Kate A. via Yelp

Bluemont Park Playground

With separate sections for bigger and smaller kids, this 70-acre park’s well-shaded playgrounds offer something for everyone – including benches for grown-ups. Bonus: The park surrounds Reevesland, the last operating dairy farm in Arlington.

Where: 601 N Manchester St., Arlington, VA
Online: parks.arlingtonva.us

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Tuckahoe Park

Surrounded by trees, the playground at this park is partially covered by a gigantic umbrella. The 12-acre space includes two ball fields, well-shaded nature trails and an amphitheater. Besides the playset, there’s also a 20-foot spider web-like ropes structure, a standup teeter-totter and other fun equipment.

Where: 2400 N Sycamore St., Arlington, VA
Online: parks.arlingtonva.us

Jessa L. via Yelp

Ashburn “Dinosaur” Park

So-called because of the theme of the playground – not because it’s a hot spot for finding fossils – this park offers lots of shade around the play structure and a covered pavilion. Four sets of equipment keep all ages happy, plus there’s a nature trail that leads to a creek.

Where: 43546 Partlow Rd., Ashburn, VA
Online: loudoun.gov

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Ratcliffe Park

Refinished a few months ago with all-new play equipment, this park has several playsets, a sandbox and swings to meet all ages’ requirements for fun. At the right time of day, the sun isn’t too bright over the play area, but the picnic pavilion is covered. The site also has a basketball court, Little League field and a big multipurpose field, complete with a hill that many youngsters love to roll down.

Where: 10300 Sager Ave., Fairfax, VA
Online: fairfaxva.gov

Maryland

Austin G. via Yelp

Watkins Regional Park

Approximately a 30 min. trip from downtown DC, this park is worth the drive. Once you arrive (note: there is ample parking), follow the yellow brick road (follow, follow, follow, follow) to a magical, Wizard of Oz-themed playground. Slide down Dorothy's ruby slippers and climb up Emerald City's castle. Due to the Insta-worthy play structures, this no-admission park can get crowded. If the park feels too peopley, head to Watkins Playground #2, a less coveted play space that has ample room to run around. There are plenty of trees for those wishing to duck out of the sun. 

Where: 301 Watkins Park Dr., Upper Marlboro, MD
Online: mncppc.org/Watkins-Regional-Park

Davies M. via Yelp

Wheaton Regional Park

OK, so the play structures at Adventure Playground aren’t the most shaded, but this park makes the cut because it has a covered carousel from 1915 and a replica 1863 C.P. Huntington engine train. Plus, you and the kids can cool off inside Brookside Nature Center, which has live reptile and mammal displays and a constant supply of programming. There’s even a fenced-in field for Fido, not to mention the Wheaton Indoor Tennis Facility, Wheaton Ice Arena and 50-acre Brookside Gardens.

Where: 2000 Shorefield Rd., Wheaton, MD
Online: montgomeryparks.org

Jessica A. via Yelp

Tire Playground at the Patapsco State Park Hilton Area

With tons of recycled tires to climb on, in, and through, what’s not to love?! Some of them are made into forts and other play structures. There is also a newer play structure that isn’t made out of recycled tires but does have climbing features and slides. There are swings (tire swings) and tons of picnic tables, benches, and pavilions in the vicinity. The playground is located at the Hilton Area of Patapsco State Park so there is a small entrance fee ($2 or $3 per adult. Kids in car seats or booster seats are free). The playground is well shaded and connects to hiking paths if you still have energy for a walk.

Where: 1101 Hilton Ave, Catonsville, MD
Online: dnr.maryland.gov

Becca H. via Yelp

Rockfield Creative

This sprawling wooden playground in Bel Air has a little something for everyone. There are tons of slides, tons of swings, climbing structures and walls everywhere. There is a separate tot lot area with play houses and other imaginative play touches, and there is a sandbox. There are plenty of benches and a pavilion located next to the playground for picnics. The playground is very well shaded.

501 E Churchville Rd., Bel Air, MD
Online: belairmd.org

C.W. via Yelp

Cabin John Regional Park

There are athletic fields, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, tai chi, ice skating at the enclosed Cabin John Ice Rink, and 8.8 miles of trails for hikers and bikers along a stream in this wooded location. Little ones will enjoy the tree-sheltered Adventure Playground for climbing and sliding, and the mini train that takes passengers on a 2-mile, 15-minute ride through the park.

Where: 7400 Tuckerman Ln., Bethesda, MD
Online: montgomeryparks.org

—Meghan Yudes Meyers, Guiomar Ochaoa, Stephanie Kanowitz and Ayren Jackson-Cannady

featured photo: Bruna-Saito via Pexels

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