When I started to write this I realized most of the parks I go to are seriously off the freeway! So if you are debating about going on a two hour trip, visiting relatives during the holidays or even across the town where your 20 minute ride can turn into an hour traffic, the best thing to know is that there is bound to be a park off your freeway exit. Take a break and enjoy a new park. Sometimes the restrooms aren’t the best, so we have to work with bringing a roll of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Here is a list of the parks I have regularly gone to or plan to visit that I know off the top of my head is located off the freeway! I will continue to add to the list as I continue on my own excursions. But even if you aren’t taking a day trip, and you want a free and get-out-of-the-house activity, go to a park. Kids love it and if there is sand they love it even more! It is also fairly easy to look up if a park in your area takes part in Concerts at the Park evenings in the summer months. Please message me if you want me to add a park to this list!
- Wilderness Park (off the 5 and 605, Downey) – I grew up here and when I became an adult, I brought my dog and children too. There’s a playground with sand, a lot of space to run around and play for kids, different types of ducks, and tons of picnic tables. For some reason, dog owners here are a little skittish about other dogs. They do charge during the weekends but if you make it in before 9am, you don’t have to pay! But a golden gem during weekday traffic!
- Schabarum Park (Hacienda Heights)- Another childhood into adulthood favorite! This place rocks because there are several playgrounds along the trails, but there’s an equestrian inside too! Check out the horses and if you are lucky, an owner might let you pet their horse. 84 Degrees Bakery is also across the street if you want to try their pastries! Their concerts in the park series are always awesome!
- Echo Park Lake (Los Angeles)- on my to-do! I hear there are swan paddle boats and a playground. The pictures look amazing!
- Warner Center Park and Costanso Fire Station 84 Park are on the same Canoga St, exit just opposite sides (Woodland Hills). Warner Park has sand and a covering and they have concerts in the par., Costanso is a cute playground shaped as a fire truck! There’s also a variety of eateries and grocery stores across the street so if you get hungry from being cooped up on the road.
- Brandon’s Village (Calabasas) is huge and amazingly inclusive for all children. There’s two different structures, with a small portion having sand. I love bringing my children here! It is very dog-friendly too! They have accessible swings and slides for wheelchairs!
- De Anza Park (Calabasas, El Camino Real) Three different playgrounds and a huge open green space to run around! There are a ton of picnic tables to have lunch.
Exposition Park (Los Angeles) – Rose garden, museums and a large open green space, located across from USC! There is heavy traffic but worth it, plus there are different eateries around it!
- Cinderella Park (San Martin Park located in Lakewood)- On my to-do but it is a castle playground with a pumpkin carriage!
- Heritage Park (off the 605, Telegraph Rd. located in Santa Fe Springs) A hidden gem for outsiders but a go-to spot for locals. This is by far one of my favorite parks – botanical gardens, steam trains, an aviary and a large field to run and play! They also host sing alongs and story time during the summer mornings. Geezers (kid-friendly restaurant) is also next door so it is a perfect go-to place!
- Palm Park (Whittier, Beverly Blvd), two different playground structures.