Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve
North entrance: 5901 Los Rios Blvd., Plano
Amphitheater and trails: 2801 E. Spring Creek Pkwy.
Plano Parks and Recreation Department: 972/941-7250
Hours: 5am–11pm daily
Parking: Free lots at both entrances
Spring: the best time of year to unplug and swap your stress for breaths of fresh air and picnicking with the kids. Can you smell the wildflowers already? Find that much-needed retreat at Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, an 800-acre swath of land in East Plano reserved for strolling, running, biking, dog walking and horseback riding in a designated equestrian area for those who board their steeds at nearby stables.
Nearly six miles of hiking and biking trails, open daily from sunrise to sunset, are well-kept and short enough for kids to finish easily. Off-road paths crisscross through the Blackland Prairie’s flat terrain and the forested areas along Rowlett Creek, but if you’re bringing the stroller or the kids’ bicycles, stick to the widely paved sidewalks. These cover about four miles of trails, including one that rounds a scenic fishing pond — home to turtles and ducks. Kids 18 and younger need no fishing license to cast a line from the shoreline or the floating pier.
For closest access to the pond and to the water fountains, restrooms and a covered pavilion with picnic tables, begin your excursion via the Los Rios Boulevard entrance or park near the amphitheater entrance for more trailheads.
Along with your sunscreen and water bottles, pack a pair of binoculars. Except for the Plano Balloon Festival each fall, the park is rarely overcrowded, making the natural area a popular destination for bird watchers.
Already Plano’s largest park, Oak Point feels even bigger with Bob Woodruff Park, located directly to the south, connected by one of the paved trails. Drive around to the opposite end of this park for its playground and a sand volleyball court.
Published May 2014