No matter what season it is, kids love a good playground. The Indy With Kids crew has spent more than a decade exploring the best parks and playing on the best playgrounds. We’ve put together a list of the 10 Best Carmel Parks and Playgrounds!
With over 500 acres of parks and greenways, plenty of outdoor fun can be found at Carmel Parks. Pack a picnic and maybe a change of clothes; you’re sure to find something for everybody in your family.
10 Best Carmel Parks and Playgrounds
920 Central Park Dr W, Carmel
Bring the whole family out to play on the futuristic design of this playground. Kids of all abilities will have plenty of features to enjoy, with ramps giving access to the higher activities. This playground also offers more than 25,000 square feet of play space including several tall climbing structures, slides, rock climbing walls, a large splash pad, musical activities, a picnic shelter, and a few cave-like areas, perfect for reading a book or playing hide and seek. Westermeier Commons playground also has a mess-free, mud-free playground surface, making it a great option even after it has rained. The trails of Central Park wind through Westermeier Commons and lead you around the pond, through the woods, and to the Monon Trail.
Cool Creek Park and Nature Center
2000 E 151st St, Carmel
The big kid section and the toddler section of the playground are separated with a nice picnic shelter in the middle of the two playgrounds, providing a 360-degree view of all play spaces. With this layout, you can see every section of the park from the picnic shelter! This layout is great for caregivers because it allows the little kids to play separately from the bigger kids and avoid getting trampled, or getting onto equipment that is too advanced for them! They even have the baby swings and the big kid swings separate for easy access on either side of the park! Cool Creek Park and Nature Center also offers one of the best places to go hiking and creek stomping.
11675 Hazel Dell Pkwy, Carmel
A change of clothes is a must for this super fun playground unless you like sand all over your car. The famous feature of this Carmel playground is the giant sandbox. Bring your own sand toys, but be prepared to share because not everyone has access to this helpful tip. You’ll find nature-inspired swings, climbing and play structures, and so much more. This 37-acre park also offers a large shelter, restroom facility, open sports fields, walking trails, and more.
Carey Grove Park
14001 Carey Rd, Carmel
Have you seen the upgrades to this beloved neighborhood park? The new playground features a couple of different play areas for different age groups. Kids can create beautiful music throughout the playground when they bang on the permanent instruments. Parents, wear your workout gear because they’ve also installed permanent outdoor ellipticals and exercise bikes so you can “ride” while you keep an eye on your kids. Updates also include year-round bathrooms, parking lot updates, resurfaced trails, a basketball court, and a community and seasonal shelter.
Lawrence W. Inlow Park
6310 E Main St, Carmel
This park is huge! With separate playgrounds scattered throughout the park featuring lots of options for the kids, this place might require multiple trips back. Little ones will be thrilled at the first area with great features perfect for their size and abilities. Head to the back of the park and the massive climbing structures will make your big kids feel like they’re walking in the clouds. There is also a huge splash pad where kids can cool off in the summer. Pack a picnic and plan to spend the day at Inlow Park.
450 Meadow Ln, Carmel
Meadowlark Park features nature trails, a basketball court, pickleball courts, and a pond, but for families with small children, the innovative, nature-inspired playground is the main event. The playground’s three different play structures are all thoughtfully designed to accommodate different age ranges. Throughout the park are sets of swings for every ability. There is an option for all kids, regardless of age or physical ability. If you’re interested in fishing, bring the fishing poles. The pond is annually stocked with catfish, sunfish, and trout and this is a great place to go fishing in Carmel. The park is also very close to the Monon Trail so you can hop on and head down to Midtown Plaza Carmel for a bite to eat!
2700 W 116th St, Carmel
As one of the largest parks in Carmel, West Park is a favorite for many. Explore the 120 acres of the park which includes paved trails, unpaved trails through the woods, a fishing pond, two levels of the main playground, a nature adventure playground, a splash pad, a sledding hill, a picnic shelter and restrooms, and lots of open space for sports.
In the summer, the kids will enjoy playing in the wonderful splash pad and kicking a ball around the giant open grassy area that’s also great for flying a kite. During the snowy months, the huge sledding hill will provide hours of winter fun. The paved, gradual incline helps make hauling the sleds up the hill a lot easier for everyone. On the west side of West Park is the Jill Perelman Pavilion and the adventure playground in the woods. The kids will love working on their parkour skills, climbing the wooden and rope play structure, and the zipline! For the littles, this playground has wooden riding toys (including a scooper to dig and dump the wood chip mulch).
River Heritage Park
11813 River Rd, Carmel
This is certainly a hidden gem in Carmel and it’s never very crowded. This fun park has an enormous playground that includes handicap-accessible play features, slides, swing sets, and more. It’s guaranteed to keep kids busy for a long time. My kids love running up and down the ripple of hills just behind the playground and digging in the huge sandbox. Restrooms and a shelter are available if needed. Need a break from the playground? Follow the path through the wooded area that leads to the White River.
12575 River Rd, Carmel
Prather Park, formerly River Road Park, is on the east side of Carmel. Learn about Native American life hundreds of years ago. You’ll learn while you play when you visit the newly developed archeological-themed playground. The kids will have so much fun they won’t even realize they’re learning! Enjoy paved trails, lots of green space, wetlands, and prairies. There are soccer and baseball fields for recreational use and a canoe launch on the banks of the White River.
11677 Towne Rd, Carmel
This modern, 125-acre park includes the elegant Centerpiece, twin 90-foot bell towers, a recreation lake, and Children’s Garden which features “village stores,” echo walls, peek-a-boo hills, a sundial, and lots of sand for digging and playing in. Campbell Crossing, which is connected to the Centerpiece and surrounded by water on two sides, serves as a serene location for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. Coxhall Gardens is not your traditional playground with swings and monkey bars, but kids love letting their imaginations run wild as they play at the miniature storefronts, run the rainbow path, fly kites in the open fields, and picnic on the island. Stroll the gardens, take part in the educational programming, learn about nature and gardening, and listen for the Carillon bells.
Pack some snacks and plan your next visit to the incredible playgrounds in Carmel parks; any one of these playgrounds will provide hours of entertainment for the little and big kid in all of us. Let us know which are your favorites and take us along in your journey. Use #PLAYIndy on social media so we can follow along!