The 16 Best Playgrounds in Asheville for Toddlers
As a Mom of a very active toddler, I made it my mission to learn all of the best toddler playgrounds in Asheville very quickly. The city-run Asheville parks are great, and the area features some awesome things to do in Asheville with kids.
Moms know that there are features of a park that you might barely notice if you’re not coming to the park with a kid in tow, but which are absolute lifesavers. From the texture of the play area’s surface to the distance from the swings to the slide, these little things can help make a day at the park easier for little ones who aren’t yet confident climbers on their own.
That being said, I don’t think that the only great parks are the ones with stellar playgrounds. The littler children often get just as much from a wide-open grassy field for running, a bunch of weird rocks in a creek to pick up (and, let’s be honest, lick), and the chance to watch a bunch of cyclists on a bike path.
In my list below, I include parks and some other options because I think they offer toddlers and preschoolers a varied and interesting experience. I include some of the best parks in Asheville and give some of the reasons they work great, from a spot that is going to go over well with older kids and calm toddlers to a variety of excellent wooden Asheville playgrounds that are perfect for that toddling tot that needs there to be very few heights to fall from!
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The 16 Best Playgrounds in Asheville for Toddlers
1. Explore the Castle at Roy Pope Memorial Park
In the North Asheville adjacent town of Woodfin, there’s a great hidden gem of a park for toddlers. Roy Pope Memorial Park has two different play structures, both of which feature a lot of enclosed sections that allow small kids to explore without the worry of falling (a few sections still benefit from a nearby parent or caregiver as a spotter, though!).
An adorable dragon also is a favorite spot for climbing and hugging. This park in Asheville has a shelter for sitting down for a snack or meal and a cool covered sand pit, a favorite when playing on hot days.
There are infant and older child swings and lots of space to run around without any direct paths to a busy road. The fence gives peace of mind to parents and creates a boundary for toddlers with the zoomies.
Address: 45 Jonestown Road, Woodfin
2. Set Sail For Fun at Silverline Park
Silverline Park is also in Woodfin, on the French Broad River just up Riverside Drive from a section of the river known for its breweries and not far from the River Arts District. Opened in mid-2022, this brand-new park features a lot of fun items.
The centerpiece that makes this one of the best playgrounds in Asheville for toddlers is a large fake ship, complete with portholes, musical items to play with, a steering wheel to take the helm, and a slide. There are also a variety of abstract stone and concrete items for climbing and exploring, a cool multi-child swing, and a boardwalk through a swampy area that often has frogs and dragonflies.
There are shelters that are popular for birthdays and access to the river itself, as well as a walking path perfect for children who are just figuring out balance bikes and tricycles. While very sunny, the materials used at the park don’t tend to get super hot, which is nice. Do make sure to load up on sunscreen, though!
Address: 1050 Riverside Drive, Woodfin
3. Explore the Wooden Play Structure at Carrier Park
Carrier Park is a sprawling complex with a huge velodrome for cycling, a rink for roller skating, yard games, and so much more. It’s one of the most popular parks in Asheville because it offers plenty of activities for kids. Nestled inside the velodrome are a basketball court and a huge wooden playground.
The playground looks like a castle, with a lot of climbing towers and slides, as well as a ton of nooks and crannies to explore. Young children will love the two sets of swings, the big wooden fire truck and airplane, and lots of jungle gym equipment.
The challenge of this park is how far the parking lot is from the play structure. The walk is long with a tired baby, and there is a complex ramp and stairs to get over the velodrome and into the play area. It’s well worth it, but make sure you save a little energy or a tasty snack for the trip back to the car.
Address: 220 Amboy Road, Asheville
4. Tucker Your Toddler Out at Augusta Barnett Playground
This is a small playground, but it’s worth the trip if you have an active toddler. The play structure is simple and low to the ground despite being very unique and whimsical. The whole design reminds me of Dr. Seuss!
There is also a simple swing set, and the ground is the new style of squishy flooring that is both good at cushioning and solid, discouraging little ones who put every rock or mulch chip into their mouths.
There’s a fence for the majority of the park so that fast-moving toddlers can enjoy a run around without getting into an unsafe spot, and if they do slip out the entrance, the park is set back from Haywood Road substantially in a quiet residential block.
Only a few steps from the West Asheville Public Library, a trip to Augusta Barnett Playground offers a great morning for a parent of an active toddler.
Address: 28 Clinton Avenue, Asheville
5. Explore Lake Julian Park
For the South Asheville crowd, Lake Julian Park in Arden is one of the best for toddlers to explore and enjoy. With multiple trails and play areas, Lake Julian can be your go-to without it ever getting old.
One area, for example, has a huge sunshade over the play structure, which does get a bit high for toddlers but has good side rails to keep even the more toddling explorers safe. A cool feature is some low-to-the-ground music-making stations, where kids can hit metal bars like a xylophone or bang on drums, a perennial favorite that awakens a love of music too.
While the cargo net is rarely the top destination for little babies and toddlers, it’s a good feature for your older kiddos or preschoolers who are especially sure-footed. With a theme of being a pirate ship, the play structure quickly becomes a great source of imaginative play too, which toddlers will happily join in.
When your toddler is worn out, take a seat at a picnic table and watch the ducks on the beautiful water. It’s a really nice day out, overall, and it’s one of the great things to do in Asheville with kids.
Address: 37 Lake Julian Road, Arden
6. Explore the Waterways at Robert Lake Park
East of Asheville are a few different small mountain towns, including the charming retreat center at Montreat. Montreat is also home to Robert Lake Park, with a multiple-structure wooden playground and all kinds of fun wooded areas to explore.
The coolest part is the two creeks that converge, allowing children to look for frogs and other wildlife. It’s a great option when you’re deciding what to do in Asheville with kids since it’s just down the road to the east.
My child enjoyed the exploratory nature of the park since it isn’t all in an open field, and the fact that it’s quite wooded leads to a cooler spot than many summertime toddler playgrounds since it stays cooler. There are smaller swing sets, a wooden boat to play pretend, and various other Easter eggs tucked in and around the park.
Taking your time and letting your child lead the way is the best way to enjoy this part of Montreat, and across the road, walking around the lake at the conference center/college is also a great option if your little one needs a stroller ride to cool off after all the play.
Address: 317 Texas Road, Montreat
7. Enjoy Something For Everyone at Lake Louise Park
North of Asheville is the charming town of Weaverville, where the beautiful Lake Louise provides the perfect place to go for a waterside walk, watch the ducks, and visit the playground. The playground has sections that work well for babies and toddlers, though there is a tunnel up to a section that is too high and has a few drop-offs – parents of fearless tots will need to stick close by.
A favorite feature is on the swing set, where there are baby swings with an attached larger swing so caregivers or older children can swing while facing a baby or toddler. They love the interaction, and it’s fun for parents to get to swing a bit too.
There’s a whole separate area with outdoor workout equipment, so if you have a friend with you, you can trade off getting some workout time while the other adult chaperones. Large shelters complete this park, making it possible to take a snack break between all the exploring and fun.
Just over the road is a cool old waterwheel in a creek where kids can wade safely on warm days too!
Address: Lake Louise Drive, Weaverville
8. Have Fun with the Toddler-Tastic Features at Weaver Park
Both because it is in a convenient location and because it has so many options in a compact design, Weaver Park tops my personal list of the best toddler playgrounds in Asheville. The play structure isn’t anything fancy, and it does show its age in spots, but it succeeds for toddlers due to the multiple slides, low drop-offs to prevent dangerous falls, and toddler-friendly steps and angles that allow for lots of adventure.
There’s a big swing set, some bouncy animals to ride, and a big sandbox with some benches for parents. The centerpiece of the park is a baseball diamond and a basketball court, and a nice flat walking path circles them both.
Most days, you’ll find kids trying out trikes and scooters as they circle the park. There’s also a shelter and a creek for a little nature exploration. It’s simple but checks all the boxes for an Asheville park.
Address: 200 Murdock Ave, Asheville
9. Play in Nature at WNC Nature Center
The Western NC Nature Center is a small zoo full of native wildlife from the local area. It’s a particularly good spot to take toddlers since they tire out before you can walk around seeing dozens of animals anyway, and they love the wolves, bears, birds of prey, and foxes that are housed at the WNC Nature Center.
A simple footpath through the center is easy for toddlers to follow, and along the way, you’ll encounter various Nature Play sections, which is why I’m including it as one of the best playgrounds in Asheville for toddlers.
There’s an antique tractor to sit on, a puppet show area, a few different musical instruments to try, a spider-web climbing apparatus (most toddlers will need help to use this one), and so much more.
Explorers will see otters, turtles, and frogs, and frequently the nature center staff will have a touch-and-feel activity or a small craft on beautiful days. While not a playground per se, there is a very cool (and very fast!) slide by the otter exhibit that delighted my toddler a ton.
Address: 75 Gashes Creek Road, Asheville.
10. Be Adventurous at Leah Chiles Park
My toddler has always been a daredevil, so quite a few of the Asheville parks I’m including are not large or extensive – they’re just perfectly sized for keeping a toddler occupied for a little while without offering them challenges that will be too much.
While parking can be a challenge at Leah Chiles, it’s worth giving it a shot because this small and sweet playground has what a toddler needs: two cool slides, a little bit of climbing, and some good grassy areas for exploring.
I always like to know when a playground has the spongy rubber-mat flooring that this playground has since it cushions falls and also doesn’t get stuck in little kid shoes like sand and mulch does. Picnic tables complete a great spot for a snack and a drink before heading back over to play some more.
Address: 129 Lakewood Parkway, Asheville
11. Roam Free at Murphy-Oakley Park
This park is devoted to a variety of sports fields primarily, so it might be easy to miss the playground from the street, but when exploring the southeast part of the city, I noted that there was a park behind the library and thought it’d be worth checking out.
I’m glad I did! The sports fields and being set back from the busy road meant my toddler could run a little wild on our way down to the playground itself, and he found so much to explore. In the tradition of Weaver Park, the play structure itself doesn’t really have any spots that are excessively high, so instead of following my child around to keep him safe, I could just spot him from the ground.
The slides are still fun, and there was plenty of climbing for him to master, just not 15 feet up in the air. Swings and a big sandbox round out the space, which has a large covered picnic table area nearby that someone was using for a birthday party when I was there – it seems perfect for that use since the kids can so easily go play.
Address: 715 Fairview Road, Asheville
12. Play with Pups at Azalea Park
This large park on the east side of the city has a substantial playground with areas appropriate for toddlers. There’s a dog park, which makes it one of the best Asheville parks if you need to let your dog play as much as your toddler.
There’s a historic exhibit of the Thomas Wolfe Cabin, if you’ve got a homeschooling crew or just like to learn about history, and there’s fishing in the pond in this park. There’s riverfront access where people sometimes swim in the height of summer, but little ones can have fun throwing sticks into the water or looking for wildlife too.
Because there’s a pond on site where people can fish, there are occasionally fishing lessons offered, so look for that.
Address: 498 Azalea Road E, Asheville
13. Climb the Castle at Jake Rusher Park
Like Carrier Park, Jake Rusher Park features a castle-style wooden playscape full of twists and turns and lots of climbing and exploring. Parents will love that there aren’t many spots where little ones can unexpectedly fall, and kids will love the independence and freedom to venture out and find slides, rope bridges, and more.
My toddler goes wild for tire swings, so he loves that option at any park like this one, but there are also other swings for babies and older children. The park has many wide-open green spaces for children who just need to get some energy out.
I’d say this is one of the best toddler playgrounds in Asheville for those who have a few different-aged kids to please. It ranks high for safety for the little ones but high for fun for older kids too!
Address: 132 State Road 3174, Arden
14. Got Calm Tots? Venture to Tempie Avery Montford Center Playground
A great Asheville playground in all respects, the playground at Tempie Avery Montford Park is a modern and beautifully designed hillside playground. For my particular kid, it was too angled. It’s built in gently sloping terraces, and in spite of the squishy rubber-mat flooring, I just knew my kiddo would run too fast and fall.
Same goes for the very cool slide tower – while it has great views and is in most respects safe, I knew my little one wouldn’t be safe at his youngest ages for this one. For calm babies and tots and older preschoolers, this is a great playground.
There’s a very cool cargo net to climb around on and a wide swing that allows one or even two small ones to glide back and forth. A nifty set of climbing spaces completes the setup, and it’s all situated close to the Community Center, which offers interesting programming, and the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater, an outdoor theater where the Montford Players perform.
Address: 34 Pearson Drive, Asheville
15. Spend a Rainy Day at the Asheville Mall
While there are at least two indoor children’s play spaces in the Asheville area and a Children’s Museum in Hendersonville, one of the simplest toddler playground options on a rainy day is to head for the Asheville Mall.
The food court holds a play area that has squishy play structures, from a barn with a short slide to two large Thomas the Tank Engine characters. Running around and climbing helps children burn off energy that it’s too cold or wet to enjoy otherwise.
I tend to pair a trip to the mall for running and jumping with a stroller walk around since my toddler likes the people-watching and the many bright stores.
16. Bonus Option: Your Local Preschool
Not every Asheville resident or visitor has a great park close by, so a good option to look into is to check and see if the playground at a local preschool or church is open to the public when it isn’t being used for its primary purpose.
While some places will keep their Asheville playgrounds shut, others allow people to visit and enjoy them, and with toddlers, it can be a very simple playground and still be totally delightful. Getting creative is the name of the game when it comes to finding fun things to do in Asheville with kids!
While you’ll most likely find that your little one gravitates toward one or two parks that are the best combination of close to you, age-appropriate, and full of variety, it never hurts to branch out and take a trip to the other side of town. For those of you who are in town for a trip, no spot in town is too far from some kind of park or green space, and time in nature does wonders for little kids who are traveling!