We have an impressive park system within St. Johns County. There are over 120 different parks, state forests and conservation areas in our area. Best of all, most of them are free for our community and visitors to enjoy. Senior writer Leah Noel gathered up her little ones and checked them out to bring you the ultimate list of outdoor public playgrounds in St. Johns County. In order to qualify for this list, the park needed to have multiple opportunities for recreation, play areas for all ages, space to enjoy natural Florida, and, most importantly, a playground. This list includes city parks and St. Johns County parks. Click on your zip code to find our favorites close to you!
Project SWING Park (Francis Field and Ketterlinus Gym Community Center)
This park has two large playgrounds, a picnic pavilion, tennis courts, swings, basketball courts, and an events field. This is the largest playground in our county and is located directly behind the parking garage in downtown St. Augustine. Members of the community built this park for the enjoyment of visitors and residents to the city. St. Francis field adjoins this park, where many of our most popular festivals are held. There are more swings at this park than any other in St. Johns County.
Davenport Park (also known as Carousel Park)
This is a handicapped accessible playground with picnic tables, a teeter totter, climbing bars, and swings. The main public library shares a parking lot. The park remains open after sunset, unlike most other parks in our area. These are the best swings in the city, and the playground is designed so that all children can play no matter their level of mobility. This is the park that once housed a privately owned antique carousel. After the owners death, the carousel was moved to Port Charlotte per his last wishes.
Eddie Vickers Park (also known as Little Links) and The Willie Galimore Community Center and Community Pool
This park is a lovely hidden gem in Lincolnville. It includes a basketball court, a paved walking path, a baseball diamond, a community garden, a community center, a community pool run by YMCA, and a covered picnic area. The playground is shaded under a canopy of oak trees. The paved path around the fields is perfect for a stroller.
Collier-Blocker-Puryear Park (formerly Calvin Peete Recreation Complex)
This park includes a community center, a picnic pavilion, a playground, a softball field, historic archway, restrooms, and tennis courts. Little ones who love firetrucks will be delighted because the fire station is directly across the road from the playground. My older boys love this play structure because it has multiple types of climbing bars. The park is exposed to the sun, so be sure to save this playground for cooler days or early mornings.
North Beach Park
There are BBQ grills, beach access, ample parking, a picnic pavilion, a playground, restrooms, showers, and a pedestrian bridge. This playground is fun for toddlers. My older boys preferred to head straight to the ocean on the pedestrian overpass. The walkway over A1A has been a love lock bridge in the past, but city officials removed these tokens of love, sighting safety concerns. I was delighted to discover that there were still locks on the bridge when we visited.
North Shores Park
Just over the Vilano bridge, this community park is a favorite for locals. It has a community center, a playground, swings, a dog park, tennis courts, a picnic pavilion, and a baseball field. The playground is small but shaded, with a breeze from the ocean that keeps it comfortable on hot days. The entire park is charming, reflecting the style of the beautiful beach community around it.
Ron Parker Park
Minutes from the ocean is this park dedicated to a St. Augustine Beach deputy marshal killed in the line of duty. It has a picnic area, a dog park, a baseball field, basketball courts, tennis courts, a large playground, swings, a community garden, and paddle tennis. There are two separate play structures, one for kids 2-5 and another for children 5-12. The park is not fenced and the play structure for older children is exposed to the sun.
St. Augustine Splash Park at the Pier
On a hot Summer day, this is the best park in our county. The splash park is perfect for toddlers and the nearby snack shop is great for grabbing a quick bite to eat after a fun day at the ocean. There is beach access (no handicapped accessible areas), bocce ball courts, a covered pavilion, fishing, showers, lighted volleyball courts, a playground, a gift/snack shop, and a visitors center. Visit the farmers market every Wednesday from 8a.m. to 12p.m. and attend the free concerts during the summer on Wednesday nights. Parking is always difficult during peak season so be sure to get there early if you want a spot.
Joel A. “Bubba” Williams Park aka Windswept Acres Park
A quiet park in Butler Beach where the cool ocean breeze keeps the playground cool during hot Summer mornings and evenings. This park has a picnic pavilion, a playground, swings, a paved nature trail, cement climbing structures, a historic cottage, and restrooms. There is no shade for the playground or the swings at this park. This location is a part of the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway because of the Windswept Acres cottages that once sat at this location.
Canopy Shores Park
This park has a shaded 1.5 mile paved loop trail for walking, biking, dog walking, and bird watching. The playground reflects the environment, and is built to look like a tree house. There is a restroom and a covered picnic pavilion perfect for parties. The trail includes many exercise stations and benches along the paved pathway. The park closes at dusk. There is a foot path that connects the park to the Riverview club, making this very convenient for residents
This park is a favorite for locals! It includes a dog park, a skate park, basketball courts, racquetball courts, a handicap accessible playground, picnic pavilions, tennis courts, paddle tennis & pickleball courts, 2 multipurpose fields, 4 softball fields, and trails. The skate park at Treaty has a 9 1/2 foot pool, 1/2 pipes and a “little dudes” area for the less experienced skaters. The playground includes two swings for those individuals who need additional physical support. There is a fishing pier, a canoe trail, and multiple benches around a 3-acre lake. The trail around the perimeter of the park is just under one mile long, making it ideal for jogging or biking.
Vaill Point Park
This park is immersed in natural beauty. There is a picnic pavilion, a playground, nature trails, a fishing dock, and bathrooms. There are two play structures at this park and a climbing wall. The paved path is uneven at times but smooth enough for a stroller, a jog or a bike ride.
This is an enormous park with recreational possibilities for everyone. There are 6 baseball fields, 4 softball fields, 3 football fields, 4 soccer fields, a turf field, a playground, 2 dog parks, and restrooms. We come to this playground when we visit Nocatee preserve for hiking, biking and bird watching. The dog parks include a small pond and a washing station. The small dogs have an area that is just as large as the space for the big dogs. Your pet will appreciate this park almost as much as your kids.
Nocatee Community Park
One of the newest parks in our county, this recreational area has been designed for beauty and function. There are 9 Multipurpose fields, a picnic pavilion and concession center, a playground, restrooms, tennis courts, recreational trails, and a dog park. The playground is fenced with a section for toddlers and another play area for older children. Swings and chairs sit between the play structures making it easy to watch all your children no matter the age difference. This park is shaded and the restrooms are exceptional.
In my estimation, this is the most beautifully designed park in St. Johns County. My artistic inclinations are delighted in this homage to natural Florida. Here you will find picnic areas, a playground, a paved trail, an outdoor amphitheater, a boardwalk, and a hedge maze in the shape of a sea turtle. The playground at this park is tiny. There are no slides or swings, but my older children were happy with the climbing structure and my youngest found the cement creatures pleasant enough for unstructured play. The firehouse and the public library are neighbors to this park. As the name implies, bird watching is plentiful.
Deleon Shores Park
Only the locals know about this park tucked into a community at the northernmost edge of Ponte Vedra Beach. This park has a small skate park and two basketball courts, perfect for older kids. It also includes a tennis court, a pavilion, a multipurpose field, and a dog park.
Alpine Groves Park
Alpine Groves was once a citrus farm on the St. Johns River. Three historic structures from the farm remain at the park and the playground has been designed to educate children on the agricultural importance of this area. This park is perfect for wildlife viewing and is a part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. This passive riverfront park has a picnic pavilion, a fishing pier, and a paved nature trail.
Julington Creek Plantation Park
The new climbing structure at this park is an enormous hit with my monkeys. The fields here are well maintained and the sidewalks around the fields are useful for runners and walkers. There is a football field, a multipurpose field, swings, an artificial turf field, restrooms, and a picnic pavilion.
Even if you aren’t playing baseball, this is a perfect stop. There are 2 softball fields, 8 baseball fields, 4 lighted tennis courts, 2 softball fields, two playgrounds, picnic pavilions, and restrooms. The playgrounds were fun for my little ones and there are many shaded spots for a picnic.
This park honors veterans with memorial monuments to each branch of the military. There are multipurpose fields, basketball courts, a playground, a skate park, and a dog park. The playground is fun for all ages but keep a close eye on the toddlers as they cross what we have affectionately named “the bridge of doom.” The small pond next to the playground is ideal for the older kids to rollerblade and run around while the younger kids play. The fields are full during soccer season and the playground can get crowded so plan accordingly.
The pirate playground is my daughter’s favorite park. She can climb into an octopus’ mouth, slide down the back of a dolphin, and climb through a treasure chest. My older children create dramatic adventures, incorporating the pirate ships into their play. There are 8 swings at this park, plus two tire swings. There is also a multipurpose field, 3 baseball fields, a large picnic pavilion, a basketball court, and a dock.
Trout Creek Community Center & Park
This is a hidden treasure in the World Golf Village area. The natural beauty of mature oak trees and trout creek make this park a respite from busy life. There is a community center, a nature trail, fishing areas, a kayak and boat launch, and a picnic pavilion. This playground is brand new and has fabulous slides and a really fun swing! The community center is covered for hot summer days and the nature trails are an adventure for little naturalists.
This park has two picnic pavilions, a shaded playground, a lighted basketball court, a multiuse field, access to a paved trail, and restrooms. This is a trailhead for the Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail. The paved, multiuse path is ideal for jogging, walking, skating, or biking. The climbing structure at the park is sure to keep kids busy as you load and unload bikes for a fun family excursion.
Al Wilke Park
This new shaded playground includes a small plastic climbing structure for toddlers, spinning chairs, climbing walls, a tandem swing, a "mommy and me" swing, multiple slides, and a bench for mom. The air-conditioned public library is across the street to provide respite from the heat if necessary. This park also includes a a community center, a multipurpose field, a baseball field, tennis courts, a gymnasium, basketball courts, a weight room, and a picnic area.
W.E. Harris Community Center
The W.E. Harris community center and park includes a large playground, swings, a multi-use field, a new gymnasium, meeting rooms, outdoor basketball courts, a computer lab, a library, and a weight room.
LEAH NOELSenior Writer
Leah was born in the Wild West of California and raised in the beautiful bluegrass of Kentucky. She fell in love with the magic of St Augustine and moved here as a newlywed. She lives with four untamable children, a menagerie of animals and a loving husband. Leah spends most of her time trying to wrangle small beasts as they explore the world, tell her they don’t want what’s for dinner and complain about wearing shoes. Her favorite things are seeing the spark of discovery in little eyes and being creative. Leah loves to help and has a tender heart. She rarely meets someone she doesn’t like. Don’t be afraid to say hello if you see her out and about.