Best Outdoor Spots for Families in Laois


Are you looking for outdoor activities for kids ? While one can experience all seasons in one day here in Ireland, we have to grab the opportunities to get outdoors whenever we can. So here are some of the best places in Laois to get outdoors with kids.


Emo Park and Gardens

Emo Park and Gardens is situated in Emo village that is close to Portlaoise, Portarlington and Mountmellick.  The Park is the second largest in the 26 counties and is totally safe for kids. Avail of picnic benches throughout the park and park benches in front of the lake.  It is always nice but idyllic on a fine day.

Emo Park is the most popular walking place in Laois and with lots of short and long walks there is something for everyone.

NB bicycles are not allowed in Gardens area but you can take bicycles into the park.

Glen Monicknew Bridge

Enjoy the picnic benches over looking the Glen or the grassy area beside the mountain stream, below the bridge at Glen Monicknew Bridge, Slieve Blooms, on the road between Clonaslee and Mountrath.   It can be very busy on a fine summer's day.

Related: The Best Picnic Places for Families in Laois

Dunmore Woods

Why not try some of the Coillte walks, such as Dunmore Woods between Abbeyleix and Durrow? Part of the walk is along the banks of the river Nore, through forests and over the river Gully.

Related: Great Family Walks in Laois

The Nore and the Barrow

Laois has two of the three sister rivers, the Nore and the Barrow. Kayaking events take place in Durrow on the Nore and there are classes for all levels on the Barrow in Portarlington.  

Grand Canal

We also have the Grand Canal in Vicarstown, where barges can be hired. Anglers, young and old can be found at the Heath Lake, Stradbally Lake, many other small lakes and the rivers throughout the county.


Dún Spraoi in Portlaoise is an excellent modern playground, with swings, slides, bridges and benches for us too!  Parking is available in the car park beside the Leisure Centre.

There's something for everyone..there's also an adult fitness area overlooking the kids area, so you can burn off some calories too while keeping an eye on the kids!

Another excellent playground at Portarlington, that is very spacious and caters for up to 14 yr olds.  Parking beside the playground and facilities at the Leisure Centre nearby.

Related: Playgrounds in Laois

The Heath

Two of the best places we have found to fly kites in Laois are The Heath and Emo Park. There is always your local GAA, soccer or rugby pitch, when not in use for a match or training of course.

Portlaoise Leisure Centre

The astro pitches at Portlaoise Leisure Centre are available for hire for groups.  

Archery, kayaking and orienteering are also available in Portarlington.

Stradbally Hall

There is a strong equestrian tradition in the county and equestrian centres provide weekend hacks. Point to Point events take place in the grounds of Stradbally Hall on a regular basis.  

Ballinakill Outdoor Swimming Pool

There is an outdoor heated swimming pool in Ballinakill open between June and September.

Related: Free Things to Do with Kids in Laois

Do you have a favourite outdoor place to go with the kids in Laois?  Tell us about it  in the comments below.

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