Donegal has no shortage of things to do or places to see, ideal for planning days out with the kids. Here are some of the best outdoor places in Donegal to get active with kids and enjoy the best the county has to offer.
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From beaches to parks to forests, Donegal has it all! Head out with the kids to get some fresh air and pink cheeks, there’s plenty of fun places to go, here are some of our favourites:
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Best Outdoor Places in Donegal for Families
Oakfield Park is set in 100 acres of magnificent parkland, woodlands and gardens, it’s an ideal outdoor location for pleasant walks etc.
It opens each year in May and throughout summer months. Regular events and activities take place on the grounds throughout the year.
Letterkenny Town Park
Letterkenny Town Park is located at Hospital Roundabout and is laid out with a herb garden, flower beds, mature and new trees, an orchard area, playing areas, bowling green and lots of walks.
There are two separate playgrounds, one for toddlers and another for older children, and a Garden of Remembrance. Look out for the leaf-shaped gates at several entry points.
Buncrana Shore Path
Buncrana Shore Path is a traffic free walk which follows the shoreline of Lough Swilly between Buncrana and Stragill Strand. It is a gentle path passing quiet beaches, old forts and a number of sites of historic interest. Wildlife is abundant and the views in all directions are superb.
Gap Trail, Dungloe
The Gap Trail, Dungloe is 2 km outside Glenties. It has a purpose-built walking and cycling trail that follows the route of a former bogcutter’s railway and is a nice short excursion.
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Rossnowlagh Beach is a great spot to bring the bikes to, anytime of the year. With a 2 miles stretch of firm sandy beach to manoeuvre on – it’s a great spot for young rider to gain experience and freedom. It does get really busy on hot sunny days though!!
Some of our other favourite beaches in Donegal include Marble Hill, Pollan Beach and Five Fingers Strand.
Corravady Woods just ten minutes outside Letterkenny, with impressive views of Lough Swilly and the surrounding countryside has about 4km of forest track. There are lots of walkers who use the area.
Donegal Town Waterbus
Buy a ticket for the Donegal Town Waterbus in the little ticket office on Quay St, Donegal Town and cruise around Donegal Bay for 75mins in the 80ft long purpose built Waterbus, Dun Na nGall.
The tour includes a full commentary on the history and geography of Donegal Bay by the experienced and fully trained crew, combined with a sprinkling of Irish humour, which insures that passengers are kept both informed and entertained during the voyage.
Highlights on the tour include a close encounter with Seal Island and its 200 strong seal colony and unparalleled views of the Bluestack Mountains and the gorgeous Donegal coastline
Water Sports in Donegal
Body boarding, Surfing, Wave-ski, Kayak and Kite-surfing are all popular water sports in Donegal, with ample facilities for beginners and those wishing to hire equipment.
Kayakers and Canoeists will also feel at home, with miles of rivers and Lakelands to be explored. If you want to try an Adventure Centre, then Gartan Outdoor Centre near Letterkenny, and the Donegal Adventure Centre & Surf School in Bundoran, both offer equipment and activities for individuals, families and enthusiasts.
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Parks & Playgrounds
Most towns now have a playground area and you’ll find great open spaces in larger towns, Ballymacool Park and The Town Park in Letterkenny and Swan Park in Buncrana
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Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park has 16,968 hectares of mountains, bogs, lakes and forest with many beautiful walks.
Guided nature walks take place throughout the year and if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of the elusive Golden Eagles and Red deer, not guaranteed, but you could be the lucky one.
Guided tours of the castle and gardens take place during Summer months. Family activities are organised most weekends so check their website before you go.
Ards Forest Park
On the coast with lots of facilities for families, Ards Forest Park is one of Ireland’s finest forest parks.
At the Park you can enjoy many forest walks, a car park and a children’s play area. It also has many features of historical and archaeological interest.
The remains of four ringforts are to be seen in the park as well as a number of megalithic tombs – legend has it that these were the beds of Diarmuid and Grainne in their flight from Fionn Mac Cumhaill.
A Holy Well, the Ague Well, which is reputed to have curative powers, can be seen on Bealach na hArdaigh Walk. On the same walk there is a Mass Rock where Mass was celebrated in defiance of the Penal Laws.
There are numerous viewing points on the walks and trails with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Lots of options and great scenery, and plenty to see and do!
Have your say! Do you have any favourite outdoor places in Donegal to go with the kids? Tell us in the comments below.