What do you look for when choosing a park for your kids? Open fields? Water? Climbing structures? All of the above? Boston offers plenty of escapes within the city where kids can be kids, and parents can enjoy watching them. Here are some of our favorites. Let us know about your favorites in the comments below.
Day Boulevard, South Boston
Despite its name, you can get to Castle Island by car from South Boston. It features a beach, playground, a waterfront walking path and Fort Independence, an old military fort which was built in the 1840s. The water at the bayside beach is almost always calm for the little ones and the kids get a birdseye view of the planes coming into Logan.
Public Garden & Boston Common
You can explore either of these Beacon Hill parks on their own, or visit both to make it a day trip. Don’t miss the Swan Boats and Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Public Garden. Plop down a blanket along the edge of the pond to enjoy a picnic. Then head across to the street to the Boston Common where kids can splash in the Frog Pond in summer or skate in the winter. There’s a playground and plenty of open space for a game of Frisbee or catch.
Boston, MA 02130-3500
If you would like your child to grow up appreciating nature, try a trip to the Arnold Arboretum. No playgrounds in this Jamaica Plain park, but you’ll be surrounded by green. There are great paths for strolling or for the kids to ride their bikes and scooters. Stop every now and then to read them the signs that label the different trees and shrubs around the arboretum.
1255 Soldiers Field Road
Located along the Charles River in Brighton, Artesani Park features a large wading pool with four tall spray structures in the middle. When the kids are done getting wet, they may want to try out the two fenced playgrounds. Then when they’ve burned all their energy, take a stroll to the water’s edge to chat with the ducks.
Christopher Columbus Park
This park abutting the North End features a beautiful waterfront view for Moms and Dads to enjoy while kids play in the large gated playground or splash in the small spray park. A fountain, people walking their dogs and the occasional budding musician complete the ambiance. Oh, and free WiFi.
DCR Main Phone: 617-626-1250
The 1.5 mile stretch along the Charles River between the Mass. Avenue Bridge and Museum of Science has plenty to offer for families. Starting near the bridge, a large fenced playground has two separate areas, one just for toddlers. Bring along the bikes or rollerblades to travel inbound on the Esplanade, past the beautiful cherry trees and small ponds. Bring along a ball in case the Ebersol soccer or baseball fields are empty. At the Museum of Science end of the Esplanade you’ll encounter a wading pool, another playground and tennis courts. All of this, with a beautiful view of sailboats and duckboats on the Charles, and real ducks along the shore.