young boy on a slide (toddler and baby playgrounds north of Boston)A playground visit with younger kiddos can be the perfect outing! But not all playgrounds are created equal, and when the structures are too large or the layout isn’t conducive to wandering toddlers, it can be stressful for mom. I’ve discovered so many wonderful playgrounds with my boys over the years while living in Lowell. Here are some of our favorite family parks and playgrounds — that are perfect for the baby and toddler years — in the cities and towns north of Boston.

Andover Center Playground :: Andover

Andover Center Playground is locally referred to as “Christmas tree park” because of the green rope climbing structure in the center of the playground that’s shaped like a tree! It’s a great spot for little ones because of the nature-themed objects — like acorns, logs, and woodland creatures — that are just the right size and height for climbing and playing on. There is also a small field right next to the playground, which is great for a picnic or for the kids who like to run around.

Ballardvale Playground :: Andover

Ballardvale Playground is cute and has a ton of ride-on toys and sandbox toys, making it a perfect meeting place for kids and parents — you don’t need to bring anything! The picnic tables here are covered, too, which makes it a good spot to have lunch or a snack.

Kohlrausch Playground :: Billerica

This will always be one of my favorite playgrounds because it’s cute, quiet, and fun! Kohlrausch is calm enough that my son with autism can find something to play with alone or with others. And the fire engine structure is a favorite space for little imaginations to run wild! This playground is fully enclosed and has multiple slides that are great for small children (no swings, though, so keep that in mind if that’s a must for you!). There is also a picnic pavilion and walking path nearby.

Kids Konnection :: Billerica

This is one of our favorites because it has a sandbox large enough for lots of kids to play together and separately. Plus, sandbox trucks and toys are also always available! Kids Konnection is large and features a number of play structures in various sizes — which means many ages and abilities can have fun here. This playground is laid out in a way that makes it easy to watch your kids play from various vantage points.

Bucchiere/Bristow Park :: Saugus

Bucchiere/Bristow Park is one of the brightest parks I’ve seen north of Boston — or maybe even in all of Massachusetts! There is a very large play structure here, but there are also many wonderful smaller spaces for little kids. It really is a great all-ages playground — I’ve even seen plenty of adults go down the big slides! There are also adaptive play areas plus workout stations for adults or teens who want to exercise outdoors.

Leland Park :: Woburn

All moms love parks with a good public restroom — and Leland Park has them! When I worked in Woburn, I would have my husband bring my son here so we could all play together before grabbing dinner out. There are play structures for kids of all ages, and you may catch a local baseball or street hockey game, depending on the season.

Spaulding Playground :: Wakefield

Spaulding Playground is one of the cutest I’ve seen, and it’s adaptive! There are swings that anyone can use, plus a rock wall and climbing structures that suit children with different sensory or tactile needs. During the week it’s a quiet playground and great for families like ours with different physical or social needs. I recommend this play area for summer parties if your child has friends of various abilities but wants everyone to have a good time!

Kidstown Playground :: Danvers (in Endicott Park)

Endicott Park is worth a visit for its nature center, pastoral views, historic farm buildings, orchards, woodlands, marshes, and a network of trails for exploring. The fenced-in Kidstown playground offers classic structures that are great for all ages. You’ll also find picnic areas here, plus community gardens, a pond, a disc golf course, a dog park, and a sensory trail. The parking fee at Endicott Park is $4. The park also includes Whipple Hill, which is perfect for sledding in the winter — it’s very cost-effective and a fun day with the family when the snow comes!

Mack Park :: Salem

Mack Park offers a lovely playground for small children, but my favorite area is the community garden right near the playground — anytime kids can see community agriculture in action is a win! The park also has basketball and baseball courts, and picnic tables if you’d like a seated place to have your lunch.

Dashanna Hanlon
Dashanna was born in Michigan and raised between there and Virginia. She moved to Massachusetts in 2011 after getting a bachelor’s degree in English and gender studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She married her favorite Massachusetts native (Tom) seven years ago. Together they have two sons, Lucas and Isaiah, born in 2018 and 2019. Becoming a parent ignited a passion for supporting others, and Dashanna became a doula before the birth of her second son. She is now the owner of Caring for Mamas, working with families all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She loves fresh-squeezed lemonade, good music, and helping and supporting families.


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