Not just playing around

Austin fetches No. 2 ranking on new list of best parks in Texas

Austin fetches No. 2 ranking on new list of best parks in Texas

Butler Hike and Bike paddle-boarding and kayak
Austin has a whopping 489 parks. Austin Parks and Recreation Department/Facebook

In Texas, Austin's parks are among the cream of the crop, according to a new report.

The nonprofit Trust for Public Land’s 2022 ParkScore rankings put Austin at No. 39 nationally (tied with Oakland, California) for the best parks system among the country’s 100 most populated cities. In Texas, Austin ranks second for parks, behind the Dallas suburb of Plano, which ranks No. 1 in the state and 15th nationally. 

The ParkScore report says Austin stands out for:

  • Its median park size of 6.7 acres, which is above the national ParkScore average of 5.4 acres.
  • Its spending on parks: The city’s investment of $178 per resident is well above the national ParkScore average of $98.
  • Its residents’ proximity to parks: In Austin, 70 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, compared with the national ParkScore average of 75 percent.

The ParkScore rankings judge park systems based on 14 factors across five categories: acreage, investment, amenities, access, and equity.

According to the ParkScore report, Austin has 489 parks. The Austin Parks and Recreation Department lists 330 public parks.

Other Texas communities included in the national ParkScore rankings are:

  • Dallas, No. 53
  • San Antonio, No. 59
  • Arlington, No. 68
  • Houston at No. 70
  • Corpus Christi and Laredo, No. 73 (tie)
  • Fort Worth, No. 86
  • Garland and Lubbock, No. 91 (tie)
  • Irving, No. 98

Nationally, Washington, D.C., claimed the top spot, followed by St. Paul, Minnesota, and Arlington, Virginia.

“Investing in natural solutions like trails, shade, and green spaces can cool temperatures by up to six degrees and help prevent flooding. That’s why Trust for Public Land is working with park advocates and municipal leaders across the United States to close the outdoor equity gap and ensure that quality parks are available to everyone,” Diane Regas, president and CEO of Trust for Public Land, says in a news release. “Parks inspire joy and happiness and help cities meet the climate crisis.”