If you have maxed out your summer time at your local park or splash pad, don’t worry. The Bay Area is full of climbing structures, tandem swings and even a bunch of parks that are designed to be fully-inclusive and wheelchair-friendly. Scroll through to see which 20 parks made it to our list of favorites!

photo: Kate Loweth

Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds, San Francisco

Head to the Civic Center for a two-for-one playground combo, just opened in early 2018. These two massive climbing structures boast innovative design and cushioned artificial turf for children to play. Multi-sensory areas and traditional swings provide kids with different ways to move their bodies. The park even has elements that allow children in wheelchairs to swing and play. Read all about them here. Bonus: Bi-rite just set up shop in the plaza so you can get your pre-playground coffee fix!

Civic Center Plaza
San Francisco, CA
Onlinesfrecpark.org

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Tilden Regional Park and Little Farm, Berkeley

Tilden Park is so much more than just a playground. Yes, you can find a small one here, but wander just a bit further and you’ll find a carousel, tons of hiking trails, and Little Farm—a traditional (and free!) farm full of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits. Plan for a long day of frolicking outside here and bring leftover celery and lettuce to share with the animals!

Central Park Dr.
Berkeley, CA
510-544-2233
Onlineebparks.org

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
Online: rotaryplaygarden.org

photo: Melissa Bouse

Larkey Park, Walnut Creek

Between the playground, the pool and the nearby Lindsay Wildlife Experience, it's easy to spend a whole day here. The playground has two separate areas, one geared toward older kids and one that's better for all ages with swings, slides and sand. Just down the grassy hill is the newly-renovated Larkey Swim Center, complete with a rockin' splash pad. If you're not too tuckered out, check out the Lindsay Wildlife Experience, too. The museum and working wildlife rehab hospital has some magnificent birds and animals. Occasionally, they exercise the birds outside, so you can catch a free glimpse!

Buena Vista Ave. at 1st Ave.
Walnut Creek, CA
Online: walnut-creek.org

photo: Marin County Parks

Hal Brown Park at Creekside, Greenbrae

This park got a recent upgrade and we are loving all of the new additions especially the large, red climbing web and yellow spinning buckets. You'll get views of Mt. Tam, benches in the shade, plargounds for all ages and an easy-to-find location right across from Marin General Hospital. 

Bon Aire Road, Greenbrae
Online: marincountyparks.org

Magic Mountain Playground - Coyote Point, San Mateo

Dragon-obsessed kiddos will love this playground featuring a medieval two-story castle with a fun slide that lets little ones run with their imagination. Rocking horses, swings, dragons and tunnels are all a part of the fun. There is even a gated area for tots that like to wander off.

Tip: After running the kids out at the playground, stop by CuriOdyssey. This fantastic science and wildlife center for kids is just down the road from the park.

1701 Coyote Point Dr.
San Mateo, CA
650-363-4020
Onlineparks.smcgov.org

photo: SF Recreation and Parks

Hilltop Park, San Francisco

Hilltop is most well-known for its giant 70-foot sundial and its skatepark. If you haven't been there in a while, recent renovations will make you want to drop by for another afternoon of play. The massive cement slide is still in place (bring your cardboard if you have the need for speed) but the playground at its base is totally new and totally cool. Kids can climb on the tree-shaped merry-go-round and the rubberized flooring will protect from any falls. Plenty of benches surround the action so that parents can take a break.

La Salle & Whitney Young Circle
San Francisco, CA
Onlinesfrecpark.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: new shade sails were added to keep the sun off the kiddos.

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

Central Park, San Ramon

Bring the towels and the bathing suits. This park has a great water play area with a bunch of different spray features and a little "river" that runs through it. If they get tired of that, there is a more traditional play structure. The park is also home to skate ramps and plenty of open, grassy areas.

12501 Alcosta Blvd.
San Ramon, CA
925-973-3200
Onlineci.san-ramon.ca.us/parks

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

Beresford Park Playground, San Mateo

Renovated in 2016, the new playground is packed with fun and challenging play structures that kids could hang out in all day. Complete with a slide mountain, monkey bars, spire towers, water features, pendulum swings and a separate area for tots, it’s definitely one to check out.

Tip: The playground is part of Beresford Park, which includes the Beresford Rec Center and the city’s only Community Garden.

2720 Alameda de las Pulgas
San Mateo, CA
650-522-7440
Onlinecityofsanmateo.org

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

photo: Mae Respicio

South Park, San Francisco

South Park is the oldest public park in San Francisco. Taking up almost 34,000 square feet of space, the park is a favorite lunch spot for those working in the surrounding businesses. Park improvements include the addition of a butterfly garden and a massive serpentine climbing structure for kids of all ages. Grab a spot on the net swing and enjoy the afternoon. Read all about it here.

64 South Park Ave.
San Francisco, CA
Onlinesfrecpark.org

Memorial Park, San Anselmo

If your kids are dino fans, this is the park for you. You'll find a castle and giant dinosaur to climb on along with a train-theme tot lot for the tiny ones. Swings are parked on the edges and have ones to fit all ages. Parents will find lots of benches for sitting (when the kids allow). 

1000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
San Anselmo, CA
Online: townofsananselmo.org

Koret Children’s Quarter (Golden Gate Park Children’s Playground), San Francisco

The mother of all playgrounds, on a Saturday mid-morning this is not for the faint-of-heart. It’s big, there’s a ton to do and it’s busy. (The din of children squealing with delight almost drowns out the drums of Hippie Hill). Try out the cement slides—one of the few remnants of the vintage playground that once stood here (bring scrap cardboard). The playground also includes one of the tallest climbing structures in the park circuit, a water feature and sand that mix together for a messily awesome good time and a carousel! Restrooms are just past the carousel.

Martin Luther King, Jr and Bowling Green Drive
San Francisco, CA
Online: sfrecpark.org

photo: Melissa Bouse

Shorebird Park Nature Center & Adventure Playground, Berkeley

All you need for this playground is a little imagination. Well, that and clothes you don't mind ruining. With the help of adults and some handy volunteers, kids can use a variety of tools and materials to literally create their own fun. They can hammer, saw, paint—you name it. There's even a kid-built fort and zipline. The playground is best for kids ages 6 and up. Be sure to check the hours before you go!

160 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA
510-981-6720
Onlineci.berkeley.ca.us

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
Online: sunnyvale.ca.gov

Highlands Park, San Carlos

Newly renovated in 2018, this brand-new playground features an expanded area with separate structures for the under-two set on colorful padded turf. Slides, swings, rope climbing, challenging play features and plenty of open space allow little ones to run around. Plenty of parking and new bathrooms make potty time and diaper changes easier.

2600 Melendy Dr.
San Carlos, CA
650-802-4382
Onlinecityofsancarlos.org

photo: Kate Loweth

Sue Bierman Playground, San Francisco

Burn off that Miette macaroon at the Sue Bierman playground. Located across the street (and just north) from the Ferry Building, this picture-perfect playground offers two main play structures, a rope dome, and lots of baby swings to keep your 'Frisco kids busy while you take in the view of Coit Tower. It’s in full sun, so on a warm day it’s bright and hot, but there’s lots of  grass and shady nooks in the area outside the playground. There are no restrooms at the park: use the Ferry Building.

Washington & Drumm St.
San Francisco, CA
Onlinesfrecpark.org

Meadow Homes Park, Concord

The Concord community is delighted to have this new playground open right next to the ever-popular spray park. Flanked by two climbing structures - one for older kids and one for tots, the park is surrounded by protective fencing and covered in tanbark. Swings for all ages are offered including one adaptive swing for bigger kids who are unable to swing on traditional swings.

1351 Detroit Ave.
Concord, CA
Online: cityofconcord.org

—Kate Loweth

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