Top Playground + Hike Combos for Kids
A quintessential North Shore experience
by Maris Lemba
Does your kid (or you!) get bored quickly of the metal and plastic structures at playgrounds, and you struggle to extend play and movement time? Consider a playground and hike combo. Enjoying fun playtime at a playground and then walking into a forest for a family friendly nature hike full of discoveries and creative play is a quintessentially North Shore combo that makes for a great weekend outing. Check out our top three suggestions below.
MOSQUITO CREEK PLAYGROUND + MOSQUITO TRAIL HIKE
An unexpectedly quiet retreat in the busy parts of town between Marine Drive and Delbrook, Mosquito Creek Park Playground and Mosquito Creek Trail deserve a spot on your weekend ideas checklist. Mosquito Creek Playground covers all the playground essentials for a younger kid, from climbing and sliding to swinging and digging in a sandpit, and is usually not crowded. Mosquito Trail with its wide and groomed surface and relative lack of terrain hazards is the perfect place for getting the youngest of tots to try out hiking in a safe environment, or for a more extended outing with an older kid either on foot or on a bike.
Depending on your and your crew's style, you can either find street parking and start with Mosquito Creek Playground, leaving you flexible with the out-and-back distance you hike on Mosquito Trail, or you can park at Delbrook Community Centre and walk 1.5 kilometers to get to the playground. If looking for extra playground time, consider walking up to Dudley Place from Delbrook parking lot. Nearby Edgemont Village is the perfect place for a post-hike snack.
MAHON PARK PLAYGROUND + TRAILS
Right in Central Lonsdale, Mahon Park Playground and Mahon Park trails are a great playground and urban wilderness combo. The large playground has lots of space to run and play, and a few neat unique features (a little train!) not found elsewhere. In the summer, the spray park here gives little ones endless options for cooling off and playing with water. After a bit of play at the playground, nearby Mahon Park trails give an out-in-the-wilderness feel while still being safely in the city, so even a navigation novice does not need to worry about accidentally wandering away into the wild never to be seen again. You can do a mellow out-and-back, or complete a loop hike.
Park at the parking lot in the corner of 18th St W and Jones Avenue. Both the playground and Mahon Park trailhead are straight across the street. If feeling hungry after the outing, Central Lonsdale is only a few blocks away and has plenty of options.
BLUERIDGE PARK + HYANNIS TRAIL HIKE
This outing combines a wonderfully diverse playground at Blueridge Park with a hike starting on Hyannis Trail with a true wilderness feel in Seymour Mountain Forest. Be ready to swing, slide, climb, and dig in a sandpit before choosing either a flat and smooth out-and-back that will suit even the youngest of tots (appropriate also for balance bikes!) or a more challenging hiking loop.
Start or end your outing at Blueridge Park Playground, parking at Berkley Road. Hyannis trailhead is a block and a half away. For post outing refreshments, Northwoods or Parkgate Village are your closest options.
So grab your boots and raincoats and go explore!