Allegheny County Parks Summer Bucket List

Happy Summer! Summer is a time for relaxation, adventure and making memories. Whether you are looking for sports, peace and quiet, or community, there are plenty of engaging ways to spend time in the parks this summer. That’s why we have created this list of the 9 things we recommend you take the time to enjoy in your county parks this summer!

Boyce Park Meadows-24

1. Stop, breathe and meditate! Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and is known for its ability to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned meditator, we recommend you commit some time this summer to actively focus on your breath, let go of your thoughts and find presence in the park nature that surrounds you. Not sure where to start? Check out REI’s resources for meditating outside or try a walking meditation.

Try: A perfect spot for either type of meditation is the Waterfall Trail area in Settlers Cabin Park, where you will be afforded the peaceful sounds of the waterfall while you connect and breathe.

Deutschtown Goes to Hartwood Summer Concert 2022

2. Find community with others. Parks are more than just green spaces; they are also gathering places and help to provide opportunities for belonging and connection. There are ample ways that you can find connection in a park including attending an event, enjoying Allegheny County programming, joining a group, volunteering, or simply by starting a conversation with someone you don’t yet know.

Try: One great place in the parks to meet others is at the dog park, like the open-leash dog area in White Oak Park.

3. Play a game! There is a game for everyone to play in the parks. There are soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, adaptive basketball courts and cricket fields for sport lovers. There are bocce courts, horseshoe pits and chess boards for social game players. There are golf courses and even a disc-golf course for those who love a long game. If you love riddles, you could try geocaching in the parks, or if you want to play with a lot of friends you could rent a pavilion and bring your own games.

Try: If you like more extreme sports, then look no further than Boyce Park’s 3 B’s Action Park (Boards, Bikes and Blades). Even if you don’t feel equipped to participate it is always fun to be a spectator too!

Hartwood Sunrise

4. Stop to enjoy a sunrise, sunset or go stargazing. Summer is the best time to look up and enjoy our beautiful sky. There are also numerous mental health benefits to connecting deeper with the sun including better moods and stronger immune systems, so it will be well worth the time spent looking up.

Try: We recommend heading to the park at dusk to enjoy the sunset and then stay for the stars. If you want to look deep into the night sky you should check out the Wagman Observatory in Deer Lakes Park, which offers free monthly opportunities to stargaze with experts.

5. Learn about the cool things that exist in your parks! There are lots of neat places where you can learn more about your parks. There are classes at the nature centers and programming opportunities with the Park Rangers. There are also lots of educational signs posted throughout the park. A fun challenge is to plan a walk or bike ride and stop at all the different interpretive signs to take in their knowledge along the way.

Try: A great place to go and learn more about the flora and fauna of one of our parks is by visiting the Environmental Learning Center in Harrison Hills Park. All summer, on Sundays from 1:00-3:00 pm, the center will be open for visitors!

Paint in the Park

6. Get artistic in the parks! You can bring your painting, drawing or art supplies with you to a park to better capture your favorite park spot on a canvas and bring its beauty home with you. If you are more interested in photography, bring a camera and see what you can find through your lens.

Try: If you need a little inspiration, then try a self-guided tour or walking tour at the Sculpture Garden in Hartwood Acres Park.

7. Support a local business! Local businesses are the backbone of communities and contribute to the vitality of our parks. They provide jobs, unique products and services, and contribute to the local economy. By choosing to shop, dine and attend events locally in our parks, you can make a difference in your community and support the businesses that make it special. There are all kinds of awesome businesses in or around your parks that you can support when you go to visit.

Try: One example of a business contributing to the vitality of our parks is our presenting sponsor from this year’s Park ’til Dark and Pour at the Park in South Park, the Flora Park Garden Center. Flora Park provides a great selection of trees, shrubs an plants for sale. Check out their website to see when they have food trucks, live music and other family-oriented activities to plan your perfect garden center visit.

Round Hill Splash Park

8. Cool off with water! Summer is the best time to enjoy water activities. Whether you are swimming, kayaking, splashing in a spray park, fishing, or lounging in a cool spot near one of the county’s 23 creeks, water will help you to cool down this summer.

Try: A great spot for kids to play in the water for free is at the spray park in Round Hill Park. Children can cool off from the summer heat while playing with farm animal shaped water features.

9.  Get your hands dirty by volunteering. One way you can give back to your parks is by donating some of your time. An easy place to start is by simply taking a small bag with you to pick up any trash you see when you are out in the parks. There are also regular opportunities to volunteer in your parks with litter pick-ups and tree plantings. A little goes a long way and can help you feel a deeper sense of connection to nature, while having a surprising amount of benefits to your mental and physical health.

Try: A great spot in the parks that needs consistent volunteers is Latodami Nature Center in North Park. Latodami hosts recurring drop-in times for volunteers to come and help sustain their 250 acres.

We wish you the best summer exploring your parks, seeing new things and finding the peace and adventure you need to help bring joy to your life! If you enjoy these types of activities then be sure and save the date to hang out with us on October 14th in North Park when we host the next Park ’til Dark!