Visiting town and need something to do? Looking for a break from routine? Babysitting rowdy children? A plethora of free outdoor Greenville parks will meet your needs, many within five miles of BJU.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of parks to choose from (driving distances and times measured from campus):
315 Twin Lake Road
.8 miles – 4 min.
This roughly eight-acre park offers a variety of activities, featuring two newly resurfaced tennis courts, a new playground, and a lighted softball field—also used as a small soccer field. But what makes this park stand out is not only its distance from campus (a 13-minute walk if you don’t have a car) but also its nine-hole disc golf course. And that’s not all. In the middle of the park, a giant oak tree with thick, low branches creates a canopied play area.
There are also restrooms, a picnic shelter and a paved half-mile track.
121 Oxford St.
1.6 miles – 6 min.
If you like your space, Timmons Park is the perfect Greenville park for you. Spanning 26.6 acres, the park features attractions for all ages—a medium-sized playground in one corner, swings and a rentable shelter in another and a small lighted baseball field at the far end.
Along its perimeter, Timmons also has an 18-hole disc golf course and an easy 1.5-mile loop for mountain biking.
The park’s newest addition is six lighted pickleball courts (previously two tennis courts). If you’ve never played, just ask Siri for the rules and grab your own paddles and balls. The city has installed a ball bin that will soon be available, and it will add a fence between the back-to-back courts.
New restrooms are between the baseball field and pickleball courts.
126 Beverly Road
2.2 miles – 8 min.
Herdklotz Park was built after the Hopewell Sanatorium—known for treating patients with tuberculosis—burned down on the site about 20 years ago. The park was named after former county councilman Dick Herdklotz, who was a BJU alumnus and faculty member.
From the two impressive playground structures to two soccer fields, Herdklotz welcomes children and adults alike. A half-mile paved walking trail surrounds the 17-acre complex near Paris Mountain.
Guests can also enjoy sand volleyball before lunching in one of two reservable picnic shelters—one small, one large. Restrooms are conveniently located by the playgrounds.
120 E. Park Ave.
2.7 miles – 7 min.
Greenville’s oldest city park boasts two tennis courts, two playgrounds—one down the paved trail to the left—and a rentable bandstand. But the real highlight is the new 18-hole mini golf course, and it’s free! However, you have to provide putters and balls. Don’t have a putter? Keep it cheap at your local thrift store.
The 12.5-acre park also features the Sears Recreation Center and several bridges over the small creek.
21 Airport Road Ext.
2.9 miles – 9 min.
What could be more fun for kids (and possibly adults too) than a free park right by an airport runway? The Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) has a 1.38-acre wheelchair-accessible park that puts a creative twist on playgrounds.
After entering the fenced area through 15 feet of Boeing 737 fuselage, a painted runway leads to a small playground, a larger playground and a small (immobile) metal biplane for climbing. Kids can also romp on the green space.
Along with a few picnic benches in the grass, the park has a reservable picnic hangar (shelter) next to an elevated Cessna 310. Restrooms are located nearby.
This park is perfect for kids interested in aviation. Along the park’s perimeter taxiway, 17 signs educate them on aircraft parts, aviation jobs, air traffic control and more.
Because the park is next to an airport, there are a few rules that do not usually apply to parks, so be sure to check those out.
Designated parking is in the unpaved lot to the right of the park. Once the Greenville Airport Commission receives enough public funding, the parking lot will be paved, and a mini golf course might be added as well.
If you get hungry but forgot the snacks, Runway Cafe next door serves lunch every day and is sometimes open in the evenings.
- Sides: $1–3
- Child entrees: $4
- Adult entrees: $7–10
Cleveland Park Drive & East Washington Street
3.1 miles – 8 min
Located along the Reedy River, the park’s 122 acres offers residents and visitors many ways to add to their downtown experience.
Cleveland Park has a sand volleyball court, a softball field, playgrounds, rentable picnic shelters and green space. Six lighted tennis courts were recently resurfaced.
In addition to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, the park also has several of its own trails. The paved fitness trail even has 16 workout stations along it.
The redesigned Major Rudolf Anderson Jr. Memorial commemorates a native Greenvillian who was the only man killed by enemy fire during the 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis. Although Anderson flew a U-2 spy plane during his last mission, the memorial features an F-86 Saber jet, a type of airplane he had also flown. The memorial teaches about both Anderson’s life and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The park also includes the Greenville County Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, Rock Quarry Garden and the Greenville Zoo.
601 S. Main St.
3.3 miles – 9 min.
A list of Greenville parks would not be complete without the one central to downtown’s revitalization. Falls Park draws attention to Main Street and highlights the falls with 32 beautiful acres. Paths wind among flowers, rocks and green space. Pedestrians can amble there, cross Liberty Bridge or stop at swinging benches. A reminder of Greenville’s history, mill ruins also scatter the park.
Cancer Survivors Park
52 Cleveland St.
3.5 miles – 9 min.
Cancer Survivors Park is along the Swamp Rabbit Trail between Falls Park and Cleveland Park. Here those affected by cancer have a serene place for reflection among benches, gardens and a boardwalk.
Although anyone can enjoy the 6.8-acre park, survivor events, fundraisers, educational programs and healing arts activities carry out the park’s mission to help cancer survivors. Since the park opened in June 2018, these types of events have taken place in the Celebration of Hope Pavilion and the Center for Hope and Healing.
Future plans for the park include a survivor bell and a butterfly garden. New or improved entrances will connect this park to its adjoining parks and Church Street.
24 Evelyn Ave.
3.9 miles – 11 min.
This park by Gower Estates is a hub for activity with two lighted softball fields, five tennis courts, two basketball courts, a nine-hole disc golf course and a horseshoe pit. The park attracts kids with its two playgrounds—the new large one with a low zip line—and a climbable M60 Army tank. Five reservable picnic shelters are great for lunch or celebrations, and a long track surrounds the park’s 21 acres.
Unity Park (Future)
40 Mayberry St.
4.2 miles – 10 min.
If you will be around Greenville for the next few years, the first phase of Unity Park should be completed in 2021. Work is already underway on this project that will further revitalize downtown Greenville and unite the community. The 60 acres just west of downtown will have a gathering hall, green space, a water feature and the SYNNEX Share the Magic Playground. Plans also include wetland restoration, the new Welborn Square and the pedestrian Auro Bridge. However, the park’s main attraction will undoubtedly be the 10-story lighted observation tower.
336 Rocky Slope Road
4.8 miles – 14 min.
Designed to be Greenville’s “Central Park,” Legacy Park provides 20 acres of open space for suburban residents. A rentable stone shelter with grills and restrooms, two playgrounds, sand volleyball and sloped green space draw anyone into the park. Bench swings, paved paths and a pond make this spot an aesthetic getaway—perfect for relaxing or taking pictures.
Lake Conestee Nature Park
601 Fork Shoals Road
8 miles – 17 min.
This park is more than five miles from campus, but it is too intriguing not to include. Six miles of dirt trails, six miles of paved trails, boardwalks and bog walks weave through wetlands and wildlife along three miles of the Reedy River. Your visit is free unless you have a group of 10 or more—then it costs $5 and requires prior approval. Remember to leave the water alone and be out of the park by sunset.
The park has also been home to the Korean War Veterans’ Memorial since 2013.
Conestee Park is next to the nature park and features a playground, a large pavilion and baseball and softball fields.