Playground hopping is one of our easy, go-to summer activities. Here’s how it works: I map out 3-4 playgrounds, each within a 5-10 minute drive. We spend anywhere from 30 minutes – 1 hour at one playground before we head to the next.
I love this activity because my kids don’t get bored or overheated, even in the summer. We use the brief time in the car to hydrate, eat a quick snack, and regroup. This activity is completely free, and a fun way to explore a different part of town. We’ve playground hopped in Chesterfield, Richmond, and Henrico, so I’ll share the routes and helpful hints with you!
Playground hopping in Chesterfield
Starting at Rockwood Park, which is Chesterfield’s oldest park, enjoy the tandem swings, twisty slides, and climbing opportunities.
Afterwards, head less than 5 minutes to Fernbrook Park. This is a quiet park, tucked in the Fernbrook neighborhood. This playground is small, and perfect for the 6 and under crowd, with a separate play structure for little ones.
Finally, end your day at Clarendon Park, 10 minutes from Fernbrook. Clarendon Park has a vibrant playground with equipment suitable for toddlers through upper elementary aged children. Pro-tip: Conclude your day with ice cream from Bruster’s – very close to Clarendon Park. This Bruster’s location has games, chalk, a sandbox and tons of seating.
Playground hopping in Henrico
Henrico County is known for its outstanding park system, so it’s easy to find fun parks to visit throughout the county. Here’s your route for a fun-filled playground experience in Henrico.
Start at Springfield Park, adjacent to Springfield Elementary. This park has plenty for toddlers, including swings, and bouncy seats. There’s a second play area for older children, with slides, a matching game, stepping stones, and more.
Next, drive 5 minutes to Echo Lake Park. This is a quiet park with lots of shade – perfect for summertime. My children love the treehouse playground, and musical instruments at Echo Lake.
Finally, finish up your outing at Crump Park, just 7 minutes from Echo Lake Park. Crump Park playground is huge! Little ones will love the farm themed play structures with a train, tractor and bouncy animals to ride on. For older children, there’s a zipline, slides, monkey bars, and more.
Playground hopping in Richmond
The city of Richmond has lots of unique play spaces for children. Here’s a fun and safe (all these playgrounds are fenced!) itinerary for planning your next playground adventure!
Begin at Humphrey-Calder playground. Not only is this playground entirely fenced, the surface is all sand, which my children loved! Appropriate for both toddlers and big kids, Humphrey-Calder is always a hit for any kiddo who loves trucks, and things that go! It is right beside a fire station, and you can see trains from the park.
Your next stop will be Grayland Tot Lot, which is just a couple blocks behind Cary Street, and only about 3 minutes from Humphrey-Calder. While it’s called a “tot lot,” there is plenty for children of all ages, including large slides, high climbing ladders, ride-on toys, and more. Like Humphrey-Calder, Grayland is also a sand surface playground! Pro-tip: Dress your kids in crocs or similar shoes, so you can easily get the sand out of their shoes when you’re ready to leave.
Your final excursion of the day will be the Carillon Tot Lot, less than 10 minutes from Grayland Tot Lot. Like the Grayland Tot Lot, Carillon Tot Lot has equipment for toddlers through pre-tweens. My kids especially love the tandem swing, climbing web, and standing see-saw. To cool off, there is a picnic table in the shade directly outside of the fenced play area.
As you plan your family’s summer fun, be sure and reference this playground hopping guide for a fun-filled day.
If you’re looking for more outdoor fun, check out the first piece I wrote for RFM – 10 Free & Fun Outdoor Play Spaces for Families. I love helping caregivers find fun and creative things to do around RVA.