What are your favorite parks in Austin and the surrounding areas? We asked Free Fun in Austin readers, and you answered. Here are your top picks for parks and the reasons why you love them.
Balcones District Park (North Austin) – As is noted by the Austin Parks Foundation, many residents flock to the park for the picnic areas, ball fields and tennis courts, but one reader recommended Balcones for the trails, which wind along Walnut Creek at the back of the park. 12017 Amherst Drive, Austin 78727.
Bee Cave Sculpture Park (Bee Cave) – The Bee Cave Sculpture Park weaves throughout a 7-acre natural setting showcasing a combination of permanent and rotating sculptures. In addition to the fantastic art you will find a spring-fed pond, some of the largest oak trees in the City and over 20 different native species of plants. 13333-A Hwy 71 West, Bee Cave 78738.
Berry Springs Park and Preserve (Georgetown) – Feed the donkeys, explore the bike paths, hit the playground and take advantage of lots of open space for kids to run at this park. You can also camp, hike and fish. Another bonus is that Berry Springs has lots of big pecan trees. 1801 C.R. 152, Georgetown 78626.
Brushy Creek Lake Park (Cedar Park) – The park has a seasonal splash pad, several playgrounds for the kids, a lake for canoeing and fishing, plus a hike and bike trail. 3300 Brushy Creek Rd., Cedar Park 78613.
Butler Park (Central Austin) – A huge draw is the Liz Carpenter Fountain, but you can also walk the corkscrew path up to Doug Sahm Hill and walk on the paths by the retention ponds. 1000 Barton Springs Rd, Austin 78704.
Central Market (Central Austin) – Central Market’s North Lamar location has lots to offer families, from the duck pond to the heritage oak tree to the walking path…and, of course, the shaded playground. 4001 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin 78756.
Champion Park (Cedar Park) – Kids can enjoy the seasonal water feature and the shaded sand pit. 3830 Brushy Creek Road, Cedar Park 78613.
Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park (South Austin) – At this shady park, you can enjoy great trails and wide open spaces. 6301 W. Slaughter Ln., Austin 78749.
Eastwoods Park (Central Austin) – Readers recommended this park because of the seasonal splash pad and the face carved into the tree stump (parking nearby is metered). 3001 Harris Park Ave., Austin 78705.
Elizabeth Milburn Park (Cedar Park) – Elizabeth Milburn has a pool, sand volleyball courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, a community garden, two playsets, a decent amount of shade trees, walking paths and a mini mountain biking park with moguls. 1901 Sun Chase Boulevard, Cedar Park 78613.
Emma Long Metropolitan Park (West Austin) – Our readers recommend this park because it’s next to the lake with a free off leash dog and hiking trail (admission fees apply for lakeside portion). 1600 City Park Rd., Austin 78730.
Katherine Fleischer Park (North Austin) – Readers enjoy the wooden play house at this park in Wells Branch. 2106 Klattenhoff Drive, Austin 78728.
Little Stacy Park & Big Stacy Park (South Austin) – Little Stacy Park is a reader favorite because of all the natural shade and the wading pool in the summer. Little Stacy: 1400 Alameda Dr., Austin 78704; Big Stacy: 700 E. Live Oak St., Austin 78704.
Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park (South Austin) – Mary Moore Searight was recommended for its huge size and all the amenities offered. 907 Slaughter Ln., Austin 78748.
Mayfield Park and Preserve (Central Austin) – The main attraction at Mayfield Park are its feathered resplendent residents, but you can also enjoy shaded paths, gardens and ponds with koi and turtles. 3505 West 35th St., Austin 78703.
McKinney Falls State Park (Southeast Austin) – Readers described the falls as amazing and enjoyed the shade on the bike and hike trails. Admission fees apply (children 12 and under are free). 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin 78744.
Mueller Lake Park (East Austin) – Have fun exploring paved trails, a large pond with ducks and a fenced-in playscape with structures that appeal to both younger and older children. 4550 Mueller Blvd., Austin 78723.
Mount Bonnell (Central Austin) – Mount Bonnell was recommended by many readers for the scenery you can take in at the top. 3800 Mt. Bonnell Rd., Austin 78731.
Old Settlers Park (Round Rock) – Old Settlers has something for everyone: disc golf, a place to play cricket, a baseball complex, softball fields, fishing in Bright Lake, football fields, seven playgrounds, a regulation remote control airplane take-off and landing strip, tennis courts, trails, sand volleyball courts, soccer facilities, a spot to pitch horseshoes and more. It doesn’t hurt that Rock N’ River (which does have an admission fee) and the Salt Lick BBQ are nearby. 3300 Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock 78665.
Patterson Park (East Austin) – The Park is nice and shady and older kids stick around for the half pipe. 4200 Brookview Rd., Austin 78722.
Pease District Park (Central Austin) – Readers recommended Pease for the seasonal splash pad, the trails, and the disc golf course. 1100 Kingsbury St., Austin 78703.
Pfluger Park (Pflugerville) – This park is popular for its ample shade, the fact that it’s close to a little creek, its concrete biking trails, its proximity to the pool and the well-maintained soccer, volleyball, cricket and basketball courts. 515 City Park Road, Pflugerville 78660.
Ramsey Park (Central Austin) – Ramsey has nice playgrounds, tennis courts, a pool that’s open in the summer months and lots of open space. Recent renovations include a huge climbing structure which is very popular with the little (and bigger) ones. 4301 N. Rosedale Ave., Austin 78756.
Play for All Abilities Park (Round Rock) – The mission of the park is to provide a safe, fun place to play and develop new skills for children of all abilities in Round Rock and surrounding areas. As one reader pointed out, “It offers so much for any age and ability…. Shaded, and now a new covered picnic area, also an attached trail system that you can use.” 151 North A.W. Grimes Blvd., Round Rock 78664.
Rollingwood Park (West Lake Hills) – It has an “upstairs” and a “downstairs” (with a clean restroom available at both!), and it has shaded areas in both parks. Also, there are playscapes within each area for different age levels to be able to enjoy. The park also has ball fields and a pavilion (which can only be reserved by Rollingwood residents). 403 Nixon Dr., Rollingwood 78746.
Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park (East Austin) – Readers recommend this park because it has the cleanest and largest playscape (which is usually not crowded), nice bathrooms, good walking trails and a “secret” beach (pictured above). 400 Grove Blvd., Austin 78741.
San Gabriel Park (Georgetown) – Readers love having picnics underneath the park’s 200 year-old oak trees, enjoying sports on the fields, exploring the hike and bike trail, testing out tricks at the skate park and enjoying the playscape (pictured above). 445 E. Morrow Street, Georgetown 78626.
Southwest County Regional Park (Leander) – This park has good walking trails, soccer fields, tennis courts, a train ride for the littles (fees apply), baseball fields, and the Quarry Splash Pad (admission fees apply for splash pad). 3005 C.R. 175, Leander 78641.
Springwoods Neighborhood Park (North Austin) – Springwoods is popular because it has lots of shade trees and a great big playscape that kids love to climb on. The sidewalks throughout the park are good for bike riding and visitors also like to take advantage of the tennis courts, volleyball court and play on the fields. The only downside, we hear, is that parking fills up fast! 9117 Anderson Mill Road, Austin 78729.
Zilker Metropolitan Park (Central Austin) – Readers love Zilker for its beautiful green grass with plenty of flat field space to take a dog off leash, play soccer, do boot camp, work out, or throw a Frisbee. One reader noted that Zilker builds community through countless festivals, the Trail of Lights, picnics and awesome sunsets. The playscape and Zilker Zephyr (admission fees apply for train) are a hit with the kids. Zilker also has an incredible view of the Austin skyline. 2100 Barton Springs Rd., Austin 78704.
What’s your favorite park in Austin?