The Ultimate SouthCoast Playground Guide: New Bedford/Fairhaven features 13 playgrounds and countless hours of fresh air and physical activity. Plus, we threw in one of our favorite playgrounds just a few miles north.


Noah's Place Playground, New Bedford

Noah's Place is right over the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge on Pope's Island. It has a parking lot, is completely fenced in and even has keypad-entry bathrooms. It is New England's largest, most sensory-rich inclusive playground and is just amazing as far as playgrounds go. What you'll find most nostalgic is the Discovery Zone-style roller-slide that's built into the hill. You will likely have to fight with your kids to leave. The downside to this playground is that it's so large and so popular you may need a second adult to help you keep an eye on smaller kids. Try to go during off-hours if the thought of that is overwhelming. The good news is Dunkin' is just across the street so you can re-charge if an hour turns into three hours. (Get directions here)

Noah's Place Playground


Buttonwood Park Playground, New Bedford

There are two parking lot areas, one by the Buttonwood Pond and one near the zoo entrance, but both are a little bit of a walk to the playground area. There is one giant playset that has a number of ramps to help smaller kids access the slides without climbing any ladders. This playground is not fenced in and a bit too big to keep eyes on more than one child at a time. There are porta-johns by the parking lot but not immediately close to the playground. As a bonus, the Buttonwood Park Zoo is on the same property and there is a whole other playspace inside called Charlie's Nature Play (with admission to the zoo). (Get directions here)

Buttonwood Park Playground


LCPL Matthew Rodriguez Playground aka the Airport Playground, New Bedford

This isn't a playground you would accidentally drive by unless you were at the airport. It's partially fenced to keep the parking lot separate from the playground. The entire playground is travel themed with airplane features, a windsock at the very top of the playground unit and other fun coming-and-going stuff. There are bathrooms inside of the airport just a few steps away and a restaurant in the same lot for when you need a mid-day burger. Plus, on a summer day, kids can watch planes take off and land just about every five minutes, and it never seems to get old. (Get directions here)

Rodriguez Playground


Betsey B. Winslow School, New Bedford

This playground has features that are great for both little kids and big kids, although there is no obvious separation between the pieces. There is a fire engine feature that little kids tend to love along with lots of slides and balance-beam style pieces. There are also plenty of climbing pieces and variations of monkey bars. There is street parking only, no fence and no bathrooms. (Get directions here)

Winslow School Playground


Brooklawn Park & Splashpad, New Bedford

This playground is in one giant, immaculate fenced in area and features a toddler area and a bigger kid play area that was suitable for even little kids with some supervision. It has one of the larger climbing nets around and plenty of benches that let you watch the entire playspace without frantically running around. On the plus side, this playground also has an abutting splash pad for the summer months. There is a parking lot nearby and bathrooms a bit further away. (Get directions here)

Brooklawn Park Playground


Hazelwood Park, New Bedford

This playground sits at the top of the Hazlewood Park hill and has an almost unobstructed view of New Bedford's Clark’s Cove. There is a good size toddler area and a great big kid area that has a lot of rope/net climbing features that make every kid immediately yell, "Look, I'm Spiderman!" If you get bored, take a walk down the hill and dig your toes in the sand. Bonus, if you go on a Sunday evening you may catch a great sunset and some great reggae music coming from West Beach. This playground has a parking lot, a porta-john nearby and is not fenced in. (Get directions here)

Hazelwood Park Playground


Riverside Park, New Bedford

Riverside Park is set quite a ways from the road; you may not even notice it as you drive by. This playground has two separate pieces but both of them are designed for the under-five crowd. There is only street parking available and you are safest parking on Coffin Ave and walking in if you have car seats you have to take time to unbuckle. The fun part about this playground is that is also has a splash pad for hot days and a covered pavilion for picnics. (Get directions here)

Riverside Park Playground


Fort Taber/Fort Rodman, New Bedford

There is a fee to park during the summer months but just in front of historic Fort Rodman is a large, three-part playground that's perfect for kids under five. There is some wear and tear but it's large enough to keep kids busy. The great thing about this park is there is also a seasonal snack shack and tons of biking and walking paths once the playground gets old. (Get directions here)

Fort Taber Playground


East Fairhaven School, Fairhaven

Two distinct playgrounds, one for ages 2-5 and one for older kids. Both areas are fenced in separately, making it harder for a really little kid to escape to the bigger playground (which is great because the bigger-kid playground has some pretty advanced stuff). Outside of the fenced-in area are some musical features, swings and a giant eight-person seesaw. There’s a parking lot but no bathrooms. (Get directions here)

East Fairhaven School Playground


Wood School, Fairhaven

This playground has a parking lot, and the entire playground is fenced in. Meanwhile, the kids will be excited for the pirate ship feature, tons of slides and bridges, a ninja warrior-style climbing feature and plenty of swings. It's a larger playground and easy to lose sight of kids but again, it is entirely fenced in, so where can they really be? No bathrooms but it does have basketball courts and plenty of blacktop room for free play. (Get directions here)

Wood School Playground


Fort Phoenix State Beach, Fairhaven

There is a parking lot available (depending on the time of year, one may be closed) and bathrooms nearby. There's also partial fencing blocking the playground area from the road but the playground itself is built right on the beach—literally in the sand. It's not a giant playground but it makes our list because there's plenty of other stuff for kids to explore at Fort Phoenix that makes it worth the trip. Plus you can watch the fishing boats come and go, and that's always fun. (Get directions here)

Fort Phoenix Playground


Livesy Park, Fairhaven

This is an enormous park with plenty of street parking and is mostly known for its giant skatepark. There is also a giant playspace for kids five and older, and a good size tot lot for kids ages 2-5. There are plenty of surrounding fields for free play but no bathrooms nearby. Plus there's plenty of shaded spots and sunny spots for the days when you want options. (Get directions here)

Livesey Park Playground


Rogers Family Park & Playground, Fairhaven

This is a smaller neighborhood playground/park with street parking only. There is no bathroom but the park is completely fenced in. While it looks like a smaller playground, it makes the list because it is a playground most likely to have other kids there. There's a very advanced climbing area with every version of monkey bars and rings available, and the Fairhaven bike path runs along one side of it. If it warms your heart to see kids still riding around in giant bicycle gangs, Rogers is worth the visit. (Get directions here)

Rogers Park Playground


*BONUS* PLAYGROUND: Assawompset School, Lakeville

If you live closer to the North End of New Bedford, Assawompset School in Lakeville isn't too far of a drive—but even if it was, it would still be worth it. This is one of the largest, most spread out playgrounds with so many different styles of playground equipment. It was easy for kids to stay entertained for a long time. This playground is completely enclosed with plenty of parking. It has tons of climbing pieces, slides, and plenty of details that keep tiny kids busy. There's no bathroom and not much shade, but other than that, it's totally awesome. (Get directions here)

Assawompsett Playground