Galway offers lots of opportunities to get outdoors with the family. Here are some of our favourite outdoor places in Galway where you can get active with your kids and enjoy the best this beautiful county has to offer.
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From parks to woodlands to beaches, Galway really has ample opportunities to get outdoors. Here are some places to help you plan your days out with the kids!
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Best Outdoor Places in Galway For Families
Only 15 minutes from Galway city and a short drive from the M6 motorway, Renville Park is a lovely place to spend time with your family. You can picnic near the car park, or head into the playground in the forest where there are benches.
The playground itself is contained within the old walled garden so is beautifully sheltered even on a windy day. You can walk in the woods after your picnic – see if you can find the fairy trail! Or explore the seashore near the carpark.
Renville is also a great place to fly kites! (Other recommended kite flying spots are Glasilaun Beach in Connemara and South Park (AKA The Swamp!) next to Nimmo’s Pier, Galway City.)
Connemara National Park
In the heart of Connemara, the National Park is well worth the drive. There is an excellent playground, multiple walks for all ages and abilities, toilets, an indoor eating area and a coffee shop (seasonal). The park is free to visit and you can easily spend a day exploring and taking in the amazing views. Be sure to go for a walk up Diamond Hill while you are there.
Located beside the beach front, and close to coffee shops and ice cream stops, Salthill is a great spot on a sunny day. There is lots to do: follow one of our Salthill family walking trails, go swimming in the sea and visit the fun playground near Galway Atlantaquaria.
“The Prom” is great for walking or cycling with little ones, although you do have to watch out for peoples’ ankles if it’s busy! If you start near the playground, they can easily cycle to Blackrock diving board and back. If the weather is nice, stop off at the beach to soak up the sun!
A walk through these lovely woods will bring you out to Cappagh Playground, a state of the art playground with both swings, springers, etc. for younger kids and a cable ride and carousel for older children and teens. Plenty of parking at either end.
Coole Park has multiple walks in the woods, perfect for families, not to mention:
- a walled garden for picnics with its own sundial laid out that you can stand on (if lucky enough to get some sun!) to tell the time
- deer to spot in a special walled area
- the famous Autograph Tree where Yeats and other famous writers, playwrights and poets carved their initials
- a visitor centre where you can Hunt The Thimble and see some of the interesting items from Lady Gregory’s.
- cafe and toilets in the park
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River Cycle Path
The River Cycle Path is a great cycle path from Galway city centre up to Dangan Sports Grounds. It runs through NUIG and along by the river Corrib. You can find it easily by starting in the college and keeping the river on your right.
Portumna Forest Park
This fantastic forest park has a Coillte cycling trail, suitable for all levels of cyclist. You can hire bikes at the park too. If you don’t fancy cycling, don’t worry! There are plenty of trails to walk on and wildlife to spot. Make sure to watch out for some deer in the forest!
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For the serious cyclists among you, Derroura Mountain Bike Trail near Oughterard provides more of a challenge. It is a circular way marked lop of around 16 km with a little over 13 km on single track. It lies at the gateway to Connemara, meaning the trails provide incredible views of spectacular scenery. Parts of the trail are technical, steep and rocky.
Galway City Corrib River Walk
We’re spoilt for choice in Galway with so many beaches to choose from, and we also have plenty of lakes too! For little ones, you can do a short city walk along by the river. Keep an eye out and you might see some ducks and swans! You can enjoy the peaceful sound of the river and the beautiful scenery.
Galway Blue Flag Beaches
If it’s sea and sand you’re after, check out the Galway Blue Flag beaches. These are Salthill and Silverstrand in the city, An Trá Mhór, Cill Mhuirbhigh, Loughrea Lake, Portumna, Trá an Dóilin, and Traught beach in Kinvara. Or how about heading out past Carraroe to Coral Beach, which has tiny corals instead of sand? If the weather is nice, you can dive into the sea, as the beach is usually well supervised by lifeguards.
This is a brilliant playground, and there is loads on offer here for the whole family with tennis courts, playgrounds, a lakeside walk and a swimming area. The playground has swings, a zip Wire, climbing Frames, a skate area for older kids and a picnic area. There is free car parking on the Gort Road next to the playground.
Doughiska (Merlin Woods) Playground and Park
Another excellent playground, this playground at Doughiska by Merlin Woods has something for all ages with loads of space to run around and different parts to explore. This large play space has grass hills which provide endless fun to run up and down, and two of the largest slides in Galway.
There is a large sandpit area with swivel seat sand diggers, a trampoline, climbing frames, a zip wire and even a large hamster wheel, and much more! There is also a small, separate toddler playground.
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Article written by Mary Kate, mum of 2
Have your say! Do you have any favourite outdoor places in Galway to go with the kids? Tell us in the comments below.