12 Parks in Conway, Arkansas

Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Nestled in central Arkansas along the Arkansas River, Conway is a vibrant small city with a growing population of over 60,000 residents. Known for its three liberal arts colleges, Conway has developed a thriving cultural scene while retaining its small-town charm.

Conway’s parks and recreation system contributes greatly to the quality of life for residents and visitors. The city maintains over 30 parks ranging from large community parks to small neighbourhood playgrounds and sports complexes. The mild climate of central Arkansas allows the parks to be used year-round for walking, cycling, sports, and relaxation.

From scenic riverfront parks to innovative all-inclusive playgrounds, Conway’s parks offer something for everyone. This article explores 12 of the best parks showcasing the natural beauty and family-friendly amenities Conway has to offer.

Hendrix Creek Park

Spanning over 100 acres adjacent to Hendrix College, Hendrix Creek Park is one of Conway’s flagship parks. The park centers around a beautiful 35-acre lake surrounded by paved and natural surface trails totaling over 3 miles in length. Visitors can fish, feed ducks, launch kayaks and canoes, walk, run or cycle the trails, picnic, play on the playground, or just relax by the water.

Sections of the Park
The park has several areas to explore:

Lake and Trail Loop – The highlight is the 35-acre lake which allows boating and fishing. A 3+ mile paved and natural surface trail loops the lake and through the woods.

Playground and Picnic Area – A large, modern playground is next to the Education Center. Picnic tables and grills allow for family gatherings.

Peggy Horne Education Center – An indoor/outdoor classroom facility offers environmental education programs.

Disc Golf Course – An 18-hole disc golf course winds through the park’s wooded areas.

Amenities
Key amenities and features include:

  • Paved and natural surface trails for walking, running and cycling
  • Lake for boating, fishing and wildlife viewing
  • Playground and picnic facilities
  • Peggy Horne Education Center with classrooms
  • 18-hole disc golf course
  • Restrooms and drinking fountains

Donaghey Riverfront Park

Regarded as Conway’s “crown jewel,” Donaghey Riverfront Park sits along nearly a mile of the Arkansas River right through Conway’s historic downtown. Once an overgrown riverbank dotted with dilapidated buildings, the area now boasts serene green spaces, the Riverwalk pavilion performance venue, a children’s museum, public art, and river access points. It connects Conway’s past to the present while offering relaxation and entertainment options.

Sections of the Park
The Riverfront Park project links four distinct zones into a cohesive downtown park system:

Riverwalk Pavilion and Performance Lawn – This covered outdoor venue hosts concerts and events with stone terraced seating for over 1,500 people.

Children’s Museum – The Lewisville Children’s Museum moved to a larger space along the riverfront, offering interactive exhibits and programs.

Downtown Riverfront Park – Landscaped areas, walkways, gardens, open greens, and public art provide space for relaxing, walking or cycling along the river.

Laurel Park – Basketball courts, a large playground, open field, and walking track sit across the river from downtown, linked by a pedestrian bridge.

Amenities
Key amenities include:

  • Riverwalk Pavilion covered performance stage and seating
  • Lewisville Children’s Museum with hands-on exhibits
  • Paved walkways and pedestrian bridges
  • Gardens, public art installations, benches, open greens
  • Playground, basketball courts, field, walking track
  • Access for fishing and non-motorized boating

War Memorial Park

Overview
On Conway’s far west side, War Memorial Park pays tribute to Faulkner County veterans. Set on 30 acres, it blends recreation and relaxation areas with solemn memorials recognizing the service and sacrifice of veterans. In addition to memorials, it offers playgrounds, walking trails, sports facilities and open greenspace.

Veterans Memorial Plaza – The central memorial features five historical eras honoring fallen Conway soldiers with informative plaques and statuary.

Veterans Tribute Tower – A unique 65-foot obelisk-style tower with four plaques recognizes Conway-area veterans. Visitors can climb stairs inside it to an observation deck.

Sports Complex – Baseball, softball and soccer fields accommodate youth and adult leagues and tournaments. A concession stand services the complexes.

Playground and Trails – Shady playgrounds, walking trails and open grassy areas provide family-friendly recreation.

Amenities
Key amenities include:

  • Veterans Memorial Plaza with statuary and plaques
  • 65-foot Veterans Tribute Tower
  • Baseball, softball and soccer fields
  • Playgrounds and walking trails
  • Concession stand, pavilion, and restrooms

Laurel Park

On the opposite side of the Arkansas River from downtown Conway, Laurel Park spans 50 acres and connects to the Riverfront Park system via a pedestrian bridge. It offers active recreation options like its basketball courts, baseball fields and playgrounds. Scenic walking trails wind through the wooded bluffs along the river to complete the well-rounded park experience.

Sections of the Park

Athletic Facilities – Baseball/softball fields, batting cages, basketball courts and open areas facilitate team sports and pick-up games.

Playground and Trail Loop – A large playground with modern equipment sits near the entrances, while 2 miles of trails loop around the park.

Open Greens and River Viewing – Scenic outlook spots provide views across the river valley downtown. Open fields also accommodate free play.

Amenities
Key amenities found here include:

  • Baseball/softball fields with batting cages
  • Basketball courts
  • Playground and swing sets
  • 2 miles of walking/cycling trails
  • Pavilions and picnic tables
  • River outlook areas

Prince Park

On Conway’s southeast side, Prince Park spans 84 acres full of recreation options. As one of Conway’s newest parks, unique offerings include an all-inclusive playground, one of only two in Arkansas. Sports fields and courts, walking trails, bike skills areas and a dog park round out the wide array of amenities. The park connects to nearby colleges via the Central Arkansas Trail System.

Sections of the Park

Inclusive Playground – Fully accessible equipment lets all children play together. It has a rubberized surface, ramps to access, and interactive musical elements.

Sports Facilities – Baseball, softball and soccer fields accommodate leagues and camps. Tennis and pickleball courts are lighted for night play.

Trail System – Paved walking trails circle through the park to connect amenities, with a bike skills course along one segment.

Dog Park – Separate large and small dog areas allow dogs off-leash play with agility equipment.

Amenities
Key features incorporate:

  • All-inclusive playground with accessible, interactive equipment
  • Lighted tennis, pickleball and basketball courts
  • Multiple baseball, softball and soccer fields
  • Walking/bike trails including a skills course
  • Dog park with agility equipment
  • Pavilions, restrooms, water fountains

Margaret Daniels Park

Nestled along Prince Creek in Conway’s Clark’s Village neighborhood, Margaret Daniels Park offers a serene setting. The focal point is the remnants of an early 20th Century gristmill and dam that give glimpses into Conway’s past. Today the small 6-acre park provides pleasant strolling opportunities along its creekside trail.

Sections of the Park

Historic Gristmill Ruins – Concrete walls and foundations mark where a gristmill and associated buildings once stood as part of a small community. Interpretive signs describe its history.

Prince Creek Trail – A paved 1/3-mile loop trail hugs Prince Creek, taking visitors through the woods past the mill ruins on a scenic walk.

Picnic Facilities – Scattered picnic tables and benches allow for quiet picnics and relaxation by the creek.

Amenities
Key amenities include:

  • Interpretive historic gristmill structure remains
  • Prince Creek walking trail loop
  • Picnic tables and benches

Beaverfork Lake Park

Surrounding Conway’s centerpiece fishing and boating lake, Beaverfork Lake Park spans nearly 160 acres on the city’s north side. In addition to lake access, it provides a natural area with extensive mountain bike trails, a dog park, fishing piers, picnic facilities and playgrounds for well-rounded outdoor recreation.

Sections of the Park

Beaverfork Lake – Bordering the shoreline, it offers prime fishing for stocked rainbow trout plus bass, crappie, catfish and bream. A boat ramp, courtesy dock and cleaning station serve boaters.

Mountain Bike Trails – Nearly 4 miles of flowing single-track natural surface trails cater to mountain bikers of all skill levels.

Dog Park – The park features designated areas for large and small breed dogs to play off leash. Some agility equipment is available.

Picnic Areas – Scenic lakeside picnic spots have tables, grills, and fishing piers for gathering with friends and family. A playground also entertains kids.

Amenities
Key features of the park consist of:

  • 160-acre Beaverfork Lake for boating and fishing
  • Dog park with separate areas for sizes of dogs
  • 4 miles of mountain bike singletrack trails
  • Picnic facilities, fishing piers, playground

Walter J. Lemke Park

Featuring Conway’s largest skate park facility, Walter J. Lemke Park packs exciting action for skaters, scooter riders and BMX bikers across its 12 acres on the city’s northwest side. Linked walking trails, sports courts, two playgrounds and open greens offer additional recreation variety within the neighborhood park.

Sections of the Park

Skate Park Area – The focal point, the concrete skate park challenges all levels with its bowls, ramps, rails, steps and central resting area.

Sports Courts – Tennis and basketball courts give people active game options within the park footprint.

Trails and Playgrounds – Linking trails join playgrounds, picnic spots and park sections for walking within the area.

Multipurpose Field – Open grassy spaces accommodate free play and pickup games or relaxation with nice views.

Amenities
Some top amenities of Walter J. Lemke Park contain:

  • Large skateboard park with varied concrete features
  • Lighted tennis and basketball courts
  • Playgrounds for ages 2-5 and 5-12
  • Paved walking trail loops
  • Open field with hilltop views

Baylor Park

Nestled along wooded Prince Creek on Conway’s west side, Baylor Park spans 25 acres packed with amenities. It features the city’s only public swimming pool, an off-leash dog park, disc golf course, bike trail loop, sports courts, and playgrounds conveniently linked for locals. Mature trees shade most areas for comfort on hot summer days.

Sections of the Park

Aquatic Center – The park’s biggest draw, the aquatic center has a 25-meter pool plus a splash pad, bathhouse and deck.

Dog Park – With designated areas for large and small dogs, the off-leash dog park has agility equipment available.

Disk Golf Course – An 18-hole disc golf course winds along Prince Creek through the woods, presenting challenges for players.

Trails and Courts – A 2-mile biking/hiking trail loops the park. Tennis and basketball courts give sport options.

Playground and Picnic Areas – Playgrounds, swing sets, picnic tables and pavilions round out the amenities.

Amenities
Top features contain:

  • Aquatic center with indoor/outdoor pool, splash pad
  • Off-leash dog park with separated areas
  • Shady 18-hole disc golf course
  • Paved trail for cycling/walking (2 miles)
  • Basketball and tennis courts
  • Playgrounds and picnic facilities

JP Dennis Park

Named for a popular former city playground director, JP Dennis Park lies central to the western section of Conway and was developed with a family-forward focus. The large 22-acre park packs in most of the amenities families look for including sports facilities, modern playgrounds, walking trail, pavilions, and spray park pad. It also houses the Conway Athletic Club (CAC) recreation facility with indoor basketball and pickleball courts, classes and workout space.

Park Sections
The park contains several zones:

Playground and Spray Park – A huge playground with cutting-edge equipment anchors one side of the park with a large spray park across the trail with multiple jets along a rubber pad space.

Baseball Field Complex – Baseball/softball fields sit backdropped by mature trees to accommodate league play or high school team practices.

Arland Williams Disc Golf Course – Winding through the woods encircling the park, the 18-hole disc golf provides additional recreation for enthusiasts serious or casual.

Amenities
Key amenities consist of:

  • Innovative playground for ages 2-12 and spray park
  • 4 lighted baseball/softball fields with batting cages
  • Paved walking trail (over 1/2 mile long)
  • Disc golf course tucked amid the trees
  • Picnic pavilions and tables, water fountains, restrooms
  • Conway Athletic Club facility by the city

College Street Park


Just a few blocks from Hendrix College in central Conway, College Street Park offers a compact green space in an older residential area. It focuses on amenities for younger kids with a lively playground, spray park pad with assorted water jets and a hard court area painted for games like foursquare. A new skate dot area gives beginning skaters and scooter riders a place to learn the basics without getting overwhelmed.

Park Sections

Central Playground – Geared towards kids 5 and under, the wooden playground has modern climbers, swings, slides, and even a mini-zip line. Benches let parents watch comfortably.

Spray Park – Cool off on hot summer days at the colorful spray park with a dozen ground sprays of all types to dance and splash through.

Hard Court Area – Basketball hoops on concrete courts accommodate pickup games, while colorful ground markings designate foursquare, hopscotch and other areas.

Skate Dot – Small ramps, rails and gently sloping areas provide a starting point for novice skaters and scooter riders.

Amenities
Key amenities consist of:

  • Playground for kids 5 and under
  • Spray park pad with multiple jets
  • Hard courts for basketball, foursquare etc.
  • Designated beginner “skate dot” space
  • Benches and shade structure

Gatlin Park

Named for Jim Gatlin, a Conway High School Coach who won 8 state titles, Gatlin Park occupies 14 acres in eastern Conway. It is distinguished by its first-rate high school softball and soccer facilities with discussion of adding a Miracle League handicap-accessible baseball field. A large, colorful playground rounds out the current amenities centrally located within neighborhoods and school campuses.

Sections of the Park

CHS Wampus Cat Softball Complex – Recognized as one of Arkansas’ top players fields, it has 300-seat capacity stadium seating, press box, concessions and batting cages for the successful high school team.

Soccer Field and Track – Used primarily by local schools, a full-sized soccer field can accommodate leagues and camps with an encircling rubberized walking track.

Playground Area – Geared towards ages 5-12, the large wooden castle-themed playground has modern climbers, swings, lots of slides and even ziplines built into the structure.

Amenities
Top amenities currently include:

  • Championship-caliber softball field and facilities
  • Full-sized soccer field and rubber track
  • Castle-themed playground for ages 5-12

McKissack Park


Named for a former parks department director, McKissack Park covers just over 5 acres in Conway’s northwest quadrant adjacent to nearby neighborhoods. While small in size, it packs a lot of family-focused recreational options into the space. Modern playground equipment, two lighted sports courts, walking loop trail, pavilion and open grassy areas make it a convenient spot for community gatherings or kids meet ups.

Sections of the Park

Playground Area – Colorful, innovative playground structures entertain kids ages 2-12 with climbing apparatuses, swings, slides etc.

Sports Courts – Lighted tennis and basketball courts accommodate pickup games day or night. Players bring their own equipment.

Walking Trail Loop – Just under 1/4-mile in length, the paved trail circles the perimeter to provide a walking/jogging option for adults or bike riding for kids.

Pavilion – Offering shade and seating, the pavilion has nearby grills for outdoor picnics plus open field space.

Amenities
Top amenities comprise:

  • Modern wooden playground structures
  • Lighted tennis and basketball courts
  • Paved 1/4 mile walking trail
  • Picnic pavilion with grills
  • Benches scattered through open areas

Conclusion

Families and outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do with the diversity of parks Conway has developed and maintained for public enjoyment. Offering nearly 2,800 total acres of parks and open space, Conway focuses on providing close-to-home neighborhood parks as well as large community parks boasting specialized amenities you can’t find elsewhere in the city.

Whether you seek sports facilities, unusual playgrounds, scenic walking trails or places to gather with friends, Conway delivers through its high-quality parks system.

Leave a Comment