Your guide to some of Atlanta's most engaging public parks

  • Mary Caldwell
11:12 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 Spring in Atlanta

Like just about anywhere Atlanta has some very hot and very cold days and every now and then a hurricane might just run straight up the middle of the state, but most of the time, the weather’s pretty mellow and Atlanta public parks are welcoming spots to enjoy the day. 

More on metro Atlanta parks:

»RELATED: Cobb’s Aviation Park should open by early 2018

»RELATED: 5 playgrounds your kids are begging to explore

»RELATED: Everything you need to know about Atlanta's Piedmont Park

Whether you'd like to go for a run, take a swim or let the kids burn off some energy, there are ideal parks in metro Atlanta for whatever floats your boat:

Here are top 4 picks for best parks in Atlanta:

Nick Wheeler of Sandy Springs takes advantage of warm winter weather to skateboard at Brook Run Park, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Dunwoody. (John Amis/Special)

Brook Run Park4770 N. Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 678-382-6850.

This 102-acre park features metro Atlanta's largest skate park, a playground, 2-mile trail for running or walking, a dog park and a community garden. Treetop Quest is another unique attraction in the park, offering four obstacle courses as well as a low-ropes course for children ages 4 to 6.

Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Cost: Free

Courtesy DeKalb County Parks & Recreation
Children and adults alike can enjoy the classes offered through DeKalb County Parks & Recreation, which include art tutorials, martial arts classes and foreign language lessons.

Mason Mill Park1340 McConnell Drive, Decatur. 404-679-1349. 

This well-kept park offers side-by-side playgrounds sure to entertain even the most tireless children. The grounds also include lots of trees, tennis courts and a wide, paved walking or running trail. Another section  of the South Peachtree Creek Trail opened in June 2017, providing a great, elevated boardwalk experience. Located near the Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Public Library, this park has the potential for an afternoon of reading and play.

Hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily

Cost: Free

Jason Getz
Dogs play at Newtown Dream Dog Park Saturday, March 21, 2015, in Johns Creek. PHOTO / JASON GETZ

Newtown Dream Dog Park, 3150 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek. 678-512-3200.

If your dog could dream of the ultimate dog park, he would surely tell you that it looks just like the Newtown Dream Dog Park in Johns Creek. In this one-acre fenced play field, dogs can enjoy sprinklers, obstacles, water fountains, shelters and artificial turf. Surrounding the park, you will find over 2 miles of trails to use and enjoy before releasing your dog into his very own dream come true. 

Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The dog park is closed for maintenance every 8-10 a.m. Wednesday.

Cost: Free

Gwinnett County pools like the Mountain Park Aquatic Center offer amenities like beach entry, water play structures, slides and picnic areas.

1063 Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain. 678-277-0870. 

The park includes a one-mile paved trail, and the aquatic center has an indoor lap pool along with a popular outdoor leisure pool with two giant water slides and a Lazy River.

Hours: The outdoor pool is closed from mid-September to mid-May. Indoor lap pool: 6 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday; noon to 6 p.m. Saturday; 1-6 p.m. Sunday. 

Instructional pool: noon-7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday; noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday; noon - 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Cost: Daily admission fees are $3.25 for Gwinnett residents age 3 and under and 50 and up and $6.25 for non-Gwinnett residents in these age groups; $4.25 for Gwinnett residents age 4-10 and $8.25 for non-Gwinnett residents in this age group; and $5.50 for Gwinnett residents age 11-49 or $10.50 for non-Gwinnett residents. FUNCARDS are also available if you'll be visiting frequently, and they're good for discounted admission to any Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation aquatic facility.

Here’s a rundown of other great parks in Atlanta, including parks in North FultonGwinnettDeKalb and Cobb.

Piedmont Park, 1320 Monroe Drive NE, Atlanta (there are many access points to the park, the above address is for the parking deck.)

Stretching more than 180 acres in the heart of Midtown, Piedmont Park offers everything from walking trails and tennis courts to children's playgrounds and picnic areas. The park features a three-acre dog park, numerous festivals on any given weekend and connects with the Atlanta Beltline.

Hours: 6 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Cost: Free. Parking is free for fewer than 30 minutes at the park’s SAGE parking facility. Beyond 30 minutes, parking is $2 for 31-60 minutes, and $1 for each additional 30 minutes, up to a maximum of $15 per day.

Historic Fourth Ward Park, 680 Dallas St., Atlanta

The park has a two-acre lake, and there's also a skate park, splash pad and playground equipment. You'll be able to enjoy beautiful views of the city as you spend the day exploring the area.

The park is open from 6 a.m.-11 p.m., and the splash pad operates from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. from May 1-Oct. 1. On-street parking is available along North Angier Avenue, Morgan Street, Garden Park Drive, Dallas Street and Rankin Street.

Chastain Park 140 W Wieuca Road NW, Atlanta 

Take your pick of two paved 5K loops or a 3K loop, and you'll run past the park's golf course, horse park and tennis center. You'll have plenty of shade – and other runners as company - along the way and will also pass a duck pond.

Hours: The park is open from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.

Cost: Free

1978 Interstate North Parkway, Atlanta (one of four entrances)

One of the area's most popular running trails, Cochran Shoals will take you along the banks of the Chattahoochee River near Vinings. You'll have beautiful, wide-open views of the river's shoals as you run the nearly level 5k loop that's on a gravel trail.

Hours: Sunup to sundown

Cost: A daily park pass costs $3, or you can buy a Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area yearly pass for $35.

Morgan Falls Overlook Park 200 Morgan Falls Road, Sandy Springs 
Filled with family-friendly play areas, Morgan Falls Overlook Park features a covered playground, sheltered picnic area, porch-style swings and walking trails. The park's pièce de résistance is its stunning views of the Chattahoochee River. 

Hours: Sunup to sundown

Cost: Free

Old Mill Park  95 Mill View Ave., Roswell

Lacking traditional playground equipment and parent-friendly seating, Old Mill Park does offer plenty of space to explore. Situated along Vickery Creek, the park also includes a 30-foot dam and millrace, which were constructed in the early 1800s to supply power to Roswell's mills. A covered bridge and scenic overlook at the top of the dam offer unique photo opportunities. 

Hours: Sunup to sundown

Cost: Free

Wills Park, 11925 Wills Road, Alpharetta

The Alpharetta Community Center and the Equestrian Center bookend the long park, which also features Waggy World Dog Park, miles of paved jogging/walking trails, two playgrounds, indoor gym facilities, a disc golf course, garden, pool, and an equestrian ring. 

Hours: Sunup to 10 p.m.

Cost: Free

Courtesy of Explore Georgia/For the AJC
Tribble Mill Park in Lawrenceville is a perfect spot for a shaded run.

2125 Tribble Mill Pkwy, Lawrenceville

The centerpiece of Tribble Mill Park's 713 acres is Ozora Lake, and the trail around it covers 3.4 miles. You'll run through shady forested area, over a bridge, and around the lake while following a nearly-level trail. As you run, you may spot some wildlife in or near the lake, including deer, geese, frogs, turtles and fish.

Hours: The park is open from sunrise until 11 p.m., unless otherwise posted. 

Cost: Admission and parking are free.

Mulberry RiverWalk, 940 Liberty Church Road, Braselton

The RiverWalk is a 2.3-mile walk along the banks of the Mulberry River, where you'll be able to spot waterfalls, walk along footbridges and see perennial gardens. There's a small rest stop and monument along the way to mark the spot where all four of Braselton's counties (Barrow, Gwinnett, Hall and Jackson) come together.

Hours: The park is open from sunrise until sunset, unless otherwise posted. 

Cost: Admission and parking are free.

Pinkneyville Park, 4758 S. Old Peachtree Road in Norcross

Pinckneyville Park is the setting for many outdoor activities and includes a seven-field baseball/softball complex, dog park, roller hockey rink, pond, 2.4-mile paved trail and pavilions, including the 5,000 square foot Medlock Corporate Pavilion with catering kitchen.

Hours: Sunrise until 11 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

Cost: Free

W.P. Jones Park, 3770 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth

A small stream divides the park, which is just over 20 acres in size. It has two sets of tennis courts, playground equipment, a picnic shelter and trails, and you can also explore a restored authentic Norfolk-Southern Railway train caboose.

Hours: Sunrise until sunset

Cost: Free

Bogan Park, 2723 N. Bogan Road

Bogan Park's 83 acres include an indoor aquatic center with competition and leisure pools, gymnasium, indoor badminton courts, outdoor basketball courts, dance studio, a baseball/softball complex, sand volleyball courts, pavilions, playground and two miles of trails. 

Hours: Sunrise until sunset

Cost: Free

RENEE' HANNANS
Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve

Davidson-Arabia Nature Preserve, 3350 Klondike Road, Lithonia

Arabia mountain is a part of this huge DeKalb County Park, and you'll also be able to enjoy multiple streams and two lakes. Fishing is permitted at Arabia Lake with a valid state fishing license, and you can hike and bike your way through miles of trails. If you'd like to take a guided hike, rangers lead them at 8 a.m. on Friday and Sunday.

Hours: The preserve is open daily from 6 a.m.-7 p.m.

Cost: Free. Parking is available at the nature center at 3787 Klondike Road and at the base of Arabia Mountain and AWARE at 4158 Klondike Road.

Little Nancy Creek Park, 4012 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Atlanta. 

This park is named for the creek that bisects its heavily wooded five acres. A stepping-stone path crosses the creek, and the park is also home to a community garden as well as a playground.

Hours: The preserve is open daily from 6 a.m.-11 p.m.

Cost: Free. Parking is limited to 14 spaces, so you're encouraged to walk or ride your bike if you live nearby.

Jason Getz
People play in the field at East Cobb Park in November. PHOTO / JASON GETZ

4425 Beach St., Acworth

Cauble Park is a 25-acre area on the shores of Lake Allatoona. The kids can enjoy fishing, spending time in the beach area, or playing on two playgrounds and in an open area. You can also rent a pavilion or lakeside gazebo to enjoy a group picnic and make a day of it.

Hours: The park opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m. Parking is free Monday-Friday, and if you're not an Acworth resident:

Cost: $10 per vehicle (cash only) weekends from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. between Memorial and Labor Day weekends.

East Cobb Park, 3322 Roswell Road, Marietta. 770-591-3160. 

This 13-acre park has slate and natural-surface walking trails, an all-abilities playground, pavilions, open grassy areas and creek overlooks. It hosts Sunday Fundays with live music and also offers kids' art camps.

Hours: The park is open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

Cost: Free

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, Kennesaw. 770-427-4686. 

The park has over 18 miles of interpretive trails, as well as plenty of grassy space to let the kids romp around in. Stop at the visitor center to pick up a Junior Ranger or Wee Ranger booklet, and if your child completes all the activities, he or she will receive a ranger badge, certificate and other items.

Hours: Sunup to sundown

Cost: Free, but donation boxes are in the visitor center.

Taylor-Brawner Park, 3180 Atlanta Road, Smyrna

The 10-acre park is home to a gazebo, two picnic pavilions, a walking trail, amphitheater, playground and plenty of open space. It also has two historic buildings that were part of the Brawner Hospital complex and have since been fully restored and renovated. You can also enjoy frequent special events at the park, such as movies under the stars and art shows.

Hours: 7 a.m.-11 p.m., unless otherwise noted

Cost: Free

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