Parking Zone

Sharing some of my favorite parks in MoCo

Our usual travel adventures may not have been on the itinerary this year, but we were able to do some traveling around town. Our excursions have centered around COVID-safe, outdoor activities. I’ve compiled a list of parks in Montgomery County, MD, and here are my top 5 favorite ones.

Toddler-parent swing at Newport Mill Park

#5: Newport Mill Park

This beautiful little park is tucked away in a quiet North Kensington neighborhood between Albert Einstein High School and Newport Mill Middle School. It has a fun play area with some unique additions, like a mini rock wall and a toddler-parent swing. The park is large enough that there is plenty of room to spread out among the trees and have a picnic or just run around.

Feeling that sunshine at Woodside

#4: Woodside Urban Park

I really like this little slice of green space in the middle of downtown Silver Spring. It has a skate park, tennis courts, and a playground as well as plenty of seating for relaxing and taking in the scenery. Even though it is downtown, parking is usually easy to come by, and being in close proximity to restaurants and shops is a plus.

The totem pole near the Cabin John playground

#3: Cabin John Regional Park

Cabin John Regional Park in Bethesda is a beautifully wooded escape. There is a scenic trail, lots of areas for picnics, and even a miniature train that I may or may not have ridden even when I was childless. There are multiple playgrounds to cater to every age group and a pavilion that can be rented for private events. But perhaps my favorite thing about Cabin John is Porky the Litter Eater, a mechanical pig that is an interactive recyclables receptacle. Porky has been a park installation since the ’60s, and you can follow this link to see a video of him in action.

Blankets of snow seen from Kingfisher Overlook near Clopper Lake

#2: Seneca Creek State Park

There is so much to love about Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg. It is 6,300 acres of beautiful woods, and there is even a walking trail around the perimeter of Clopper Lake. You can hike, kayak, horseback ride, and there is even a disc golf course. The Recycled Tire Playground is fun for kids and even has a mini zip line. From April to October, the park is free on weekdays but $3 for Maryland residents and $5 for out-of-state residents on holidays and weekends. It is completely free from November to March.

The beautiful view after emerging from Pine Lake in Wheaton Regional Park

#1: Wheaton Regional Park

Wheaton is hands down one of my favorite places to roam. It is one of the county’s largest parks, and it has many attractions from the miniature train to the carousel to Pine Lake. There is even an ice skating arena, dog park, and expansive playground with some pretty impressive slides. But what makes Wheaton edge Seneca Creek out of the number one spot for me is the Brookside Nature Center connected to it. Like other attractions, the Center is currently closed due to COVID, but ordinarily, it is a family-friendly spot for a nature tour. You can see the butterfly exhibit and feed ducks at the pond.

Brookside Gardens is even more beautiful in spring

If that isn’t enough, head through the fence leading to Brookside Gardens where you can walk the botanic gardens, even during the pandemic. There are trails, bridges, gazebos, and of course beautiful foliage to make for a picturesque walk.

If you’re in the DMV and haven’t been to these MoCo parks, I recommend you visit them this spring and summer. There’s nothing better than fresh air and a pretty sight!

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