best parks in houston

Houston is a mecca for outdoorsy opportunities and play places to release all that pent- up energy. Whether you’re looking for a splash pad, sports fields, or something in between, you’ll never have trouble finding great Houston parks to get some sun and have some fun.

Houston has so many parks, it would be impossible to list them all but read below for our round-up of the best parks in Houston and the surrounding area:

 

Inner-City

Discovery Green Downtown Houston’s premiere park is jam-packed with free work outs, story time, farmer’s markets, and concerts. You can also rent kayaks and paddle-boards or try your hand at steering your model boats.

Hermann Park– With beautiful water features and a splash pad, this is an ideal Houston park for both kids and parents. Take a look at the Japanese Gardens right next door- they’re free!

Levy Park A number of amenities, including a performance pavilion, playgrounds, a dog park, and community gardens. There’s also an activity lawn with a putting green, table tennis, outdoor reading room, and more. Since re-opening in 2017, it has quickly become one of the best parks in Houston.

Memorial Park— You can’t have a list of the best parks in Houston without talking about Memorial Park. Known as the biggest urban park in Texas, Memorial Park has it all — an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, softball/baseball fields, volleyball courts, croquet, soccer fields, skating/cycling paths, and a wildly popular 3-mile running track.

Emancipation Park– A small park in Houston’s Greater Third Ward which offers a large, covered playground, covered seating, a spray ground, walking trails, tennis courts, and a community pool.

Joe & Jamail Skatepark– Part of notable Eleanor Tinsley Park, this is the best place for skating and skateboarding. Just outside, there are tons of walking and biking trails along the bayou. The area also has volleyball courts, art sculptures, and grassy areas for picnicking and sports.

 

North Side

Mercer Botanic Gardens This gem of a Houston park has free botanic gardens on one side, and hiking trails with playgrounds on the other. You can also take a trail down to the river!

Donovan Park A unique playground featuring all-wooden structures which resemble a castle and a train. The kids will love this one-of-a-kind park in the Heights. It’s certainly at the top of any list of nice parks in Houston.

Travis Spark Park– This school Spark Park is open to the public outside of school hours. Kids will be delighted with the dinosaur structures, rock climbing, and fitness stations. Keep in mind, there are no public restrooms to plan a pit-stop to one of the local neighborhood eateries.

Maxwell Park– A hidden gem, this park in North Cypress is unique because residents can often be found wading in the shallow river bottom. There is plenty of room for walking and you can also ride on the tire swing. Bring your fishing license or just cool off in the water.

 

West Side

Mary Jo Peckham Park- A community center and public park offers trails, free putt putt, fishing, fitness activities and a pool. There is also a great, covered gym made specifically for people with disabilities to be able to work on strength training and flexibility. This is certainly one of the best parks in Houston on the west side.

Zube Park- On the west side of Cypress, is a large park with all the amenities. Disc golf, walking trails, water features, a splash pad, covered seating, playgrounds, and a covered fitness center. The model train is also available for rides every third Saturday of the month from March through November.

Exploration Park- One of the best parks in Katy, you can find awesome, top-of-the-line playgrounds, covered seating, walking trails, a sensory garden, and nearby waterways.

Deputy Darren GoForth Park- This park offers a playground, rope climb, two miles of paved walking trails, nice restrooms, water fountains, fishing in the lake, and an awesome dog park with a beach.

 

South Side

Fire Truck Park- A unique playground in West University area with tons of features and a Fire Truck play structure. Nearby are also restrooms and basketball courts.

Nature Discovery Center- One of Houston’s best nature centers, you can find not only playgrounds and walking trails but also indoor educational facilities which offer classes for kids and adults. It’s a great place to look for wildflowers and watch the birds. This is one of our favorite Houston area parks for family fun.

League City Park- This park offers basketball courts, shady playgrounds, a shaded pavilion, a covered gazebo, picnic areas, and restrooms. It’s one of the prettiest Houston parks, so be sure to bring your camera!

Edgewood Park– This shady nature area features a playground, splash pad, plenty of picnic areas, walking and biking paths, baseball fields, and more.

 

East Side

Dow Park- With over 40 acres, Dow Park has just about everything. A one-mile trail, skatepark, rose garden, tennis courts, splash pad, swimming pool, pavilion, a brand new playground! There is so much to explore, you will have to make a day of it!

Buffalo Bend Nature Park– You won’t find any play structures here but this is the perfect spot for nature lovers. With walking trails, covered viewing areas, a pier, and waterways, there are plenty of opportunities to go flower-spotting and bird-watching.

Smither Park– The most unique of the Houston parks and the site of multiple art installations. All of the sculptures are made out of re-used materials. You could spend hours playing I-spy but there is also the nearby Orange Show and Beer Can House. It’s also home to the Houston Art Car Parade.

MacGregor Park– A green space featuring disc golf, basketball courts, play structures, covered seating, a community pool, an MLK statue, community center, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and ton of room for sports and jogging. It’s one of the best places to get outside!

 

What are some of the best parks in Houston in your opinion? Tell us about your favorite Houston parks below!