CF Parks and Playgrounds Guide

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, you'll find descriptions of all the favorite places for children to playwhether 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, CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide.


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 434-970-3260. The Parks Division can be reached at 434-970-3090 or visit their web site.

Greenleaf Park
Shaded park on a quiet neighborhood street with new picnic shelters and touch sensitive sprinklers for the hottest days of summer. This park also has lots of room for kids to run around without getting out of sight. There are two playgroundsone 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, so please be courteous to the families living nearby and be mindful not to block driveways.

McIntire Park
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.

Meade 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.

Pen Park
The 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. It's also a popular spot for kite flying on breezy days. Fitness stations and a nature trail along the Rivanna River can also be explored here. Rt. 29N to right on Rio Rd., 2 miles on left.

Quarry Park
The park offers many different types of baseball fields for all ages including a a major, minor and t-ball field. There is a concession stand as well as on sight bathrooms located near the parking lot. Monticello Ave./Route 20 South.

Riverview Park
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 2.3 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 Park
Tonsler's recreation center and playground make for lots of fun! There are also basketball and tennis courts, softball fields and a life-size chest board to enjoy. Corner of 5th St. and Cherry Ave.

Washington Park
This popular swimming pool has a waterslide, a mushroom waterfall, and a beach-like graduated water level. There are playgrounds for big kids and for tots, and 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

Azalea Park
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, fun playground equipment 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 and 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.

Bailey Mini-Park
A small, well-landscaped area with plenty of benches and shad spots to settle down for a midday picnic. While there is no parking lot, visitors are able to park in the limited on-street parking provided in the adjacent neighborhood. Corner of 250 Bypass and Hillcrest Road.

Belmont Park
From the help and fundraising efforts from the Belmont community, the park was able to have a complete 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.

Fifeville Park
For the compact space, Fifeville has quite a bit of playground. The shelter is a good spot for a small family gathering. The fenced-in park also includes a full basketball court, swings, slide, small merry-go-round, teeter-totter, climber, 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 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.

Greenbrier Park
A benefit from the Meadow Creek Stream Restoration project, this undeveloped greenery offers walking, biking trails and a footbridge along Meadow Creek. This site is also believed to be one of only two natural marshes in the Virginia Piedmont region. Located in Greenbrier neighborhood.

Jordan Park
This is a small neighborhood park connects to the Rivanna Trail and 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.

McGuffey Park
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.

Northeast Park
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, footbridge, spiral slide as well as picnic areas. At the corner of Sheridan Avenue & Calhoun Street.

Rives Park
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 a basketball court, tic tac toe, small merry-go-round, animals to ride, swings, climbers, diggers, rickety bridge and a 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 434-296-5844 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 don’t take a dip, as this is Crozet’s water supply. Shady picnic tables as well as seasonal restrooms are available. Crozet: From Rt. 250W, cross Mechums River, right on Rt. 680, left into park.

Chris Greene Lake Park
This lake offers swimming, canoeing and kayaking (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 fishing 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. 434-973-3790

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. 434-823-2211

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 Charlottsville-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.

Dorrier Park
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. 434-973-7772

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. Check out the new Little Library, a "take a book, leave a book" station for children of all ages to access. 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. 434-974-3790

Ragged Mountain Nature Area
Rich in birdlife, this forest is filled with an abundance of old oak, hickory, poplar, pine and maple trees. The natural area consists of two lakes with more than four miles of shoreline. Maintenance is in the works for the summer, so be aware of changing hours and conditions. Take Route 250 Bypass to the Route 29 Business exit. Turn onto Fontaine Avenue. Turn right onto Reservoir Road.

Simpson Park in Esmont
Opened in 2002, this park offers sports fields, basketball, tennis, shelter and more. Best of all, there is a spraygrounda 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.

Totier Creek
Rustic spot for boating, fishing and quiet picnics with a seasonal restroom, but no swimming. This is Scottsville’s 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. 434-979-0964

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