Pushing a stroller is one of the pleasures of new parenthood. Walks that soothe the baby provide opportunity for parental socializing and exercising all in one basic activity. It’s the ultimate in multi-tasking, and we’re here for it. From tried and true trails like the Saunders-Monticello trail to newer ones like those through Greenbrier Park, Charlottesville's stroller friendly paths have the tranquility and variety to keep you and your little ones peaceful, happy and entertained.
You don’t get your official membership in the Charlottesville stroller-pusher club until you’ve hit the Saunders-Monticello Trail. Several miles of gracefully sloping trails made of crushed gravel interspersed with pedestrian bridgeways offer a serene strolling experience. Pro tip: Make it to the top, and you can get a treat at the Monticello Visitors Center before heading back down to the car.
Another staple for stroller walking, the Greenbelt Trail is a paved path along the Rivanna River with a trailhead at Riverview Park. Take the short loop if you’re just out for a quick walk or keep on going past Free Bridge if you want to get your step count way up! If you have a slightly older child, the park playground with benches and picnic tables are a way to extend the outing and give adults a break to visit with each other.
Coffee shops, ice cream parlors, window shopping galore and an absence of cars are a few of the reasons parents pack up the stroller and the kids and head to the Charlottesville Downtown Mall. Go up and back from the Omni Hotel to the Sprint Pavilion past the locally owned boutiques and restaurants, or continue past the Pavilion to City Walk, which extends Water Street along the train tracks and past the iconic downtown coal tower. It’s no coincidence that Beer Run is a reward at the end!
Start your adventure at the Meade Park playground (or pool in the summer!) and then pack up the stroller and head down the Chesapeake Avenue sidewalk to Riverview Park and the trailhead for the Greenbelt trail. And don’t forget the nearby Wool Factory at the end of Market Street just a few blocks away (see photo) if you’re in need of refreshments of the adult and child variety!
One of the great additions to the Charlottesville walking scene is the paved pedestrian and bike trail that runs parallel to the John Warner Parkway. Wide and winding, with plenty of shade, the path means you can easily push a stroller all the way from downtown Charlottesville to Rio Road and back. Parking is available at the Rescue Squad station at the corner of McIntire Road and 250, along Melbourne Road and at CATEC.
Looking for a nature walk? Greenbrier Park is your spot. Stone dust trails and boardwalks take you across wetlands where you can hear frogs peeping and spot water lilies. The park has no parking lot, so find a spot along Greenbrier Drive or at the end of Jamestown Road. Then pop the stroller open, buckle up baby and get on the move.