DC’s summer is here in full effect, which can make chasing your little on the playground a sweaty endeavor. Hit one of these DC-area playgrounds where you can count on some trees or well placed umbrellas to beat the heat on a hot day. Scroll down for the best playgrounds offering plenty of shade in the DMV. Just to be safe, don’t forget the sunblock!
In the City
This playground has it all: a toddler play area for the littles, a massive climb-on structure that is possibly the largest piece of playground equipment in DC (!), cabin-like structures, a water spray pad and more. There are mature trees surrounding this play area and the toddler area is completely shaded (perfect for these dog days of summer!). If your little wants to cool off without getting sprayed, there is also a water table.
Where: 5900 33rd St. NW, Upper Chevy Chase
Westminster City Park Playground
This playground was revamped in 2017 so it’s all the rage! There is a seated zipline, tons of swings, smaller play structures for younger kids, balance pads, and a modern version of spinning play apparatus where 5 or 6 kids can see how fast they can twirl before getting dizzy so beward if you have a child that suffers from motion sickness! The entire playground is shaded and very enjoyable.
11 Longwell Avenue, Westminster, MD
Beauvoir Outdoor Playground
Sometimes kids just need to run around and play and zipline…in the middle of a metropolitan city! When that happens, take them to this private school playground. Open to the public when the Beauvoir School is closed (typically after 6 pm weekdays and on weekends), this playground was designed with the idea that outdoor play is as imperative to children’s development as anything else. You’ll find formations and spaces for kids of all ages, including swings, climbing structures, wooden bridges and even a super fun zipline.
Where: 3500 Woodley Rd., NW
This playground is partially shaded; there are umbrella structures for those looking to take a break from the sun's rays. But the real draw here is the spray pad that sits next to the play structures. Need to cool off? Let the wee ones run through the spray fountains. Bonus: the area is gates so they cool off without escaping! The playground itself lots of things to climb, like ropes, walls and monkey bars. Older kids will enjoy the near-by skate park.
Insider tip: This small parking lot fills up fast, so get here early. Or park on Reno Road and enjoy a short walk along a trail.
Where: 5200 Sherier Place NW, Palisades
East Potomac Park
The fact that this park is nestled between the Washington Channel and the Potomac River gives its already shady playground an extra air of breeziness. After the kids run themselves hungry, stop by the picnic area for grub and a gorgeous view of the city. Bonus: Newish play equipment is set up on rubber mat surfacing (read: perfect for strollers and not-yet-steady-on-their-feet toddlers).
Where: Hains Pt. & Ohio Dr. SW
Located near Dupont Circle, Stead Park is composed of a playground, basketball courts, a multi-use playing field, picnic areas, splash park, performance stage and indoor recreation facilities. Both the spray park and the jungle gyms are shaded so you don’t have to catch too many rays in summer.
Where: 1625 P St. NW
Girard Street Park
Girard is a small urban park featuring a playground & splash fountain, a basketball court & game tables. It has two shaded areas for relief from the heat!
Where: 1450 Girard St NW, Washington, DC
Established in 1918, this park offers more than a good slide. While the kids play, knock out some grocery shopping at the farmers’ market here (Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m. through October). There are also bike and walking trails, a baseball diamond, tennis courts – where some famous players of the past got their start, we might add – and, of course, a play structure.
Where: 26th St. & O St. NW
Friendship "Turtle" Park
Reopened last summer after a massive renovation project, the park has a spray pad and separate areas for tots and younger children, in addition to a huge sand pit with decent shade.
Where: 45th St. & Van Ness St. NW
Play in a place of history because this park is one of 17 original federal appropriations the government purchased in 1792. It was also part of the L’Enfant design plan for Washington and has been known as Garfield Park since the late 19th century. Although much of the playground equipment is in the sun, there are plenty of big trees to take a break under.
Where: 800 3rd St. SE
Burke Lake Parks
This 888-acre park has it all: mini golf, an ice cream parlor, boat rentals, an ice cream parlor, a 4.7-mile flat trail, a mini train, an ice cream parlor, a carousel, several playsets situated among the trees to keep them cool and shaded – and did we mention an ice cream parlor? Check the website for details on events such as the Full Moon Boat Tour ($6, July 26 at 8:30 p.m.) for ages 6 and up and Campfire Saturdays: Stargazing ($6, 8:30 p.m.) for ages 3 and up.
Where: 7315 Ox Rd., Fairfax Station, VA