There’s nothing better than spending a morning or afternoon at a fun park, especially when we plan to meet up with friends. Socializing, being outside, and running around equals a win for all of us.
Central Charlotte Parks
Some of our favorite parks in central Charlotte.
219 Providence Road
This park is a great little gem. Tucked between Providence and Randolph Roads near Presbyterian Hospital, it would be easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there. It’s small, at only 2.4 acres, but there is a large grassy area for impromptu tag or soccer games and picnics, a basketball court, tennis courts, and a playground area with two play structures – one for preschoolers and one for bigger kids – and six swings. There’s good tree cover over the playground area, while the field receives a good bit of sun.
The drawbacks to this park are the parking (on-street/neighborhood parking) and the fact that it can get crowded quickly during peak times. Oh, and there are no nearby bathrooms.
2100 Wilhelmina Avenue
This quiet neighborhood park is situated on six acres in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood. There are tennis courts and a full-court basketball court, along with a multi-purpose field and two playground units with swings. There’s a shelter with a grill (which can be reserved for parties), a community garden, and an outdoor amphitheater. And there are bathrooms! The park is shaded most of the day.
The most noticeable con for Midwood Park is that there are only four swings.
601 East Park Avenue
Latta Park is a 32-acre park located in the heart of Dilworth. It is easy to access from East Boulevard, South Boulevard, and Morehead Street. There are basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts in addition to two soccer fields, two multi-purpose fields, and a playground. There is a large reservable picnic shelter with electricity and restrooms. But perhaps the most popular feature of the park is the spray park.
This park, particularly the spray park during the summer months, is often crowded. The spray park is not shaded, although the playground does have a good amount of tree cover.
2136 Central Avenue
This 19-acre park can be found on Central Avenue only a few minutes from uptown. The playground is great for smaller children. There is a basketball court, a baseball field, and six tennis courts. There are two outdoor shelters, one indoor shelter, and restrooms. While the park is often busy with organized and impromptu games and playdates, the large covered spray park is definitely the highlight of the park for children of all ages.
With so many nearby parks with open green space, we do wish Veterans Park had more grassy areas. Also, while there is a large parking lot when the park is crowded, there isn’t a good spot for overflow parking.
300 Hawthorne Lane
Independence Park feels much larger than its 19-acres, thanks to its sprawling design that straddles Hawthorne Lane. There are well-marked walking paths, many green spaces, and several shelters. In the late spring, be sure to visit the rose garden! There is a large playground area, basketball courts, tennis courts, a volleyball court, and a baseball field which is often used for youth leagues.
The playground serves Elizabeth Traditional Elementary School, so it can be quite crowded on school days, making it hard to find a parking place and a swing.
1900 East Boulevard
No list of Charlotte parks would be complete with Freedom Park. I grew up going to Freedom Park and I love to take my daughter here. It is a large park, covering 98-acres between East Boulevard and Princeton Avenue in Charlotte’s Dilworth and Meyers Park neighborhoods.
Freedom Park connects to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, making it a great walkable park from many parts of the city.
The size of the park and the fact that there is so much open space can make it tough for a mama to keep up with children who want to do different things.
South Charlotte Parks
South Charlotte is home to some really great parks and playgrounds. Some of our favorites – in no particular order – include:
William R. Davie Park
4635 Pineville – Matthews Road, Charlotte, NC 28226
At 107 acres, Davie boasts not one but FOUR playgrounds perfect for kiddos of all ages, a dog park, pond, athletic fields, horseshoe pits, walking trails, and bathrooms. My favorite part? There are lots and lots of swings (why are so many playgrounds lacking in this department?!). It’s also one of the few playgrounds that have a decent amount of shade…which in Charlotte, in July…is a necessity, not a luxury. I also like that there’s a sheltered eating area right in the middle of the playground, so you’re able to hang out in the shade without being too far away from the action.
The downside? This playground is a favorite of ours – and lots of other people. It can be very crowded, especially on nice days. Also, while the entire park is fenced in, the individual playgrounds aren’t – making it difficult to keep your younger kids on the more age-appropriate equipment.
Colonel Francis Beatty Park
4330 Weddington Road, Matthews, NC 28105
A hidden gem in Weddington, this 265-acre park has a lot to offer. Mountain biking trails, walking trails, picnic areas, athletic fields, horseshoe pits, covered pavilions, bathrooms, a lake for kayaking, fishing, and canoeing, and two really nice playgrounds – one for the younger set and one for the over six crowds, plus swings. Bring some buckets and shovels too, as the sand volleyball court is often transformed into an impromptu sandbox. Another plus? There’s a canopy over the playground to keep the kiddos cool while they run around.
Cons? The playground may be shaded, but some of the trails and the swings are not. There’s no fence either, so once again you’re faced with the challenge of keeping the smaller kids to “their” playground.
Stallings Municipal Park
322 Stallings Road, Matthews, NC 28104
A playgroup favorite, Stallings Park is amazing. It has fields, picnic areas, a splash pad and lots of playground equipment. The best part? There’s a playground designed specifically for younger kids – and it’s FENCED IN. Come on mamas – you know you can’t beat that! There’s also has a huge sandbox which is always the hot spot to be.
The downside to this park is, once again, a lack of shade by the playgrounds and the splash pad. The splash pad is also a little intense for younger kids – the water comes out pretty forcefully, and the splash pad is often packed with older kids.
Pineville Lake Park
1009 Johnston Drive, Pineville, NC 28134
A beautiful lake is a backdrop to this expansive park. Pineville Lake features pavilions and recently renovated playgrounds geared towards various skill levels. What I like most about this playground is how so much of it is easily accessible for my two-year-old; he’s able to climb, crawl, and explore it all pretty easily. None of it seems to be too “old” for him (or for my comfort), but still offers a lot to entertain older kids too.
Con? No shade, no fence, and only a small handful of swings.
Squirrel Lake Park
1631 Pleasant Plains Road, Matthews, NC 28105
Another hidden gem, this time in Matthews, Squirrel Lake Park is one of my favorite places to play with the kids. There’s a lot they’ve managed to fit into the park’s 29 acres – a fishing pond, horseshoe pits, walking trails, a twelve-hole disc golf course, restrooms, and a really fun playground.
I love that there are a few different playgrounds for various skill levels, loads of swings, and a sandbox – all in one, nicely shaded location.
The biggest con? There’s no fence, so keeping up with the kids – particularly near the lake – can be a challenge.