From beach-front plays areas to boundless playscapes accessible to all abilities, New London County is home to some amazing playgrounds and many are opened year-round. So pack sunblock on a summer day or an extra sweater for those chilly days, and soak up their giggles as they burn off energy and make new friends.
Ocean Beach Park Playground
Although the park and its amenities are technically open between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the playground here is accessible all year long. Kids can choose from the tall ship themed giant playscape, swings, or balance equipment, all situated on the sugar sand Ocean Beach is known for. Adults can pull up a bench close to the playground or take in the salt air on the newly refinished boardwalk that looks out over Long Island Sound. During the beach's open season, kids can check out the splash pad with a paid parking fee.
98 Neptune Avenue, New London
Poquonnock Plains Park
Expect this park to be packed all year long! With features like the all ability accessible playscape, huge slides, large soccer field (great for kite flying!) and 1/2 mile jogging/walking path, it's no wonder this park is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Don't miss the popular lopsided spinning chair.
1 Central Road, Groton
Toby May Park
Recently renovated with a grant from Rotary International, Toby May boasts two playscapes, two sets of swings, a covered picnic area, water/sand tables, a rock climbing wall, and free standing, sturdy toys to promote pretend play. Behind the playground is a large, open field to fly a kite, toss a football or just run. Don't forget your basketball or tennis racquet, because Toby May has courts for them, too.
636 Ocean Avenue, New London
Groton Skate Park
Named as one of the best places to skateboard outdoors in Connecticut, the Groton Skate Park offers skateboarders an alternative, legal, free spot to skateboard. Located inside Sutton Park and open year round from sunrise to sunset, skaters can perfect tricks on flatbars, ramps, and transitions.
185 Fort Hill Road, Groton
Stonington Village Playground
With its huge playhouse and spectacular views of Stonington Harbor, kids and parents flock to this hidden gem of a playground in Stonington. The large playscape accommodates kids ages 2-12, and swings, slides, and seesaws draw all ages. But the biggest attractions at this playground are the huge gazebo and playhouse, both of which are perfect for seeking shade on a hot, summer day and letting your imagination run wild.
8-12 Northwest Street, Stonington
Bates Woods Park
Set on 95 sprawling acres in New London, Bates Woods underwent a major facelift a few years ago. Kids have the choice of the brand new playscape, any one of three baseball fields, or two open play areas. Picnic under one of the three large pavilions and make a day of it at Bates Woods.
Chester Street and Michael Road, New London
Originally published 4/2/13.
Photo courtesy of C. Verge.