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  • Writer's pictureThe West End Mom

Summer Parks: Where can We find Shade?

Updated: May 30, 2021

With social distancing still a necessity and cabin fever at an all time high, we've been visiting parks a lot recently! Summer is now in full effect, and we all need to find some shady spots to explore.

Here is a round up of some local parks with great shade (in no particular order):

1. Deep Run Park: This 165 acre park is at the corner of Gaskins Road and Ridgefield Parkway. Deep Run has a pond, 3.4 miles of trails, three separate playgrounds, picnic shelters, bathrooms, a basketball court, soccer fields, and multiple open spaces.

This park has a lot of shade! The two main playgrounds (by the first parking lot & by the soccer fields) have a lot of tree coverage. All of the trails, except the ones around the soccer fields & around the lake, are in full shade. The trail around the lake have partial shade. The soccer field and the toddler playground across from the rec center are in full sun. Check out my reviews on the first playground, the largest playground, and the trails.

The best shade is found at the two larger playgrounds and on the walking trails in the woods.

2. Cheswick Park: Henrico’s oldest park often goes unnoticed with its almost hidden entrance. Located across from Henrico Doctors Hospital, it has a playground, bathrooms, picnic shelters, open spaces to run, a stream to splash in, and a mile of walking trails.

The best shade is found on the walking trails, by the stream and by the picnic shelters. The playground has a little bit of tree coverage, but for the most part it is in the sun.

3. Springfield Park: This neighborhood park is located next to Springfield Park Elementary School. There is a picnic shelter, bathrooms, swings, and a playground. There is also a paved trail that loops around the park and the elementary school.

The playground has almost complete shade, even in the afternoons! This playground is great for younger kids with its ramps & smaller slides. The trail only has shade near the playground, and then it is in full sun.

4. Crump Park: Crump Park has a massive playground, picnic shelters, trails, large open fields, a fishing pond, and historic Meadow Farm. Meadow Farm is an 1860 living history farm site & museum, plus it has animals, too! As a bonus, RF&P Park is located inside Crump.

The best shade is found at the playground and on the walking trails in the woods. This playground is great for all ages and the tree coverage is similar to Deep Run's! There's lots of shade around the perimeter with sunny spots in the middle. Meadow Farm has direct sun other than a few trees that provide shade. RF&P Park has direct sun except for the picnic shelter by the football field.

5. Echo Lake Park: Located off Nuckols and Springfield, Echo Lake Park has a lake, nature trails, two playgrounds, a picnic shelter, and bathrooms. There's also lots of open space for children to play.

The playgrounds are completely in the shade, and the nature trails are mostly in the shade. The decks overlooking the lake are in full sun.

6. Westwood Park: This Henrico Park is nestled in a neighborhood close to Willow Lawn and St. Mary's Hospital. It's located at the corner of Morningside Drive & Keystone Drive (5906 Keystone Rd). There is a toddler-friendly playground, swings, and open space to play. There's also a soccer goal. There isn't a bathroom, but it's very close to lots of places with bathrooms (Willow Lawn and the Regency area).

The playground and swings are almost completely in the shade!

7. Mid-Lothian Mines Park: Located in Chesterfield, this 44 acre park offers paved walking trails, a tunnel, wildlife, a lake and bridges. What makes this park so unique is that it is where the first commercially mined coal came from in 1701. Throughout the park, there are signs explaining the cut stone ruins, coal mining and U.S. industrial revolution.

The best shade is the paved path in the forest on the other side from the lake. There isn't a playground.

8. Larus Park: This is an 100 acre park in the city of Richmond by the Chesterfield County line. The trails are perfect for families and all of them are in the shade. Hikers will see couple of streams, lots of wildlife, a tunnel, and a massive rock. This park only has exercise trail - it doesn’t have a playground, parking lot or bathrooms either!

Almost every portion of the trail is in the shade.

9. Robious Landing Park: This is a 102 acre park in Midlothian, just 20 minutes from the West End. Located on the James River, the 3.4 miles of trails provide views of the river, wildlife and forest. Since it’s on the river, there’s easy access to the river for boating & fishing. It also has a playground, picnic shelters & a sand volleyball court.

The trails are almost completely in the shade. The playground has very little tree coverage.

These parks have very little shade:

  1. Short Pump Park: Everything is in the full sun, but there is a picnic shelter. There are a lot of play spaces, including two playgrounds, a dog park, a splash pad, walking trails, football field, and more.

  2. Twin Hickory Park: Everything is in the full sun, but there is a picnic shelter.

  3. Meadow Farms: The historic farm has very little shade. You can check out the turkeys and chickens under the shade of some trees.

  4. RF&P Park: Everything is in the full sun, but there is a picnic shelter near the football field. There is not a playground at this park.

  5. Westhampton Green: This neighborhood park has a fenced in play area (519 Libbie Ave, Richmond, VA 23226). The open space, the playgrounds and swings are all in the sun.

  6. Glover Park: All of the open space and athletic fields are in the full sun.

  7. Park 365: Formerly known as ArcPark, this fenced in play area has very little shade.


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