When searching the interwebs for things to do in Fayetteville, one of the places that came up was J. Bayard Clark Park and Nature Center. To be honest, it sounded a bit boring, but I added it to my Fort Bragg and North Carolina Bucket List anyway.
And I am SO glad that I did!
All it took was ONE visit to this park for it to become a go-to spot for entertaining the kids. It also became a regular recurrence for my morning walks/bike rides.
This park has it all – a great playground, plenty of shade, a safe and well-maintained walking trail, and a tranquil woodsy atmosphere. But if that’s not convincing enough, here are 6 reasons Clark Park should be on your list of places to visit in Fayetteville.
1. A Paved Walking Trail
The Cape Fear River Trail runs right through the middle of Clark Park. It’s a wide paved trail for walking, running, cycling, roller blading, or pretty much anything that doesn’t involve a motor. My girls bring along their bikes and scooters and always have a blast! There are benches and security call boxes along the trail and plenty of signs to keep you on the right path. A walk along the shady Cape Fear River Trail is a definite must on those beautiful, breezy Carolina days!
2. The Nature Trails
In addition to the main paved trail, there are three other non-paved, nature trails throughout the park. These are loop-trails that wind through the park and along the Cape Fear River. Walking along these trails is a great way to get familiar with North Carolina’s plants and wildlife, take in some pretty scenery, and get some fresh air. The park and trails are all pet-friendly, so bring your pets and let them stretch their legs too!
3. The Play Ground
Clark Park features a big playground for kids of all ages. My kids love this playground and I bribe them with it regularly They especially love the tire swing and monkey bars! What sets this playground apart from the others is that it contains an outdoor stage, in case your kids want to give you an impromptu performance (which mine do every time we visit). This playground also has giant chalkboards for the kids to draw on. Just remember to bring your own chalk!
4. The Nature Center
Clark Park has a small nature center that houses a few live animals and some static displays. This center offers several programs, educational experiences, and even summer camps for kids! The staff is very friendly and eager to share their knowledge about the animals in their care. Make sure you stop in on your next visit and see what programs they are offering and any events that they have coming up. You can also check the website to stay up to date with the latest happenings at the park.
5. The Waterfall
That’s right! There is a natural waterfall hiding in the middle Fayetteville and it can only be found at Clark Park! Behind the Nature Center is a 35-foot-high waterfall (one of the tallest waterfalls in North Carolina east of the mountains). If you plan on bringing a picnic to the park, you should sit at one of the tables that overlook the waterfall. What could be better than a picnic with a waterfall view?
6. Wonderful Photo Opportunities
Many local photographers take portraits and family pictures at Clark Park. And it’s easy to see why! In addition to the beauty of the natural landscape, there are some old buildings and a covered bridge that make awesome, rustic photo backdrops. Don’t forget to bring your camera on your next visit to the park!
If you’re in Fayetteville and are looking for something free to do on a pretty day, head over to Clark Park! It’s a great place to get outside, stretch your legs, and enjoy some beautiful Sandhills scenery!