Parks, Playgrounds, and Preserves

If you’re looking for somewhere to get outside, but want to skip the beach, this list can help you locate the perfect spot for your family outing. We’ve curated a list of parks, playgrounds, and nature preserves in Brunswick County, NC and Horry County, NC. Locations are listed by distance from Calabash.

Calabash Park
Persimmon Road, Calabash
| 0 miles
This little park right in the heart of Calabash has one small play set, two swings, one baby swing, one ADA swing, and a spring rider (that’s what those bouncy ride-on playground animals are called). It’s situated next to a picnic pavilion with bathrooms – and almost directly across the street from our fabulous Calabash Fire Department.

Vereen Gardens | 2.5 miles
Little River
Despite its name, this local gem isn’t actually a garden at all, but a large area filled with wooded trails, wooden pathways and bridges over the marsh, and a pier overlooking the ICW. The beginning of the marsh walk holds several picnic pavilions and “porch” swings, as well as two swings for big kids and two baby swings. Don’t park at the community center unless you plan to walk the first trail – be sure to drive all the way down to the end to get to all the marsh walkways, the “wishing trees,” and the swings.

Sunset Beach Town Park | 4.5 miles
206 Sunset Boulevard N,
Sunset Beach
This is a great spot to picnic and watch boats on the ICW. You may even spot the occasional dolphins! This small park doesn’t offer a play area, but it has several “porch” swings, picnic tables, a picnic pavilion, a fishing pier, and a .3 mile walking trail “loop.” There are bathrooms beside the parking lot.

Ocean Isle Beach Park | 6.5 miles
6483 Old Georgetown Rd SW, Ocean Isle Beach
This park boasts a picnic pavilion; extra picnic tables under trees; swings (including ADA swings); and two separate playsets – one for small children and one for bigger kids. There are bathrooms next to the play area and a Little Free Library is available. The park also has tennis and pickleball courts, four baseball diamonds, an amphitheater, and a small pond (which many residents claim is home to an alligator, so keep the kids out of it!).

Town Center Park | 10 miles
11 E. 2nd Street, Ocean Isle Beach

This new park on the island holds a large play space, bocce ball court, seating and dining areas, restrooms, and a splash pad. There is also an amphitheater and a large open field, where the town frequently holds family-friendly events.

Ocean Park | 10.5 miles
101 S. Ocean Boulevard, North Myrtle Beach
This small, beachfront park has paved parking, picnic pavilions, and restrooms. Kids can enjoy the seasonally-operated, inflatable water slide.

North Strand Recreation Center | 11 miles
120 State Hwy 57 S., Little River
The rec center has a mid-sized playset and swing set beside a picnic pavilion. There is a restroom beside the football field, but it remains locked unless the fields are rented out for an event. A small walking trail is tucked into the woods between the baseball diamond and football field.

Little River Neck Park | 11 miles
4661 Riverside Drive, North Myrtle Beach
This little park is a quiet spot with a pond and a bench.

Frink Park | 11 miles
1243 Jacks Circle Rd,, North Myrtle Beach
It may not even qualify as a park, but this little nook has a picnic table and an observation deck overlooking the marsh.

NMB Sports Complex & Nature Trail | 12.5 miles
Champions Boulevard, Little River
The large park and sports complex boasts multiple sports fields and batting cages, a large meadow, an amphitheater, a three-acre dog park, multiple restrooms and picnic pavilions, several walking and biking trails, and three separate playgrounds.

Hill Street Park | 12.5 miles
2346 Hill Street, North Myrtle Beach
This small park off Sea Mountain Highway has a tennis court, playground, and picnic area.

Shallotte Township Park | 12 miles
5550 Main Street, Shallotte, NC
You’ll find this established park just off Route 17. There are baseball diamonds, soccer fields, and a basketball court, as well as a dog park, several picnic pavilions, and a fenced-in playground that includes two playsets, a zipline, swings, and a modern merry-go-round. There’s a Little Free Library located at the playground, and the park has two bathroom facilities.

Mulberry Park | 13 miles
123 Mulberry Street, Shallotte
Also called Mulberry Street Park, you’ll find something for everyone here. The park has an amphitheater, a picnic pavilion, walking trails around a pond, open field, restrooms, a fenced-in playground, and a Little Free Library. There is also a small native plants garden, and a community garden for residents to rent raised beds.

Poplar Park | 13 miles
8531 SC-90, Longs
This park has a baseball diamond, basketball courts, restrooms, a playground, and picnic pavilion.

Yow Park | 13 miles
508 Windy Hill Rd, North Myrtle Beach

This compact little neighborhood park has a playground, regular swings, baby swings, picnic tables, and a 1/2 basketball court, all surrounded by mature trees for ample shade. There is a port-a-potty available, and more parking one street over.

Waccammaw Township Park | 13.5 miles
5855 Waccamaw School Rd. NW, Ash
Waccamaw Park has two baseball fields, a football/soccer field, a basketball court, a 9-hole disc golf course, two tennis courts, a beach-style volleyball court, restrooms, two picnic shelters, and a playground.

Heritage Shores Nature Preserve | 13.5
5611 Heritage Drive, North Myrtle Beach

This nature preserve is on an island that extends into the Cherry Grove Marsh and includes seven acres of walking paths. The land is preserved in its native state and is accessible via elevated boardwalks and observation docks. Interpretive signs throughout the park describe the plants, animals, fish and birds that can be seen.

McLean Park | 14.5 miles
93 Oak Drive, North Myrtle Beach

With a paved walking path surrounding a two-acre lake, and anchored by a gazebo, McLean Park is known as one of the most beautiful parks in the area. It holds tennis courts, a baseball field, large open area, a pollinator garden, a Little Free Library, three picnic pavilions, and two separate playgrounds – one for younger children, with baby swings, and one for older children (an “exercise in disguise” EVOS playground) with four regular swings and a tire swing. There are restrooms, water fountains for people and for dogs, and the park offers a “fitness trail” around the perimeter and walking path.

Central Park | 15 miles
1400 Outrigger Road, North Myrtle Beach
This large park has space for pretty much any sport that doesn’t need water or a rink – there are baseball fields, multipurpose fields, tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, and batting cages. There are also three picnic shelters, two restrooms, two playgrounds, and a paved walking path.

Simpson Creek Park | 17 miles
1420 Loop Circle, Longs

Barefoot Landing Playground | 18 miles
4916 Kruzel Street, Myrtle Beach

This woodland-themed play space is tucked into Barefoot Landing, with a view of Lewis Pond. Stop in to play, or rest in an adirondack chair under the shade of a 200-year-old live oak tree in this fenced-in children’s area.

Lockwood Folly Park | 22 miles
430 Green Swamp Rd NW, Supply
Lockwood Folly has a large playground with swings (including an ADA swing and baby/parent swing), three picnic shelters, a basketball court, three baseball diamonds, a batting cage, a multi-purpose sports field, tennis courts, restrooms, and a Little Free Library.

Bridgeview Park | 24 miles
124 Davis St, Holden Beach

This park offers a playground, splash pad, multipurpose court, bocce ball courts, and picnic shelter – all with a great view of the Holden Beach bridge and the waterway. Restrooms are on-site.

Loris Nature Park | 24.5 miles
Loris Lions Road, Loris
This park is tucked into a beautiful, wooded area. It has a large playground and several other small play spaces, including spring riders, a music area, and several types of swings. There are restrooms, two picnic shelters, an amphitheater, fenced-in areas for dogs, and a walking trail, as well as a disc-golf course. There are water fountains available for people and for pets.

Green Swamp Preserve |27 miles
673 Green Swamp Rd NW, Supply
The Green Swamp is open year-round from sunrise to sunset. The out-and-back trail of about 1.5 miles includes both primitive walking trails and boardwalks. There are no amenities here, but it’s a great location for birding, and studying North Carolina’s native flora and fauna. The 13,000+ acre Green Swamp Preserve is home to more than a dozen insectivorous plants (such as Pitcher Plants and the Venus Flytrap), Longleaf Pines, American alligators, Hessel’s Hairstreak butterfly, the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, and many other plants and animals. The Preserve is just down the road from Lockwood Folly Park, which has playgrounds, restrooms, and picnic shelters.

Watson Park | 28 Miles
3416 Cedar Ln, Loris

Watson Park has a basketball court and one softball field, restrooms, and a playground. The park also has a multi-purpose facility that can be rented for events.

Dutchman Creek Park | 37 Miles
4750 Fish Factory Rd SE, Southport

Dutchman Creek Park includes a playground, picnic facilities, public restroom, fishing pier, boating access area, hiking trail, and ample parking. There is also a Little Free Library on site.