The beautiful fall weather we’ve been having here has been a great excuse for me to get outside and spend more time in local parks.
Fort Bend County has hundreds of acres of nature preserves and land used mainly for agriculture, which we’ve covered here previously. But many parts of Fort Bend County have a more urban or suburban feel, including Stafford, which has just under 33 acres of city parks in seven square miles.
The City of Stafford’s website has a helpful list of city parks broken down into categories: pocket parks (less than 5 acres), neighborhood parks (between 5-10 acres) and community parks (about 20 acres).
The city lists Margaret Havens Historical Memorial Garden, adjacent to city hall, among its parks, but I did not include that for the purposes of this list, which establishes a threshold of at least one acre.
I visited each of them on a beautiful, breezy day last week with the intent of giving you a guide to the pros and cons of each location, especially if you’re new to the neighborhood and looking for a place to take your dog, your kids, or yourself if you’re looking for a place to run or walk.
Rubin Park, 2260 1st St., is a 1.2-acre park with an open play field that can be used for soccer, flying a kite or playing fetch with your dog. It also has a pavilion for shade and picnic tables, benches, a water fountain and a pet waste station. The sidewalks are lit at night, but because I visited during the day, I can’t vouch for how well-lit the park is once the sun sets.
It is within walking distance for many area residents and has ample parking both in an adjacent lot and on First Street in the neighborhood.
It has basic playground equipment, including slides, climbing ladders, swings and a basketball court with two baskets.
Just down the road is First Street Park, 2501 1st St. This 2.3-acre park has a lighted 0.2 mile jogging trail wrapping around an open play field with picnic tables, benches stretching equipment, a pet waste station and a water fountain.
About two miles north of First Street Park is Vaccaro Manor Park, 13033 Joan St.
This 4.5 acre neighborhood park has a 0.25-mile lighted jogging trail with open play fields and a shaded pavilion with picnic tables, a pet waste station, sidewalks and stretching equipment near the playground.
There is a promenade lined with tall shade trees, and there is ample shade for runners and walkers alike along the trail. It also has easy neighborhood access via a gated entrance connected via sidewalk at Lawrence Lane and parking along Joan Street and Stafford Colony Lane.
Gordon Fountain Lake Park, 10701 Fountain Lake Drive, is in my estimation the best park within Stafford city limits. It is the second-largest, at 8.5 acres, and easily accessible on foot via Fountain Lake Drive and Meadow Briar Drive.
The park is built around a pond with a 0.5 mile lighted jogging trail, with playground equipment and stretching equipment, a pavilion with picnic tables, benches, a pet waste station and a water fountain.
The largest park in Stafford is Stafford City Park, at 16 acres. Located at 3108 5th St, the park features a pond, multipurpose fields for baseball, softball, soccer and cricket and covered basketball courts.
It also has, like the other city parks, playground equipment, a pavilion, picnic tables, benches, a water fountain and pet waste station.
It is adjacent to the Stafford Boys & Girls Club and 5th Street Community Center.
The big drawback, and perhaps the reason why it was the only park I visited which was empty, is its proximity to the Fort Bend County Water District Plant at 902 Corine St. less than a half a mile away, and the smell of sewage at the water treatment plant was overwhelming.