It’s warm outside and the kids are itching for adventure! Why not pack up the pipsqueaks and the picnic and head to one of the South Bay’s amazing parks? The fun is free and the choices are plentiful. We’ve picked thirteen of our faves below to give you tons of options for fun in the sun!

Seven Sea Park, Sunnyvale

This amazing pirate-themed park in Sunnyvale boasts both climbing fun and water fun (and yes, the water is still on at this park), the perfect combo to get through a warm late-summer day. Make sure to bring suits and snacks, because once you arrive, your little ones will never want to leave. 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 is a little tricky on the weekends as the attached lot fits only about 6 minivans, but street parking can usually be found not too far away.

1010 Morse Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA

photo: Kate Loweth

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

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: new shade sails were added to keep the sun off the kiddos.

985 Hellyer Ave.,
San Jose, CA

Steve Carli Park, Santa Clara

Steve Carli Park has a big kid structure that includes three slides, ropes, ladders and tons of opportunities for climbing. A separate small toddler structure has a mini slide and climber. 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! The playground is well-shaded with lots of benches to stop for a snack break.

1045 Los Padres Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA

Tamien Park, San Jose

This long-awaited park finally opened its phase one playground in late 2017 and the kids are in love. Shaded sliding areas, a twisty-turvey climbing wall and cool cave for exploring will keep the kids busy for hours. Bonus: the Tamien Light Rail Station is right next door so you can spy some cool trains as you play. Phase two plans include a small soccer field, outdoor stage and more benches.

1135 Lick Ave.
San Jose, CA

War Memorial Playground, Santa Clara

Designed with safety in mind, this clean and well-maintained playground features a unique ant-theme design which adds delight and character to the sandbox, the ground surface, and play structures. Unusual concrete ant statues are perfect for active tots to climb on.

295 Monroe St.
Santa Clara, CA

A playground set among the gorgeous redwoods, what more could you want? Just a short walk from downtown Los Altos you can find Shoup Park where there's plenty of fun (and shade) to be found. 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. If El Nino graces us with rain this year, check out the fun in the nearby Adobe Creek. You can even take the hidden pathway near the Garden House to check out Redwood Grove Nature Preserve next door.

400 University Ave.
Los Altos, CA

Cuesta Park, Mountain View

A rare gem, this playground offers ample shade from the sun, an enormously fun sand area, and a little stage where tiny drama queens or kings can dance or act out. Make sure to pack a cooler with your favorite foods as spacious, grassy lawns provide an ideal setting for a leisurely family picnic.

615 Cuesta Dr.
Mountain View, CA

Mariposa Park, Mountain View

A butterfly theme adds a magical feeling to this adorable playground in an equally quaint park. Concrete sculptures of caterpillars and eggs add more charm, and age-appropriate play structures for smaller and bigger kiddos will keep everyone plenty entertained.

301 Mariposa Ave.
Mountain View, CA

Houge Park, San Jose

For parents who’ve just about had it with playgrounds that only have one or two baby swings, this playground was made for you. With five (yes FIVE!) baby swings, your toddler hopefully won't have to melt down waiting for his or her turn. This charming little park also has a red firetruck play structure and a huge sandbox.

White Oaks Ave. & Twilight Dr.
San Jose, CA


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

Greystone Park, San Jose

Perfect for little ones with sensitive skin, this playground features an astonishing amount of shade. 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.

Camden Ave. & Mt Carmel Dr.
San Jose, CA

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

—Kate Loweth


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