The buzz of a florescent light. The tick of an analog clock. The hum of an air conditioner. These are the sounds that drive college students crazy before too long, which is why some good R&R with the great outdoors is vital to mental health and academic success.

There are lots of articles and research from credible sources like Business Insider, Harvard Medical School, and the Huffington Post that reinforce the benefits of getting outside. Be sure to give ’em a read. (Did you know going for a walk can make you more creative? Me neither.)

Luckily, Greenville makes it easy to switch up the daily routine and get some fresh air. The best part? The two parks I am about to share with you are completely free to attend! But in this case, the phrase “you get what you pay for” does not apply. These free parks are beautiful, clean, and safe.

Cleveland Park Perks

The first of these parks is Cleveland Park. Known to Greenville residents as “The City Park,” Cleveland Park is 122 acres of fun. Cleveland Park boasts a fitness trail, picnic shelters, a playground, tennis courts, and volleyball courts. Before she moved to Dallas, my older sister, Sally Zimmerman, loved to walk on the fitness trail with friends.

“Cleveland Park will always be a special place for me in Greenville. I really enjoyed the opportunity to get some exercise in such a beautiful place while spending time with my sister and my friends,” Sally said.

Map of Cleveland Park {Upstate Sorba}

The park was created in 1928 after the prominent Cleveland family donated 122 acres of land to the city of Greenville. It is the site of attractions such as the Rock Quarry Garden, the Fernwood Nature Trail, the Vietnam Memorial, and the Greenville Zoo.

There is easy and free parking upon entrance to the park. The park is located on East Washington and Cleveland Park Drive just a few miles outside of downtown Greenville. Pay Cleveland Park a visit any day between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. For questions, call 864-467-4355.

Falling for Falls Park

The next is a Greenville classic, Falls Park on the Reedy River. Located in the heart of downtown Greenville on 601 S. Main Street, Falls Park “serves as an oasis within the city” with gushing waterfalls, flowing creeks, and winding paths.

Falls Park & Cleveland Park are just miles apart from one another, so you can visit both in one afternoon! {Alta Vista Place}

Falls Park was conceptualized in the mid-1980s when the Carolina Foothills Garden Club and the City of Greenville made a plan for a park to serve as a welcoming area for residents and visitors of Greenville. When the Camerdown Bridge was removed in 2002, the $13 million plan was put into action. Read more about the history of Falls Park.

As far as attractions go, Mice on Main is a fun activity that’s perfect for first-time visitors to Greenville. Nine bronze mice are hidden throughout downtown and can be found using these hints. Another attraction is the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a personal favorite of mine because of its convenience and natural beauty. The trail is a 19.9-mile walking/running/biking path that reaches from the Reedy River to Travelers Rest. Since it crosses through Furman University, my friends and I bike on the path every Friday afternoon.

“The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a great spot for me and my friends to feel safe and comfortable biking into Travelers Rest after a long week. We’re so lucky to have it close by,” says Madeline East, a sophomore at Furman.

Falls Park is open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with no admission fee. Parking can be found on the street, nearby parking garages, or along Falls Park Drive (adjacent to the park’s main entrance). For questions, call 864-467-4355.

Follow along as my college roommate and I share two of our favorite Greenville parks:

THE CCCBottom Line: Getting outside is important, particularly for college students who spend countless hours in classrooms and dorms. Greenville offers multiple, free parks to make this easy. There’s no better way to explore our amazing city while getting fresh air (and not spending a single dime). You have no excuse. Get out there!

Love from GVL,



One thought on “The Great GVL Outdoors

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