If you’re looking for places to enjoy the great outdoors as a family, the area in and around Carmel has you covered. An abundance of parks, trails, preserves, and green spaces makes our area ideal for having fun outside. Crème de la Crème of Carmel put together this list of some of our favorite parks to get you started.
Strawtown Koteewi Park
“green grass field during sunset” used with permission via Unsplash by Steven Van Elk
You don’t have to travel far from Carmel to enjoy the largest park in Hamilton County. Strawtown Koteewi Park, located in Noblesville, sprawls more than 800 acres. Explore eight miles of multi-use trails, immerse yourself in rich biodiversity including woodlands, wetlands, and prairie, or look for the abundance of wildlife that calls this park home. The park also offers aerial adventure trails, fishing, archery, and so much more.
Carey Grove Park
Carey Grove Park is one Carmel park that has something for everyone. The playground, divided into sections for kids between 2 and 5 years old and kids between 5 and 12 years old, has tons of opportunities for climbing, swimming, sliding, and more. The playground even includes musical features to add a unique, educational component to the experience. Carey Grove Park also boasts outdoor workout equipment, not to mention a 0.25-mile walking trail and plenty of open green space to enjoy.
You can’t miss Central Park if you’re looking for awesome outdoor space in Carmel. The park spans 159 acres, encompassing more than 6 miles of trails that take you through native prairies, wetlands, and woodlands. Connect with nature with a family walk along the trails, or check out Monon Greenway running right through the center of Central Park. Searching for a place to go with your family pet? Central Dog Park, located within the Central Park North Campus, features areas for large and small pups.
Cherry Tree Park
Look no further than Cherry Tree Park if you’re seeking a quiet oasis close to home. This Carmel park boasts 13 acres of green space complete with large, mature trees. Perfect for a family game of frisbee or place to walk your dog, this neighborhood park offers yet another amazing option in our hometown.
Cool Creek Park
You’ll see why Cool Creek Park is one of the most popular parks in Hamilton County the moment you set foot inside. The 90-acre park features 4 miles of wooded trails, a nature play area, prairies, and more. It’s also home to the Cool Creek Nature Center, where you can explore the science of Indiana woodlands in depth.
Flowing Well Park
Flowing Well Park isn’t just an awesome park you can visit. It’s also a snapshot into local history. The 15-acre park on the east side of Carmel opened as CCPR’s first public park in 1994. The Artesian Well, discovered in the 1800s, is one highlight. You can also explore a mile-long nature trail, go fishing along Cool Creek, or look for wildflowers with the kiddos when the weather starts warming up in the spring.
Founders Park is another great option if you’re looking for various activities in one easy-to-access Carmel park. The 37-acre park includes sports fields, a playground area, and walking trails to keep every member of the family entertained. The nature-inspired playground boasts a huge sandbox, climbing and play structures, swings, and more. You’ll also find a pond, wetlands, and native prairie here. Pro-tip: Head to Wilfong Pavilion at the top of the park for a gorgeous view of the sunset.
Enjoy nature at Hazel Landing, a 41-acre park that has both open green space and picturesque wooded areas, not to mention access to the White River. This park is the place to go in Carmel for a day outdoors with loved ones. Grill lunch, then settle at a picnic table near the river. If you’re planning an active day, you can make use of the canoe/kayak launch for non-motorized water vessels in the White River. Prefer to say on land? The challenging 18-hole disc golf course through the wooded area takes your day outdoors to the next level.
No list of outdoor spaces in Carmel would be complete without Monon Greenway. The Monon Trail, an asphalt trail stretching from Westfield to downtown Indianapolis, includes Carmel’s Monon Greenway. These 5 miles of the trail run from 146th Street to 96th Street. The Greenway replaced the old railroad the once ran through Carmel, today treating the community to wooded areas and the ideal spot for outdoor exercise. The Monon Greenway is also designed as a pet-friendly trail, so you can find dog waste areas with trash bags as well as water fountains just for pets along the way.
Prairie Meadow Park
Prairie Meadow Park may be small, but it still offers a unique experience for Carmel residents. Over three-quarters of the 5-acre space is native prairie, making it the place to go to immerse yourself in this kind of nature. You’ll also find a 0.25-mile trail wrapping around the park along with a few walking trails through the native prairie if you’re looking for a place for a family walk. Plenty of creatures call this prairie area home too, including butterflies, hummingbirds, and praying mantises.
River Heritage Park
A 40-acre park chock full of opportunities for outdoor fun, River Heritage Park is another amazing place to go right here in Carmel. Take a relaxing walk through nature with the kids or watch them play on the sprawling playground, which includes slides, swings, and accessible play features. The park also includes sand volleyball courts. If you’re looking for some peaceful time out in nature, you can’t go wrong by walking through the wooded area to the White River.
Vera J. Hinshaw Preserve
The Vera J. Hinshaw Preserve offers the ultimate escape for nature lovers in Carmel. These 9.8 acres form an undeveloped nature preserve. You’ll find it east of the Monon Greenway, just to the north of the Monon South Trailhead. With several mature black cherry, hickory, oak, and walnut trees, the preserve is sure to delight kiddos interested in the natural world.
That wraps up Crème de la Crème of Carmel’s top 12 parks close to home. The area in and around Carmel has so many awesome parks, we couldn’t list them all! Do you have another favorite we didn’t include? Let us know which park you want added to this list.