It’s always a good idea to go to the park but even more so when it’s warm outside and the kids are itching for adventure! With free fun and bountiful choices of amazing parks in the South Bay, pack a picnic and load up the car (and maybe the kids, too). We’ve picked thirteen of our faves below to give you tons of options for fun in the sun!

Seven Sea Park, Sunnyvale

There is so much to love about this amazing pirate-themed park that boasts both climbing and water fun (yes—the water is still on). Highlights include a mind-blowing toddler play structure, a water play/splash area, a rope and metal climbing gym, and a pirate ship that is accessible to kids of all abilities. Parking can be little tricky on the weekends but street parking can usually be found not too far away.

1010 Morse Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA
Online: sunnyvale.ca.gov

Rotary PlayGarden, San Jose

This San Jose playground is specifically designed to be fun for kids of all abilities. From the wheelchair accessible merry-go-round, to the concrete slides designed to prevent interference with cochlear implants, tons of planning went into the design of this awesome park. Climb on some bugs, bang on the chimes and make the dragonflies fly! Make sure you bring your hats and sunscreens (or pick a cloudy day) as shade is unfortunately scarce at this park. Check out all the details of this park in our post here.

Guadalupe River Park
Coleman Avenue at Autumn Street
San Jose, CA
Online: rotaryplaygarden.org

photo: Santa Clara County Parks

Hellyer County Park, San Jose

South Bay parents have been flocking to this playground that includes two 3-foot climbing towers, a conical merry-go-round, toddler play area and log climbing structure. A splash pad and waterfall arch make this a perfect spot to gather on a hot day. Bonus: shade sails help keep the kiddos cool while playing

985 Hellyer Ave.,
San Jose, CA
Onlinesccgov.org

Steve Carli Park, Santa Clara

Steve Carli Park has a big kid structure with slides, ropes, ladders and opportunities for climbing while a separate small toddler structure nearby. Possibly the best feature for parents of little ones are the two parent-tot double swings where you can pop your tiny person in the bucket swing while you sit on the swing facing them. Brilliant! Don't miss out on the Disneyland-like spinning tea cup spinner.  The playground is well-shaded with lots of benches to stop for a snack break.

1045 Los Padres Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA
Onlinesantaclaraca.gov

Tamien Park, San Jose

Kids love the shaded sliding areas, a twisty-turvey climbing wall and cool cave for exploring at this park that will keep the kids busy for hours. Shaded picnic tables with umbrellas help your crew keep cool on hot days.  Bonus: the Tamien Light Rail Station is right next door so you can spy some cool trains as you play. 

1135 Lick Ave.
San Jose, CA

Online: https://www.sanjoseca.gov

War Memorial Playground, Santa Clara

This small but clean and well-maintained playground features a unique ant-theme design by native Californian Francine Agapoff who has worked for Disney Imagineering. The unusual concrete ant statues are perfect for active tots to climb on and adds delight and character to the sandbox, the ground surface and play structures. 

295 Monroe St.
Santa Clara, CA
Online: santaclaraca.gov

photo: Christine Lai

Shoup Park, Los Altos

It's hard to find a more perfect playground set among the shade of gorgeous redwoods but that's what Shoup park is! A tot lot with seesaw and climbing structure attracts the under 4 crew, while a bigger playground is great for those who want to climb a little higher. Take the kids down the hidden pathway near the Garden House to check out Redwood Grove Nature Preserve next door. Bonus: nearby downtown Los Altos is perfect for a post-park coffee or sweet treat!

400 University Ave.
Los Altos, CA
Onlinelosaltosca.gov

Cuesta Park, Mountain View

Everything you would want in a park is here at Cuesta park: shaded, expansive lawns for picnicking, an enormous sand area, cool playground structures, tennis courts, bocce ball courts and a little stage where tiny drama queens or kings can dance or act out. A paved walking path around the entire park provides plenty of scooting or biking opportunities as well in case you still need the tots to burn off energy. Come early and stay late! 

615 Cuesta Dr.
Mountain View, CA
Online: mountainview.gov

Mariposa Park, Mountain View

This adorable butterfly themed playground is set within an equally quaint small, residential park. Concrete sculptures of caterpillars and eggs add to the charm and is the perfect place for the 5 and under crowd to learn how to climb, swing and slide.

301 Mariposa Ave.
Mountain View, CA
Onlinemountainview.gov

Houge Park, San Jose

Toddlers and babies will be appeased with five (yes FIVE!) baby swings at Houge Park along with its charming red firetruck play structure and a huge sandbox. A separate larger playground entertains big kids and exercise equipment and a walking path caters to the adults. What's not to love about a park that the whole family will love? 

White Oaks Ave. & Twilight Dr.
San Jose, CA
Online: sanjoseca.gov

 

Wildwood Park, Saratoga

This gorgeous park right off the main drag in downtown Saratoga has a great play area with lots of climbing options plus a large grassy section perfect for picnics. Little thespians will enjoy performing on the stage among the redwoods. A small trail heads from the play structure, up through the trees above the park, and drops you off by the stage. Or head down to the creek under the bridge to see what might swim, hop or fly around the water.

20764 4th St.
Saratoga, CA
Onlinesaratoga.ca.us

Greystone Park, San Jose

This playground features an astonishing amount of shade which is perfect for keeping cool. Located in a quiet neighborhood, this is a welcome choice for those who are looking to get the kids away from chaotic routines and busy streets. If your shorties are still feeling spirited after the playground, Los Alamitos Creek trailhead is across the street. 

Camden Ave. & Mt Carmel Dr
San Jose, CA
Online: sanjoseca.gov

Jack Fisher Park, Campbell

If your little ones have a lot of energy to burn, this is the place to go to. With large grassy lawns to run and roll around on, sand areas and play structures, your kids will go home dirty, and most importantly—tired. Bigger kids will enjoy riding their scooters or bikes down the park's "mountain." The recently-renovated play structures offer loads of options for all ages and the spray feature is perfect for hot summer days. 

1499 Abbott Ave. at Pollard Rd.
Campbell, CA
Online: ci.campbell.ca.us

—Christine Lai & Kate Loweth

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