It is no secret that one of the gems that complete the vibrancy and uniqueness of Richmond, VA, is its incredible green spaces. Today, the city is proudly home to over 140 parks and natural areas providing amazing outdoor recreation opportunities for Richmonders and visitors. This has been made possible by the systematic and never-ending efforts of the city to preserve these natural environments and provide amenities that help support active lifestyles for happier and healthier urban living.
As such, if you want to settle in a lively city where you are always a short distance away from beautiful, natural parks where you can go for walks, hikes, rides, water sports, or a day out with family and friends, Richmond has it all.
This guide provides the ultimate list of the best parks and outdoor spaces for exploration and other exciting activities for those considering moving to Richmond, VA.
- James River Park System
The James River Park System is situated right in the middle of the city and is a 600-acre park with 17 different parks. This park runs along the James River from Huguenot Flatwater down to Ancarrow’s Landing and offers so much, including:
- A vast network of trails
- Historic sites and numerous landmarks
- Rocks, rapids, and meadows
- Forests, open spaces, and lots of natural scenery
For this, there are numerous outdoor activities that residents and visitors alike enjoy here, including walking & hiking, fishing, water sports, biking, bird watching, picnicking, and bird watching. Crista Cunningham, a resident who loves visiting the site, says, “This is a park with a little bit of everything, making it huge fun for anyone who explores it.”
Maymont Public Park was a gift by James and Sallie Dooley in 1925, and many decades later, it remains among the most famous recreational parks in Richmond, VA. This 100-acre park is an incredible and well-maintained 19th-century Victorian estate with wildlife exhibits and breathtaking grounds that are super-exciting to explore.
Tue to expectations, one of the residents describes this park as one of the most beautiful spots for exploration and relaxation in Richmond, regardless of the season or your mood.
On what to expect, a guide at the park highly advocates for slow tours that take at least 3 hours to explore this park, which includes an arboretum, native wildlife & farm life, formal gardens, and the Robins Nature Center. Most importantly, while no fee is required before visiting its grounds, donating to help with the park’s maintenance is highly welcome.
Note: While no fee is required to tour the Maymont grounds, a fee is required to tour inside the mansion.
- Byrd Park
The William Byrd Park sits on a 287-acre area next to Maymont on the sides of the Boulevard and Blanton Avenue. This park has for many years been a favorite spot for many families, thanks to its strategic location and the many activities one can engage in here. These include family picnics, dog walks, children’s playdates, concerts, theatrical events, walks, and other outdoor exercises.
However, this is not all Byrd Park also has three lakes, namely the Fountain Lake, Shields Lake, and Swan Lake, that add to its scenic views and provide opportunities for numerous water sports. You can also not afford to miss visiting the Byrd Park Pump House. This fascinating Victorian-era Gothic structure was once used to pump water from the James River and, at its top, has a large pavilion for events.
Art lovers have also not been left out, as this park is home to Dogwood Dell, an amphitheater that has hosted the city’s annual Festival of the Arts since 1956. And yes, you can attend or host numerous other activities and events here all year long, besides the Festival of the Arts.
- Monroe Park
Monroe Park is famous for being the oldest park in Richmond and with so much expected of such a spot, it does live up to expectations. This 14-acre park hosts the Gold Mining Camp Museum, dedicated to the history of gold mining in the region, plus many other attractions. These include sports fields, paved trails, open spaces, a pond, and its centrally located fountain, which is an amazing spot for relaxing and taking cute photos.
Since this park has been the city’s property since 1851, it has been used for many other purposes, such as being a state agricultural fairground and a military camp & hospital. Nevertheless, following its recent renovations in 2018, Monroe now ranks high as one of the cleanest and best-kept parks in Richmond, VA, and is a must-visit for anyone who wants to relax, exercise, or take a short break while in the city.
The icing on the cake is that its convenient location at the end of Virginia Commonwealth University makes it a great spot for socializing and engaging in lots of communal fun activities.
- Libby Hill Park
The strategic location and elevation of Libby Hill Park have for long made it the go-to spot for panoramic views of the James River and the city’s skyline. Starting out as a park for the wealthy families who lived on the hill, this green space with scenic views is perfect for anyone who wants to take a break from the city’s fast-paced life.
Once here, one cannot miss the famous monument of a Confederate soldier standing on 13 blocks, symbolizing each Confederate state. There is also a plaque containing the history of the city’s name, which is a good learning opportunity for everyone, especially the little ones.
Today, for many residents, Libby Hill Park is a top spot for picnics, dog walks, riding, and slow walks as they enjoy its charming views.
- Forest Hill Park
This list cannot be complete without Forest Hill Park, widely known for its historic stone house, Boscobel. Here, residents have over 100 acres to explore, including a lake, bike & hiking trails, playgrounds & tennis courts, open spaces, and BBQ sheds.
Many events are also hosted here all year, the most popular being the weekly Farmers Market on Saturdays over the summer. All said, Forest Hill Park is one of the most amazing parks in Richmond, VA, for everyone who wants a break from the city.
Now, more than ever, urban parks are vital for a better quality of life as they are a place of quietness, fun, and community recreation. Fortunately, the city of Richmond, VA, does not disappoint when it comes to this, as it offers enough green spaces for its residents and visitors. Relocating to Richmond and need proximity to these serene parks? Cavalier Moving can guide your move to the perfect spot. Contact us now!