One of Champaign’s most famous and centrally located parks, Hessel Park is a great stop any time of year with kids of any age
Families know and love Hessel Park, one of the favorite parks in the Champaign-Urbana area
If you’ve spent any length of time in Champaign-Urbana, someone has probably recommended you visit Hessel Park. From the relatively new splash pad to the expansive playground equipment and a great perimeter walking path, Hessel Park is a popular choice among kids and parents alike.
Located right in the middle of Champaign and just steps from the University of Illinois campus, you can drive by any weekend and see groups gathering at the pavilions and enjoying a day outdoors together.
Part of the Champaign Park District, Hessel Park has nearly everything families are looking for in a park visit. Both the playground and splash pad have had a complete overhaul in the last five years, restrooms are located in proximity to the playground and there are a number of shelters and grills available for use.
Parents with strollers meeting up for a walk will especially appreciate the wide 0.6-mile perimeter walking path which encircles the park and makes for a scenic stroll.
Tips For Your Trip From Other Parents
- Just in case, always pack a change of clothes in the warmer months, even if you don’t plan to be in the splash pad.
- Two strollers can comfortably loop the walking path; any more than that will be a squeeze.
- If you want to play volleyball, make sure to bring your own ball.
- Especially in the evenings, be prepared to wait for the tennis courts.
- Choose a picnic table near the playground to be “home base” for your kids. Be open to sharing a table with another family while you’re there and bring your lunch!
- Shelters are available for rent through the Champaign Park District; groups over 25 will also need a group use permit.
Is this park good for toddlers?
There are a number of large play structures you’ll need to watch carefully, but plenty of toddler sized equipment is available. The splash pad is very toddler-friendly.
What amenities are offered?
Hessel Park offers many amenities, including:
- Newly expanded playground, with a mulch-free base and popular parent-child swings
- New splash pad with brightly-colored, critter-themed features
- Bath house located close to playground and splash pad
- .6 mile paved walking path around the perimeter of the park
- 4 lighted tennis courts
- A volleyball court
- 1 ballfield (not lighted)
- Shelters available for rent, grills available for use
How are the bathrooms?
They are close and always functional. When the splash pad is particularly busy, expect bathrooms that feel like pool bathrooms with all the wet people walking in and out. So, just wear your shoes.
Are there picnic tables and grills?
There are many picnic tables and grills. There are four covered shelters and many small shelters.
Is there any shade?
Yes! Many shaded areas exist at Hessel Park. The actual playground itself is in the direct sun.
When is this park open?
Hessel Park is open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
What is parking like?
Park in spots along the sides of the park on Grandview Drive or in a parking lot at the north end of the park.
How do you get there?
More on all your favorite outdoor activities:
- Fishing Fun for Families in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- Gardens and Flower Farms in Champaign-Urbana and Beyond
- Where to Go Boating with Your Family Near Champaign-Urbana
- Hiking Trails For Families in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- Visiting Champaign-Urbana Area Parks and Playgrounds with your Family
- Walk Your Way Through Champaign-Urbana
- Avoid the Mud and Muck with Mulch-Free Playgrounds in Champaign-Urbana
- Great Places for a Picnic in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- Family-Friendly Bike Trails in the Champaign-Urbana Area
- Creek Stomping Your Way Around Champaign-Urbana
- Camping with Your Family Near Champaign-Urbana
- Parks Minus Playgrounds We Love Around Champaign-Urbana
- 6 Places to Experience Nature with Kids Near Champaign-Urbana
Top spots for outdoor recreation near Champaign-Urbana:
- Everything You Need to Know About Visiting River Bend Forest Preserve in Mahomet
- Cool Off at the Homer Lake Natural Playscape
- Visiting Clinton Lake With Your Family
- Visiting Imagination Grove Near Bloomington-Normal
- Meet Me Halfway: Kankakee River State Park
- Hidden Treasure in Central Illinois: Weldon Springs State Park
- The Perfect Family Hike: Explore the Sangamon River Forest Preserve near Fisher
- Best Kept Secret: Buffalo Trace Prairie in Mahomet
- Getaway for a Day: Matthiessen State Park
- Best Kept Secret: Forest Glen Preserve
- Hiking the Sangamon River Corridor Reserve in Monticello with your Family
- What to Do at Kickapoo State Recreation Area
- What To Do At Turkey Run State Park With Your Family
- Everything You Need To Know about Visiting Homer Lake Forest Preserve with Your Family
- What To Do At Moraine View State Recreation Area With Your Family
- Visiting Lake of the Woods in Mahomet with Children
- 8 Reasons You’ll Love Visiting Allerton Park with Your Family
- At Middle Fork River Forest Preserve, Darkness is the Star
- Parent’s Guide to Busey Woods in Urbana