Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
The Lehigh Valley Has a Park for Everyone
Do you enjoy a nature hike, a late afternoon stroll, or an old-fashioned Sunday picnic? When you have the grandkids for the weekend, do you need a place to let them run off some steam? Looking for a way to put some oomph in your exercise routine? Parks are a one-size fits all, you can exercise at your own pace, take a lunch break, or just sit. Some parks offer exercise stations and community pools, as well.
The Lehigh Valley is home to dozens of municipal parks that are free to residents. Some are active parks, some are better suited for passive activities. Many Lehigh Valley parks offer multiple amenities: playgrounds, picnic tables, grills, walking and bike paths, streams, and horseback riding trails. Read below to discover a park that will allow you to shake off cabin fever with activities that you and your family enjoy.
Catch a Splash of Sunshine, a Breath of Fresh Air, and a Summer Concert
If you want to have a bag lunch or just do some people watching, check out the following parks:
The Allentown Arts Park - One of the city’s newest additions, the Arts Park is a peaceful place to take in the green surroundings or enjoy your bag lunch. Throughout the summer, it hosts lunchtime concerts through the Lively Lunches in the Park series. The Park is located where the Arts Walk begins - connecting the Art Museum, Baum School of Art, Community Music School, Miller Symphony Hall, and Youth Education in the Arts (YEA), as well as restaurants and shops.
Municipal Park North - This northern section of Bethlehem’s Municipal Park has a pavilion, play equipment, volleyball court and horseshoe pit. The walking path through the wildflower meadow and along the pond, where various waterfowl live, provide a serene balance with the sports areas.
The Active Life
If you enjoy jogging, biking, fishing, canoeing or playing tennis, you may have a hard time choosing a park, so you may as well try them all.
Canal Park – Canal Park connects with the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (D&L Trail), a multi-use trail that runs 165 miles through Northeastern Pennsylvania into Lehigh and Bucks County. In partnership with Wildlands Conservancy, Canal Park hosts popular Bike & Boat trips from Canal Park to Sand Island in Bethlehem, which will take you on a peddling and paddling tour of the fascinating, historic Lehigh River. Located at East Walnut St. and South Albert St., Canal Park features a pavilion with two single grills available for rental, restrooms and a beautiful overlook of the Lehigh River.
Emmaus Community Park – All under a canopy of shade trees, the largest park in the Emmaus borough park system has playground equipment, a walking trail, swimming pool (in season) with a newly erected slide, baseball/softball fields, midget football in the fall, volleyball/basketball courts and a soccer field. Many community events are held in the covered picnic pavilions. The Emmaus Parks and Recreation Department hosts a summer concert series featuring a wide variety of music, from sing-along-classics to oldies to rhythm and blues.
Lehigh Parkway - With the Little Lehigh Creek running between walking paths and under the many lovely bridges, this park can make you feel like you are miles away from civilization, while it is actually accessible from Lehigh St., Cedar Crest and Hamilton Boulevards and I-78.
The Lehigh Parkway has a little something for everyone in a beautiful natural setting, with more than six miles of trails to explore. The Parkway is home to many 5K walks/runs. Amenities include trails, a bridle path, disc golf, fishing, and restrooms. Explore the Little Lehigh Fish Hatchery, Museum of Indian Culture, Little Lehigh Fly Shop and Bogert’s Bridge, among other points of interest. Try Lehigh Parkway’s www.lvdiscgolf.org.
Municipal Park - Municipal Park is Bethlehem Township’s community park, centrally located on Farmersville Rd. between Freemansburg Ave. and William Penn Highway. The main area of the Park has four lighted tennis courts, two lighted basketball courts, public restroom facilities, play equipment, one hardball field and one softball field. A one-mile paved fitness trail with exercise stations wraps around the perimeter. Picnic pavilions, volleyball courts and horseshoe pits are also available in this area.
Sand Island Park - Whether you are looking to play tennis competitively in a league or casually, for exercise and fun, or you want some lessons to fine-tune your game, Sand Island is the place for you. Offering lessons and leagues for all skill levels and ages, Sand Island is home to one of the few public Har-Tru (clay) tennis courts in the Lehigh Valley. For more information, go to bethlehem-pa.gov/parks/tennis.html.
Awesome Parks for Kids
From toddlers to teens and ages up to 100 or more, your kids and inner child will delight at how much fun awaits them at these parks.
The Bethlehem Skateplaza - This 23,000 square foot skate park is a paradise for skaters and bikers. Located in South Bethlehem across from the Sands Casino, the Bethlehem Skateplaza is open from sunup to sundown every day of the year, weather permitting. The “Za’” is a great place to host events, competitions, and classes for young skaters and bikers. bethlehem-pa.gov/parks/skateplaza.html
Bucky Boyle Park - This park is one the kids always get excited about. Bucky Boyle Park features a playground, spray park that is basically a small water park, baseball and football fields, basketball courts, restrooms and a pavilion available for rent. Located on N. Front Street (10 Pump Place).
Cedar Beach Park – A terrific park for families, exercise enthusiasts or nature enthusiasts. Featuring four lighted basketball courts, two beach and two hard volleyball courts, the 1,900-square foot accessible Destination Playground and the popular municipally-operated Cedar Pool, this scenic park offers activities for all ages and abilities. Cedar Beach Park hosts a range of programs, special events and festivals throughout the summer months.
Riverside Park - The park contains a large playground for children and has great areas for enjoying passive recreation. Home to a beautiful 586-seat, covered-stage amphitheater, Riverside Park is located just a short walk north of Scott Park, which offers stunning views of the Lehigh Dam and the many bridges that played vital roles in the transportation history of the city of Easton.
Sand Island Park – Located next to the Ice House, the Sand Island Park playground features both large and small play structures. There are bouncy animals for small children, plus a tire swing for bigger kids. Children will also find a bouncy bridge, climbing components and monkey bars. (Source: blogs.mcall.com/parents/2011/08/7-great-playgrounds.html)
Don’t forget that your fur-baby needs to run off steam, too! The Lehigh Valley is home to a growing number of off-leash dog parks, where four-legged friends can have a play-date with other dogs and run to their hearts’ content. See a list of Lehigh Valley dog parks at tinyurl.com/ha7shgo.
Recreational Programs and Events
In addition to beautiful, well-kept recreational grounds and facilities, area municipal parks also offer a wide variety of recreational programs and opportunities for residents for all ages, as well as exciting events for the entire family. If you’re in the mood for music, one of the Lehigh Valley’s local parks will have it.
For listings of local municipal parks see:
Lehigh County maintains many beautiful parks for relaxation and recreation as well.