Family walks are a great way to get out with the kids whether you are looking for a short stroll with a toddler or an adventure with an older child. There are so many beautiful places to walk around Mayo from wooded trails to beaches so you are sure to find something to suit you. Have fun spotting wildlife, feeding ducks, collecting leaves/acorns/shells or bring a picnic. Here are a 9 suggestions for fun family walks in Mayo. Make sure to remember the snacks, drinks, camera and weather gear.
#1. Tóchar Daithí Bán Trail
A great family walk is the Tóchar Daithí Bán Trail in Ballycroy National Park, which is a lovely nature walk about 2 km long. Start close to the front door of the new Visitor Centre for Ballycroy National Park and finish up at the Tearoom which enjoys beautiful views of Achill Island.
The trail is named after mythical giant Daithí Bán who built a fortress on Ballycroy National Park’s tallest mountain, Corslieve and regularly walked down to the sea using the three islands between Ballycroy and Doohooma Head as stepping stones.
On the trail is The Dipping Pond which is a great location for spotting dragonflies and damselflies and a viewing point where you have breathtaking views of sea and mountains as you look across the Nephin Beg mountain range and over to Achill Island.
#2. Cong Woods
In the picturesque village of Cong lies Cong Woods. The lovely 2km walk has an entrance beside the ruins of Cong Abbey, plenty of lovely benches to rest tired little legs and lots of places to feed the ducks.
#3. Belleek Woods
Belleek Woods, near Ballina is a great family friendly walk situated along the banks of the river Moy. It is one of the largest urban forests in Europe with 200 acres of woodlands and trees up to 300 years old. The tree-canpoied walk has lots of natural forest pathways which are great for little adventures with the children.
Keep a look out for some woodland animals such as squirrels, badgers, foxes and rabbits. There are also many historical features to be seen along the trail, including a hermitage and an ice house. There is a newly restored picnic area where you can relax and watch the boats on the river. And don’t forget to bring some bread to feed the ducks and swans!
#4. Croagh Patrick
The holy mountain of Croagh Patrick in Westport is an ancient site of pilgrimage with breathtaking views over Clew Bay. This is a great family hike for older children and worth a trip even if you only get as far as the base with toddlers.
#5. Clare Lake Loop Walk
The Clare Lake Loop Walk, Claremorris is a fantastic place to bring kids. It is a wonderful recreational park near Claremorris. Less than 3km long, it has a tree canopied path with lots of berries to pick, a lovely picnic area, benches to rest tired feet, 2 bridges to cross and lots of ducks to feed. Enjoy spotting the various species of wild birds to be found there and pop in to the playground at the entrance.
#6. The Great Western Greenway
The Great Western Greenway between Newport and Mulranny is the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland. Meandering along the old Newport-Mulranny railway, this 18km traffic-free route is well mapped and signed with no steep hills so perfect for a family day out.
#7. Lough Lannagh
The new walk around Lough Lannagh in Castlebar is perfect for a family walk. Take a leisurely stroll around one side of the lake,feed the ducks and a rather impressive family of swans!
Take a detour up through Lannagh Holiday village into the playground and astroturf football/basketball pitch or continue your walk across the beautiful new bridge right around the lake.
#8. Other Wooded Walks we like
Other family walks we like are Moore Hall Woods on the shores of Lough Carra, Drummin Woods between Foxford and Pontoon and Tourmakeady Woods with its beautiful waterfall.
#9. Beach Walks in Mayo
Mayo has some of the best Beaches in Ireland, 11 of which have Blue Flags. Bertra Beach has a sandy front beach which is used for swimming and angling, and a quiet back beach, ideal for making a round trip walk. The two are separated by protected sand dunes. The walk takes about an hour and is best done when the tide is out. The very pretty Old Head Beach, about 10 miles from Westport, is a delightful curving sandy beach with a picturesque stone pier and during the summer months, cruising and fishing boats at anchor. Croagh Patrick forms an impressive backdrop.
Article written by Leon, mum of 4, from Mayo
Do you have a favourite place to walk with the family in Mayo? Share it with us in the comments below.