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Monday, October 23, 2017

6 Resources For Finding Parks and Trails in Your Area

Photo by Carl Mueller (Flickr)

After my girls and I visit a local playground or hiking trail, we always feel better. The fresh air clears away emotional and mental clutter, and we feel stronger physically and more connected socially as we spend time exercising with friends. Because we like to play and hike often, I use different resources to find new outdoor play spaces for my family to explore. These resources can help your family stay active and have fun with your community, too.

National Park Service

Experience your America when you visit the National Park Service website. This resource allows you to search for a variety of parks and trails almost anywhere in the United States. The site also includes information about local events, making it easy for my family and yours to connect with the community at home or while traveling.

Map of Play

When my girls need to run off steam, get fresh air, or connect with old or new friends, I visit Map of Play. Created by play experts Kaboom!, it includes photos and ratings of thousands of local playgrounds, parks, and play spaces. I also appreciate that Map of Play promotes community activity. You can share unique play spaces with friends and add new play spaces to the site as you encourage others to play. You can also join a playground cleanup crew or plan a play date with this helpful resource.

Find Your Park

With a user-friendly design, Find Your Park invites you to search for parks by ZIP code, state, park name, or activity. When you find a park you want to visit, share it with friends on social media. This resource also features a Google map of each park so you know exactly where it's located and what it looks like. You can discover details about nearby activities, too. My girls appreciate that we can find local historical tours, art and culture centers, and shopping opportunities to enjoy after we play.

AllTrails

Sometimes, we're in the mood for an easy trail, and other times, we want a challenge. I use AllTrails.com to search 50,000 trails by difficulty, length, or rating. I also appreciate the trail pictures, reviews, and maps shared on this site by actual hikers. We learn firsthand how others liked the trail, and we can share a map with friends and set up hiking dates. You can uUse the site to save trails, too. With this feature, it's easy to track how many trails you've visited or easily find interesting trails for future hikes!

Playground Buddy

Use this free app to find a local playground. The worldwide directory includes more than 200,000 playgrounds, which is especially useful when we travel because it helps my girls and me stay active anywhere! This website also shows details about the playground, including its play equipment, and you can share the playground's location with a friend. With this information, you can set up a fun and engaging play date for your family or connect with locals and make new friends.

Trails.com

I expect to find trails in rural areas, but Trails.com shows urban trails, too. Browse by state or activity, and check out topographical maps of each trail before you head outdoors. For example, when my older daughter wanted to try trail-running with a friend, we used this resource to find a nearby trail that was ideal for their excursion.

Outdoor playtime is essential for our kids and communities. It improves our physical, mental, and emotional states, provides socialization opportunities, and connects people. I use these six resources to find local parks and trails. What other resources do you use to find local play spaces?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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