Newport News Park
13560 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, 23603
Submitted by: Michael Poplawski
From camping to cycling, aeromodel flying to archery, disc golf to Discovery Center, this 8,065 acre park has something for everyone.
As the largest municipal park east of the Mississippi, Newport News Park has a variety of ecological and recreational opportunities: 36 holes of golf, 2 freshwater lakes, 35 miles of hiking/biking trails, 22 picnic shelters, 4 major playgrounds, a Japanese Peace Garden/arboretum, disc golf course, aeromodel field, 188-site campground, and much, much more. Events held annually include a Spring Children's Festival (14,000 participants), a 2-day Fall Festival (70,000 visitors) and a 2 mile, drive-through lightshow (over 100,000 visitors). While the Park is owned and operated by the City of Newport News (VA), visitors come from all throughout the eastern part of Virginia and North Carolina. Newport News Park hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually.
What Makes Newport News Park a Great Place?
While primary access to NN Park is via automobile (although adjacent residents can walk into the Park), this access is proximal to both City residents, as well as non-City visitors (York County, Hampton, Williamsburg, Norfolk, etc.) A wide gateway, divided by a landscaped median, welcomes visitors. A large brick-and-wood decorative marquee is located on a corner, facing the largest major intersection in the City's north end. Programs and messages are prominently displayed to advertise upcoming events and encourage participation. The City's Visitor Information and Welcome Center sits in front of the Park, further serving as a enticement to the visitor. Park access is via the adjacent Interstate 64 (exit ramp is less than 1/2 mile from the entrance to the Park) or via two major streets (Jefferson Avenue, which runs from one end of the City, north-south to the other end and Fort Eustis Boulevard, east-west from virtually one side of the Peninsula to the other).
Patrolled by uniformed park rangers 24 hours a day, NN Park is considered a safe, family-oriented, destination. In addition to law enforcement, rangers are trained as EMT's, rendering first aid as needed. Park amenities are conveniently located throughout the site: picnic tables with grills, benches, water fountains, and restrooms. Many facilities, including some trails, are handicapped accessible.
As a natural oasis in the middle of one of the largest developed urban areas in the southeast (Hampton Roads), NN Park has a variety of activities and facilities--in short, something appealing to just about anyone: young, old, nature lover, active recreationalist. The park's features are the primary reason that visitors are drawn here. Natural settings, manicured gardens, recreational activities, convenient amenities (restrooms, water); all contribute to attracting and serving visitors and park patrons. One thing conspicuously missing from this park that makes it so untypical: no ballfields, tennis courts, swimming pools or basketball courts. The normal noise and crowd impact from these activities is replaced by more individualized and family activities.
Quiet sitting and meeting places. Natural trails with elevated overlooks and benches. Decorative azalea gardens with streams and fountains. Picnic areas fronting lakes. All of these amenities serve to entice visitors and provide them with not only a sense of beauty, but a place for socialization. From birthday parties and company outings to children's playgrounds and quiet games of chess, the Park serves as a haven--and gathering place--for the young and old alike.
Michael Poplawski, Parks Administrator: 757-926-8451
- City of Newport News Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism - Newport News Parks website