There’s no better way to soak up the sun– or relax in the shade– than at a park in the summertime. Lexington residents have quite the lineup to pick from, with parks both big and small each possessing its own charm and community amenities. Here’s a guide to a few of the top contenders.

Jacobson Park

4001 Athens Boonesboro Road

Right by Richmond Road, 200-plus-acre Jacobson Park is never lacking in things to do. In the warmer months, you can take advantage of the kayaks and pedal boats available for rent and enjoy some time out on the water; if you prefer to stay near the water rather than in it, then you might take the opportunity for a weekend fishing session. Besides being great for picnics and featuring space for both the volleyball and basketball lovers among us, Jacobson Park boasts a dog park and various seasonal festivities (such as the haunted houses during Fright Nights in the fall, or the free movies at Friday Flicks each June.)

Veterans Park

650 Southpoint Drive

One of the biggest attractions at Veterans Park is its assortment of hiking and mountain biking trails– some long enough that they cross over into Jessamine County. An afternoon walk through these trails will net you a lovely view of the park’s stream, although you may be perfectly content to stick with the paved trail or have a leisurely picnic at one of the park’s shelters. Here’s some information on the trails if you’re planning to take a visit, as different paths involve different lengths and levels of difficulty.

Douglass Park

726 Georgetown Street

Over a century old, Douglass Park features everything from walking trails to basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts– as well as the Dirt Bowl basketball league and other organized sport teams. There’s also a pool and a recently-added accessible playground. What’s especially helpful in the summer (besides the sizable pool, of course) is the sprayground. Like many of Lexington’s parks, Douglass’ amenities were made with accessibility in mind, so that everyone can enjoy a trip to the park on a bright summer day.

Castlewood Park

201 Castlewood Drive

To many young kids, the best part of any park is its playground. Castlewood’s playground isn’t just fun and accessible, however; it’s complemented by the park’s impressive aquatic center that both children and adults can enjoy. Castlewood also benefits from its scenic location around the 19th-century, Gothic Revival-style beauty that is the Loudoun House. Tennis, basketball, and baseball enthusiasts will rejoice when it comes to the park’s athletic amenities, too. And if all that’s not enough, Castlewood hosts the Northside Nights concert series for music lovers.

Idle Hour Park

212 St Ann Drive

Baseball, T-ball, and football all call Idle Hour Park home, making it a familiar haunt for several youth sports leagues in the area. There’s a plethora of picturesque greenery, as well as a creek (and you can learn more on the Idle Hour neighborhood website about helping preserve it by tackling invasive plant growth.) Idle Hour Park is also home to the Lexington Senior Center, which provides a range of physical activities for its visitors like yoga and dance classes.