Five Best Parks for a Play Date In Scottsdale

As temperatures in Scottsdale start to drop below triple digits on a regular basis, parents and kids are anxious to move play dates outside. Here's a rundown of some favorite spots for a family-friendly time in the great outdoors.

5. Cactus Park - This 17 acre park in the heart of Scottsdale is a great place to take the kids. Two shaded play structures and restroom access make this park a convenient option. There's also a pool, fitness center equipped with weights and a cardio room, a lighted sand volleyball court and basketball court.

4. Horizon Dog Park - Sitting on 24 acres, this park is not just for dogs, despite its name. The park is located in a great area of North Scottsdale with plenty of shopping and dining options nearby if you want to grab a bite or run some errands after playing. In addition to a community center, the park features four lighted softball fields, three basketball courts, two playgrounds geared toward different skill levels, five sand volleyball courts, two lighted tennis courts and restroom access.

3. Grayhawk Park - This 13 acre park is right next door to El Dorado Private School and features two large open space areas, a playground and restroom access. It also boasts baseball fields, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts and soccer fields. With so many sporting fields, it can get busy on weekends, so visit on weekday mornings to beat the crowds.

2. Rio Montaña Park - This 7 acre park is located right next door to a fire station. If you're lucky, the firemen may have time to welcome the kids and give a tour of the firehouse. Even if they're busy fighting fires, there is plenty to enjoy at this neighborhood park, including lighted basketball, tennis and sand volleyball courts. The park also offers seven drop-in ramadas for enjoying a picnic lunch. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, access to the Lost Dog Trailhead, part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, is adjacent to the wash.

1. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park - No round up of great parks in Scottsdale would be complete without this beautiful 30-acre park. It has the requisite playground and restroom access, but it also features train rides, a carousel, a model railroad building, shops and a museum. With nine reservable ramadas and a drop-in area with 30 tables, this park is popular for birthday parties and other group events. While there is no admission for the park itself, tickets to ride the train are $2 each for children aged three and above. Children under the age of 13 are always free in the Historical Railroad Exhibit. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is open 363 days per year, only closing on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

With so many fun and mostly free parks to enjoy during temperate Arizona winters, it's easy to see why Scottsdale claims the title of "Most Livable City."

Janet Berry-Johnson has called Scottsdale home for two years. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a freelance writer, regularly contributing to Scottsdale Moms Blog.