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Best Parks in Tarrant County

There are a lot of parks in Tarrant County, each serving its own unique community and visitors. There are neighborhood parks, community parks, water parks, and even dog parks. Some of those parks are a step or two above the others, and can be considered among the “best” parks in Tarrant County.

Pedestrian bridge and canoe launch in River Legacy Parks.
2009-2011 Patricia Cook
View from the Walnt Creek Linear Park, one of the best parks in Tarrant County.
2010 Patricia Cook

My list of the best parks in Tarrant County contains those parks that give the most “bang for the buck,” the buck here being a visit. These are the places where you have plenty of space to move around and experience the things you go to parks for: nature, wildlife, exercise, play, picnicking.

So then, it’s on to the list, presented alphabetically by city.

Arlington

River Legacy Parks, 703 N.W. Green Oaks Blvd.

This park, classified as an urban park, is 1,300 acres of nature and wildlife (including a bobcat or two, more than 225 species of birds, snakes, and turtles), with an opportunity for play, exercise, and education thrown in.

There are plenty of places to have a picnic, a playground (undergoing renovations in 2012) off-road paths for hiking and mountain biking, paths for an easy nature stroll, and open space to just sit and relax.

One of the best parts of this park is the Living Science Center, which is home to the Acorns gift shop, and which is home to classes and programs.

Fort Worth

Gateway Park, 751 Beach St.

Like the other parks I’ve chosen as “best”, Gateway Park is large enough, at 635 acres, to really get away from the hustle and bustle of living in a big city, and to get a real experience of nature, with a lot of recreation options for visitors as well. There are plenty of places for picnics, with tables and grills tucked cozily into the trees off the road, as well as a pavilion for larger get-togethers.

The hike/bike trail is long enough to offer a good workout if that’s what you’re looking for, and it winds through trees and out in the open; playing fields are available for more organized play, and a playground allows the kids to play, too.

Gateway Park is home to Fort Woof Dog Park, which offers almost as many amenities to dogs as the park around it does for their humans. There are fixtures for the dogs to play with as well as training equipment, watering stations, and a pavilion for humans to relax in while the kiddies (you know you call them your kids!) play.

Grand Prairie

Lynn Creek Park, 5700 Lake Ridge Pkwy.

Lynn Creek is a 784-acre park that, like the others on this list, has a lot to offer visitors. Situated on Joe Pool Lake, it’s large, and because of its size, it’s the kind of place you can get “lost” in, forgetting you’re inside the city, only a short distance from the highway.

There are numerous picnic spots, a playground designed in a nautical theme which is good for adults as well as children (I had a fun time there myself one afternoon!), plenty of nature to enjoy, beach and lake access (with concession stand and changing house) if sunbathing and swimming are your thing, and boat ramps if you want to get out on the lake.

Mansfield

Walnut Creek Linear Park

I’ve listed Walnut Creek Linear Park as a best, mainly because of what this park gives visitors access to: five other parks in the City of Mansfield’s park system. The linear park connects to Katherine Rose Memorial Park, Town Park, Hardy Allmon Soccer Complex, James McKnight Park East, and James McKnight Park West, each of which has its own list of amenities to offer.

Along the 2-mile linear trail itself, you can do some bird watching, nature and wildlife viewing, or even have a picnic. Or, you can leave the trail at any—or all—of the connecting parks and take advantage of what they have to offer.

If you can only go to one park in your city, consider visiting one of these bests. You won’t be sorry!

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