Toddler Hikes for Spring
Explore My Top 3 Local Hiking Spots for Families
Published on March 19, 2021
by Mrs. Farnham (teacher, mom, CMoR member)
Spring is near and we are itching to get outside to burn off some energy. In an effort to keep distance from others (something my toddler is still working on!), my family has done a lot of exploring. Sometimes we stay in our neighborhood and play walking games. These same walking games are a great way to pass the time on a hike together. Here is a read aloud of a great book, Jonathan and His Mommy by Irene Smalls, for ideas on how to play these games anywhere.
Other times, we explore nearby parks for a change of scenery. Our “hikes” may resemble ambling walks, but we always find interesting things to see. The places highlighted below have easy parking, require limited walking to access nature, and are fun for the whole family. Here are my 3 favorite places for toddlers that we have visited recently.
Dutch Gap is a sprawling natural area is next to Henricus Historical Park and a power plant. The main trail into the natural area is wide and has many offshoots like the one pictured where you can walk closer to the water. You do not have to hike far to get some nice views, picnic spots, and glimpses of wildlife. If you go about a mile into the main loop, you get great views of the James over a wide walking bridge.
Three Lakes Park has a large playground with multiple play areas. The playground has a natural climbing wall, large playsets, and a toddler area. When you venture to the lakes, you can see the water by just walking to the deck by the nature center. If you feel like exploring more, there are many loops around the lakes. The paths are wide and there is little elevation. We always see interesting birds and turtles here.
Tuckahoe Creek Park is a small park that consists of an elevated walkway over the wetlands of the creek. The walkway was recently extended and offers beautiful views. A benefit of this park is that my kids can run ahead with little danger. Since the walkway is fenced, I don’t have to worry about them falling in or going too far. There is also a ramp to a floating platform for fishing in the middle of the hike. We have seen many different kinds of birds, fish, turtles, and even otters at this park.
Nature at CMoR
If you are looking for a fun place to explore with your little one, try the Backyard Exhibit at the Downtown CMoR location. It is a safe, fenced outdoor space for kids of all ages. There are multiple playhouses, musical instruments, and vehicles for kids to explore. My toddler spends most of our museum time here trying all of the different activities.