A few days of great weather (okay, weeks) and our thoughts immediately turn to the outdoors. With amazing parks like Klyde Warren, the Arboretum, and White Rock Lake Park, we’d argue that Dallas is home to some of the best outdoor spaces in the nation. But for a little change of pace, we decided to put together a list of some of the best spots to enjoy the great outdoors — a little off the beaten path.
Best Adventure: Trinity Forest Adventure Park
Open Friday through Sunday, the Trinity Forest Adventure Park is one of our favorites. The self-guided ropes course includes military-style obstacles — think tight ropes, wobble bridges, ladders — and zip lines along six courses of varying complexity. It’s a great place for families and friends, and the staff is friendly and helpful without getting in the way of your adventure. Located at 1820 Dowdy Ferry Rd. near the Trinity River, the park is a daring experience for an upcoming weekend.
Best Break in the Workday: Addison Circle Park
Open, clean, and with plenty of nearby parking, Addison Circle Park is a great way to blow off steam on your lunch break. The area is known for its entertainment offerings, and the park itself is host to several events throughout the year, but most days it’s relatively quiet. Located on Addison Circle Drive, it’s the perfect place to get your steps in while enjoying the fountains and the trees.
Best for the Family: River Legacy Parks
There’s plenty to do at River Legacy Parks at 703 NW Green Oaks Blvd. in Arlington, a 1,300-acre park that includes trails, picnic areas, overlooks, and play areas. The park follows the curves of the Trinity River and includes a must-have for families: public restrooms. Its 10-mile bike trail is well-maintained, thanks to the Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association, and there’s even a canoe launch at the park’s Collins Street entrance. The adjacent 12,000-square-foot Living Science Center offers hands-on classes and events throughout the year for visitors of all ages, including Saturday Story Time, backyard composting workshops, nature walks, and more.
Best Hiking: Cedar Ridge Preserve
Just 20 minutes from downtown Dallas, Cedar Ridge Preserve includes around 9 miles of trails through 600 acres of native trees and wildflowers. Hikers love the preserve for many reasons, not the least of which is all wheeled vehicles — including bicycles — are prohibited. The winding trails offer experienced hikers a beautiful place to hike in nature, while beginning hikers will enjoy the challenge of elevation changes throughout the park. Located at 7171 Mountain Creek Pkwy., the park is popular on Saturdays, so if a quiet hike is your aim, stop by during the week.
Best Picnic: Lakeside Park
For an enchanting place to relax with your sweetie on a picnic blanket, check out Lakeside Park. Its whimsical teddy bear statues and fairytale-like lily pads make this park feel like it’s straight out of dreamland. It’s a favorite among wedding photographers who love its romantic feel, and the waterfall is a must-see. With over 14 acres of impeccable landscaping along Turtle Creek — at 4601 Lakeside Dr. between Beverly Drive and Armstrong Parkway —Lakeside Park is a must-see.
Best Urban Park: Griggs Park
Located in Uptown, Griggs Park makes our list for best urban park thanks to its fantastic diversity and killer location. The Uptown Dallas, Inc. Public Improvement District reconstructed the park over the past few years, and its 8 acres include plenty of room for play and leisure. Picnic areas, playgrounds, and even places for your your pooch make it a beloved space for locals. Shoot some hoops at the half court donated by the Mavs Foundation in 2016 or roll your yoga mat out on the lush grass and catch some Zen. The park, located at 3200 Colby St., hosts a variety of public events throughout the year, so give its Facebook page a like for event details.