Playgrounds With Shade for Westchester Kids
You know how it goes: It’s a beautiful day, and you’re hoping to take the kids to a playground to burn off some energy and enjoy the weather. But finding a spot that isn’t directly in the sun—not only making the kids uncomfortable but the equipment often too hot to even play on—can be a challenge. Thankfully, Westchester boasts plenty of playgrounds with shade.
These spots offer either natural or artificial shade over their play structures. And while parents love the fact they’re not in the direct sun, the kids love the sheer variety of equipment these playgrounds have to offer—from nature-inspired fun to plenty of swings and slides.
Here are a few of our favorite local shade-drenched spots. Find more of our parent-tested playgrounds in our Guide to Playgrounds, including our top picks for toddlers and those playgrounds that make great day-trip destinations.
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Greenburgh Nature Center – Scarsdale
There’s lots to love about the Greenburgh Nature Center, from the animals to the events to the great-for-little-kids hiking trails. Its Nature’s Discovery Playground, which is as whimsical as it is fun, is definitely on that list. On a recent weekday morning visit, it was quiet, and there were several shady spots with innovative, nature-inspired structures kids love exploring. While there’s an admission rate to enter the Manor House, the playground and the grounds are FREE to visit.
Sagamore Park – Bronxville
This playground tucked away in a residential area in Bronxville is one of our go-to's for the toddler set, but since it's surrounded by trees, it makes a great option for those scouting out shade, too. The equipment is primarily made of wood, and there’s a large sandy area in the center for kids to play as well. Once you’re done playing, head into the village for a sweet treat.
The playground at V.E. Macy Park offers plenty of shade, benches for parents, and a giant sandbox.
V.E. Macy Park – Ardsley
This Westchester County-owned park, right off Saw Mill River Road in Ardsley, has a playground close to the parking lot, which offers plenty of shade thanks to its surrounding trees. While not huge, there are slides and climbing structures—and you can also bring the sand toys since the playground is set on a floor of sand. Also great? There are bathrooms and tons of green space to play ball or spread out a blanket for lunch or a snack.
Artificial shade covers the playground at Jack's Friendship Garden.
Jack’s Friendship Garden – New Rochelle
This large playground has something for everyone, including slides, swings (with accessible and toddler options), and a sandy area where little ones can break out the beach toys. The best part might be the two large canvas pieces providing shade over the main play area. There’s parking on the street, as well as walking paths and grassy areas to check out, too.
The newly-renovated Mattison Park playground is great for a mixed-age group of kids.
Mattison Park – White Plains
Like Jack’s Friendship Garden, this White Plains playground—which was completely renovated in 2019—has a large shade structure covering most of the main play area. Fully accessible, the playground has places to climb and hang and a separate area for toddlers and preschoolers.
The lesser-known of two playgrounds in Saxon Woods Park is an ideal destination on a hot day.
Saxon Woods Park Playground – White Plains
First, some background: There are two Saxon Woods entrances on Mamaroneck Avenue—one that says Saxon Woods Pool and the other that says Saxon Woods Park. While the new, large playground at the Saxon Woods Pool entrance is one of our very favorites in the area, it’s best for an early morning or evening visit on sunny days since there’s little shade. But the playground at the Saxon Woods Park entrance, which is tucked behind a few picnic tables, does get a good amount of shade, thanks to its surrounding trees. Though smaller, it makes a great stop after a hike or to pack a picnic to enjoy on one of the tables.
Photos by the author