Beachgrounds Park, South Hadley, MA

I first heard about this new park because they had a big opening day festival. I was later reminded of it by an acquaintance, Julie Ross of Belchertown, who took her two children to Beachgrounds in July and was pleased with the park, though not the restrooms.
On Sunday morning we finally made it over there, and the whole family was quite impressed. It seems a feat of urban planning - the small park is eco-friendly in many ways (recycle bins, rubber tire "mulch," recycled plastic "lumber" used for benches and tables), surrounded by a variety of housing types (apartments and a neighborhood of single family homes), aesthetically pleasing, designed with varied age-groups in mind (for instance, baby swings near the toddler play area and regular swings off to the side). The playground structure itself was an unusual one, which is great. All too often I find myself trekking to a new park only to encounter pretty much the same equipment as they have in the park by my house. My 5 year old described it as an obstacle course and "completed" the play structure a number of times. Both older boys loved the spray park, in which the water is activated by a sensor which my middle son enjoyed figuring out and then using. The spray park is laid out in an organic way which seemed to encourage the kids to move & to use the entire spray pad area. The pad includes a sprayer that the kids can move around, and which is cleverly designed to shut off when sprayed toward the outside of the water pad. The water feature is significantly smaller than the one found at Look Park, but there was plenty of room on the day of our visit.
The park also offers the opportunity to head down to the riverbank by the Holyoke Dam. This was an adventure that our family undertook - it is not advertised as part of the park. The trail down to the water was steep and the rocks on the edge interspersed with broken glass and the occasional piece of trash. However, it was nice enough to teach my oldest to skip a stone.
From several articles (here's one) I've seen on this project, it seems that the funding and creating of this space was a triumph of the political process, as used by community/local organization. This sweetens the experience of watching the kids play there.


  1. Thank you for the good review!

    - Bob Judge
    South Hadley

  2. LOVED this park!!!!! Thanks for informing us about it. I was disappointed that the picnic tables already had slurs etched into them and that some kid thought the sidewalk needed black artwork in the form of rubber from his bicycle tires! It's such a shame because that park is simply amazing! It's very unique and we actually preferred the water spray park to the one in Look Park. Whoever designed that park has amazing talent.