Exploring the Best Parks in the Upstate of South Carolina

Falls Park in Greenville, Sc

Picture Credit: JJ Fowler (@vanzeppelinaerial)

South Carolina’s Upstate region is a treasure trove of natural beauty, offering residents and visitors an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. Whether you’re an avid runner, a casual picnicker, or someone who simply enjoys the great outdoors, the Upstate’s parks have something for everyone.

Take a look at some of the most beloved parks and their highlights!

Falls Park on the Reedy

Located in the heart of downtown Greenville, Falls Park on the Reedy is a beautiful urban oasis. This park has played a significant role in the revitalization of Greenville’s downtown area and is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.

Liberty Bridge

The Liberty Bridge is a 345-foot-long pedestrian suspension bridge that offers stunning views of the Reedy River and the park’s waterfalls. The bridge is an architectural marvel and a popular spot for photography.

Gardens and Green Spaces

Falls Park features meticulously maintained gardens and green spaces, providing a peaceful retreat in the middle of the city. The park’s flowerbeds and landscaped areas are perfect for leisurely strolls or picnics.

Community Events

Throughout the year, Falls Park hosts a variety of community events, including outdoor concerts, art shows, and festivals. The park’s amphitheater is a popular venue for performances and community gatherings.

Unity Park

Unity Park is one of Greenville’s newest and most ambitious green spaces, designed to promote community engagement and celebrate the city’s rich history. Opened in 2022, Unity Park has quickly become a beloved destination for residents and visitors alike.

Playgrounds and Splash Pad

The park features state-of-the-art playgrounds designed for children of all ages, including an inclusive playground for children with disabilities. The splash pad is a major attraction during the warmer months, offering a fun and refreshing way for kids to cool off.

Reedy River Wetlands

Unity Park has restored significant portions of the Reedy River wetlands, creating a natural habitat for wildlife and an educational experience for visitors. Boardwalks and observation areas allow guests to explore the wetlands and learn about the importance of conservation.

Walking and Biking Trails

The park offers extensive walking and biking trails that connect to the larger Swamp Rabbit Trail network. These paths provide scenic routes for exercise and exploration, making it easy to enjoy the park’s natural beauty.

Community Spaces

Unity Park includes several community spaces, such as pavilions and open lawns, that are perfect for picnics, gatherings, and events.

Conestee Park

Conestee Park, adjacent to Lake Conestee Nature Preserve, is a favorite spot for families and nature lovers in Greenville. This park offers a variety of recreational activities and access to the preserve’s extensive trail network.

Sports Facilities

Conestee Park features several sports fields, including baseball and softball diamonds, making it a hub for local sports leagues and recreational play. The park also has a large playground area that is popular with children.

Dog Park

One of the highlights of Conestee Park is its spacious dog park, which provides separate areas for large and small dogs. It’s a great place for pet owners to let their dogs run and play off-leash.

Picnic Areas

The park has numerous picnic tables and shelters, making it an ideal spot for family gatherings and community events. The lush surroundings and proximity to nature trails make it a peaceful place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Runway Park at GMU
Picture Credit: https://www.greenvilledowntownairport.com/runway-park

Runway Park at GMU

Runway Park at Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) offers a unique recreational experience. This aviation-themed park is perfect for families, especially those with an interest in airplanes.

Aviation-Themed Playground

The playground at Runway Park is designed to resemble an airport, complete with a control tower, runway markings, and airplane structures. It’s a fun and educational play area for children.

Walking Paths and Observation Areas

The park includes walking paths that run alongside the airport’s runway, providing a fascinating view of planes taking off and landing. Observation areas are equipped with educational displays about aviation.

Picnic Facilities

With its picnic tables and open green spaces, Runway Park is a great spot for a family picnic. The unique setting makes it a memorable place to spend an afternoon. Their onsite cafe is a great place to enjoy a delicious meal and watch airplanes come and go.

Southside Park

Located in Simpsonville, Southside Park is a versatile park that offers a range of activities and facilities, making it a popular destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

Discovery Island Waterpark

One of the main attractions at Southside Park is Discovery Island Waterpark, which features water slides, a lazy river, and a wave pool. It’s a perfect spot to cool off during the hot summer months.

Sports Fields and Courts

The park includes several sports fields and courts, catering to soccer, basketball, pickleball, and tennis. It’s a bustling hub for local sports and recreational activities.

Playgrounds and Picnic Areas

With multiple playgrounds and well-shaded picnic areas, Southside Park is a family-friendly destination. The park’s pavilions can be reserved for birthday parties and other gatherings.

Walking Trails

The park’s walking trails offer a peaceful setting for a stroll or a jog. The trails wind through wooded areas, providing a scenic escape within the park.

Cleveland Park

Cleveland Park, located near downtown Greenville, is one of the city’s largest and most popular parks. It offers a mix of natural beauty and recreational facilities, making it a great destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

Greenville Zoo

One of the key attractions in Cleveland Park is the Greenville Zoo, home to a variety of animals from around the world. It’s a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Playgrounds and Picnic Areas

The park features several playgrounds, picnic shelters, and open spaces perfect for family outings. The well-maintained areas are ideal for children to play and for families to gather.

Walking and Biking Trails

Cleveland Park has an extensive network of trails that connect to the larger Swamp Rabbit Trail, providing scenic routes for walking, jogging, and cycling. The trails offer beautiful views of the Reedy River and surrounding greenery.

Legacy Park

Legacy Park in Greenville’s Verdae neighborhood is designed with a nod to traditional English gardens. It’s a peaceful and beautifully landscaped park that offers a tranquil retreat for visitors.

Walking Paths and Green Spaces

The park features winding walking paths that meander through meticulously maintained green spaces and gardens. It’s an ideal place for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful afternoon picnic.

Water Features

Legacy Park includes several water features, such as ponds and fountains, which add to its serene atmosphere. The calming presence of water enhances the park’s relaxing environment.

Family-Friendly Areas

With open lawns and playgrounds, Legacy Park is also a family-friendly destination. The wide-open spaces are perfect for children to run and play.

Picture Credit: https://darrohnengineering.com/project/mini-golf-course-mcpherson-park

McPherson Park

As Greenville’s oldest park (established in 1884!), McPherson Park offers a blend of historical charm and modern amenities. It’s a small but well-loved park that provides a variety of activities.

Miniature Golf

One of the unique features of McPherson Park is its free miniature golf course, which is a hit with both kids and adults. It’s a fun and low-cost activity for families.

Tennis Courts

The park includes several tennis courts, catering to both casual players and more serious tennis enthusiasts. The well-maintained courts are a popular spot for local players.

Picnic and Relaxation Areas

McPherson Park has numerous picnic tables and shaded areas, making it a great place for a quiet lunch or an afternoon of relaxation. The park’s historical features add to its charm and appeal.

The Upstate of South Carolina is a haven for nature lovers, offering a diverse array of parks that cater to every outdoor interest. From the urban charm of Falls Park on the Reedy to the community-centric Unity Park, each park has its unique attractions and activities.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, exploring these parks is a fantastic way to experience the natural beauty and outdoor adventures that the Upstate has to offer. So pack your hiking boots, grab your adventure loving pup, or simply prepare a picnic, and discover the wonders of the Upstate’s parks!