Charlotte skyline. The park regularly hosts free concerts and events.
Romare Bearden Park, 300 S Church St, Charlotte, NC 28202, Phone: 704-432-4280
17.Seversville Street Park
Located at the northern end of the Irwin-Stewart Creek Greenway, Seversville Street Park is one of Charlotte’s many urban green spaces. The park is quite small, covering around 11 acres, but is popular with local residents wanting to get out into the fresh air. There is a playground for the children and a nice picnic area with tables and grills. Walkers, hikers and cyclists can access the Irwin-Stewart Creek Greenway at the park, giving them access to a very pleasant 2.7-mile paved trail which will lead you through Frazier Park to the very popular Ray’s Splash Planet indoor water park.
Seversville Street Park, 530 Bruns Avenue, Central Park, Charlotte, CA
You will find Sheffield Park in Charlotte’s Sheffield/Winterfield neighborhood, where it provides locals and visitors with an 8-acre pocket of green space perfect for relaxation and recreation. Although sporting facilities at the park are limited to a tennis court, softball court and basketball court, the park also has a children’s playground and a picnic area. While you are there you can easily access the adjacent 77-acre Evergreen Nature Preserve where you can explore several small trails which make up the Evergreen Nature Preserve Loop. The trail is perfect for all walkers and hikers and offers close encounters with many species of birds and small animals.
Sheffield Park, 1336 Norland Rd, Charlotte, NC 28205, Phone: 704-598-8857
19.Thomas Polk Park
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Tucked away in a tiny corner of Independence Square, at the intersection of Tryon and Trade Street, the Thomas Polk Park is a serene and quiet little water park where many locals like to relax during their lunch hour. The park offers a pleasant seating area with views of the water feature and is surrounded by colorful plants and shady trees which provide cooling greenery. The park is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Polk, who was one of the city’s founding fathers, and you can spend some time reading the dedication which is etched into the marble surrounding the fountains.
Thomas Polk Park, 105 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
Thompson Park is a small (3.3-acre) urban green space located in Charlotte’s Central Region. This is not a park for noisy ball games and shouting children, but rather a place for quiet reflection as you walk through the poignant Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which lists the names of all local men who gave their lives during the Vietnam War between 1965 and 1972. You can also take some time to admire the historic St. Mary’s Chapel which dates back to 1892. Thompson Park also offers access to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, a 5.9-mile paved trail suitable for walking, running, jogging and cycling.
Thompson Park, 1129 East 3rd Street, Central Park, Charlotte
21.UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
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Visiting the UNCC Botanical Gardens is a wonderful free activity for just about everyone. Gardening enthusiasts can learn all about the specific plants that thrive in the Charlotte area at the Mellichamp Native Terraces and everyone can admire the remarkable McMillan Greenhouse which protects several themed gardens and an enormous dinosaur skeleton. If you visit at exactly the right time of year (check the website for details) you may be lucky enough to witness the flowering of the world’s largest and most foul-smelling plant, the Titan Arum. The garden is a delightful place to take a walk surrounded by nature and there are regular educational programs on offer for all ages.
UNCC Botanical Gardens, 9090 Craver Rd, Charlotte, NC 28262, Phone: 704-687-0721
Located in Charlotte’s Central Park region, Veterans Park is another of the city’s many urban recreational green spaces. If you are looking for a pleasant spot to spend a relaxing family day you can bring along a picnic and make yourself comfortable at one of the outdoor picnic shelters. Children have plenty of room to run around and kick a ball and there is a playground for the younger visitors. If you want some exercise you will find a walking/running trail, tennis and basketball courts and softball and baseball fields. The latest addition to the park is a seasonal “sprayground” (splash pad) where children can spend hours dodging the fountains.
Veterans Park, 2136 Central Avenue, Charlotte, CA 28202, Phone: 908-314-1002
22 Best Charlotte Parks
- Clark’s Creek Greenway, Photo: Anatoliy Sadovskiy/stock.adobe.com
- Colonel Francis Beatty Park, Photo: rsooll/stock.adobe.com
- Edgehill Park, Photo: sergey makarenko/stock.adobe.com
- First Ward Park, Photo: Nick Martucci/stock.adobe.com
- Frazier Park, Photo: Zhi/stock.adobe.com
- Freedom Park, Photo: Jill Lang/stock.adobe.com
- Hornet’s Nest Park, Photo: ChuckS/stock.adobe.com
- Independence Park, Photo: Prikhodko/stock.adobe.com
- Latta Park, Photo: irishasel/stock.adobe.com
- Marshall Park, Photo: Jill Lang/stock.adobe.com
- McAlpine Creek Park, Photo: finwal89/stock.adobe.com
- McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, Photo: JRJfin/stock.adobe.com
- Nevin Community Park, Photo: J. Novack/stock.adobe.com
- Park Road Park, Photo: Brandy McKnight/stock.adobe.com
- Reedy Creek Park, Photo: Pol Maria/stock.adobe.com
- Romare Bearden Park, Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
- Seversville Street Park, Photo: Pamela/stock.adobe.com
- Sheffield Park, Photo: kosmos111/stock.adobe.com
- Thomas Polk Park, Photo: Jill Lang/stock.adobe.com
- Thompson Park, Photo: Aleksandr/stock.adobe.com
- UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, Photo: Hendrik Schwartz/stock.adobe.com
- Veterans Park, Photo: yulyao/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: digidreamgrafix/stock.adobe.com