Splash Around in Some Water at These 6 L.A. Parks

From swan boats to swimming, these parks won’t leave you high and dry

Despite an oft-repeated myth to the contrary, L.A. is not a city that sprang up in the desert. Still, places to be water-adjacent (besides the beach) aren’t always easy to come by. Here are six parks where you can splash, paddle, fish, or simply ogle the water.

Aidan’s Place at Westwood Recreation Center


One of the country’s first universally accessible playgrounds, Aidan’s Place offers up water spritzers, elevated sandboxes, and an airplane cockpit outfitted with a talktube radio for kids of all abilities.

Los Angeles River Recreation Zone

During the summer months, private guides lead kayak tours along a surprisingly verdant 2.5-mile strip of the L.A. River that winds through Frogtown. Stop into Salazar for Sonoran-style tacos or the local brewery for IPAs after your cruise.

Echo Park Lake 

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Climb into a swan boat and enjoy picturesque views of DTLA as you pedal around the fountain and lotus blossoms. Then pop over to Beacon at the boathouse for avocado toast with fruit, mint, and lemon.

Douglas Park

The charming trio of reflecting pools at this SaMo stalwart are chockablock with ducks and turtles (mind the signs about not feeding the animals). Besides a playground and skateboarding area, there’s a space where kids can give lawn bowling a whirl.

Lake Balboa at Anthony C. Beilenson Park

In the spring, a ring of pink cherry blossoms sets the scene for dreamy picnics. Rent a kayak and take a spin on the water, or bring a fishing pole and try your hand at catching a few carp (license required).

Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park 

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In 1928 a dam created the 250-acre Puddingstone Reservoir, now surrounded by this park. Boating and fishing are encouraged, and swimmers can enjoy pools and slides provided by local mainstay Raging Waters.

RELATED: From Archery to Mountain Biking, There’s an L.A. Park for Every Outdoor Hobby

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