parksplaygroundSouth Charlotte is home to some really great parks and playgrounds.  Some of our favorites – in no particular order – include:

William R. Davie Park
4635 Pineville – Matthews Road
Charlotte, NC 28226

At 107 acres, Davie boasts not one but FOUR playgrounds perfect for kiddos of all ages, a dog park, pond, athletic fields, horseshoe pits, walking trails and bathrooms.  My favorite part?  There are lots and lots of swings (why are so many playgrounds lacking in this department?!).  It’s also one of the few playgrounds that has a decent amount of shade…which in Charlotte, in July…is a necessity, not a luxury.  I also like that there’s a sheltered eating area right in the middle of the playground, so you’re able to hang out in the shade without being too far away from the action.

The downside?  This playground is a favorite of ours…and lots of other people.  It can be very crowded, especially on nice days.  Also, while the entire park is fenced in, the individual playgrounds aren’t – making it difficult to keep your younger kids on the more age-appropriate equipment.

Colonel Francis Beatty Park
4330 Weddington Road
Matthews, NC 28105

A hidden gem in Weddington, this 265 acre park has a lot to offer.  Mountain biking trails, walking trails, picnic areas, athletic fields, horseshoe pits, covered pavilions, bathrooms, a lake for kayaking, fishing and canoeing, and two really nice playgrounds – one for the younger set and one for the over six crowd, plus swings.  Bring some buckets and shovels too, as the sand volleyball court is often transformed into an impromptu sandbox. Another plus?  There’s a canopy over the playground to keep the kiddos cool while they run around.

Cons?  The playground may be shaded, but some of the trails and the swings are not.  There’s no fence either, so once again you’re faced with the challenge of keeping the smaller kids to “their” playground.

Stallings Municipal Park
322 Stallings Road
Matthews, NC 28104

A playgroup favorite, Stallings Park is amazing.  It has fields, picnic areas, a splash pad and lots of playground equipment.  The best part?  There’s a playground designed specifically for younger kids – and it’s FENCED IN.  Come on mamas – you know you can’t beat that!  There’s also has a huge sandbox which is always the hot spot to be.

The downside to this park is, once again, a lack of shade by the playgrounds and the splash pad.  The splash pad is also a little intense for younger kids – the water comes out pretty forcefully, and the splash pad is often packed with older kids.

Pineville Lake Park
1009 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC 28134

A beautiful lake is the backdrop to this expansive park.  Pineville Lake features pavilions and recently renovated playgrounds geared towards various skill levels.  What I like most about this playground is how so much of it is easily accessible for my two-year-old; he’s able to climb, crawl and explore it all pretty easily.  None of it seems to be too “old” for him (or for my comfort), but still offers a lot to entertain older kids too.

Con?  No shade, no fence, and only a small handful of swings.

Squirrel LakeSquirrel Lake Park
1631 Pleasant Plains Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Another hidden gem, this time in Matthews, Squirrel Lake Park is one of my favorite places to play with the kids.  There’s a lot they’ve managed to fit into the park’s 29 acres – a fishing pond, horseshoe pits, walking trails, a twelve-hole disc golf course, restrooms, and a really fun playground.

I love that there are a few different playgrounds for various skill levels, loads of swings, and a sandbox – all in one, nicely shaded location.

The biggest con?  There’s no fence, so keeping up with the kids – particularly near the lake – can be a challenge.