Looking to get some fresh air? Here are our top 5 favorite local parks for recreation


Peter Ackerman/TNS

Hannah McDonnell, Contributing Writer

Sometimes it is a great idea to get out of the house and just go for a walk or relieve some of the stresses of life. A good way to do this is by going to a nearby park and enjoying the beautiful nature of Wilmington. Here is a short list of parks in New Hanover county that are perfect for experiencing the beauty of nature. Other parks can be found using this link: https://parks.nhcgov.com/park-information/locations/


Long Leaf Park

Located right near UNC Wilmington’s campus, Long Leaf Park is one of the largest parks in New Hanover county. Not only is the park itself big, but there is also a ton of fun stuff here, including baseball fields, a splash pad, a dog park and so much more. With so many amenities, it is an extremely popular park and the perfect place to meet some new people. However, Long Leaf Park also has a trail away from all the chatter. This trail is a little more than a mile long and can be reserved for marathons and simple walks.


Smith Creek Park

Smith Creek Park is located a little further out from campus but for anyone trying to escape from life for a little while, this is the perfect place. This park includes a mile-long paved trail surrounding a large pond where people can go kayaking or fishing. Branching out from the paved trail are dirt trails stretching about a mile. Other amenities include a playground and a picnic shelter. 


Airlie Gardens

In order to get into this park, there is an admission fee but it is highly worth it. For adults 13 years and older, it costs $9 but for New Hanover residents and military personnel, it is only $5. Airlie Gardens is full of rich history and environmental educational programs. People can learn about the history behind Wilmington and how to better preserve that history. Other aspects of this park include sculptures made by local residents, ten acres of freshwater lakes, the 400 68-year-old Airlie oak trees and plenty of walking trails.


Olsen Park

Olsen Park provides more athletic amenities rather than hiking amenities and is a little further away from campus. However, this is a great place to get away from the city and relieve some stress. This park holds five softball/baseball fields, a large field to practice soccer or lacrosse on and a volleyball court along with a playground and picnic shelters. People can even bring their dogs to this park, as long as they are kept on a leash.


Blue Clay Park

Blue Clay Park houses the most extensive bike trail in New Hanover County with approximately eight miles of trails throughout. This is the perfect place for cyclists, whether they are beginners or advanced. Located right near campus, Blue Clay Park is mostly used by cyclists but also accommodates to every skill level of hikers and runners.