Cary Parks #1: MacDonald Woods Park

Part 1 in our Cary Parks series.

Cary, NC — Nestled alongside a small creek in an unassuming neighborhood lies one of the jewels of Cary’s park system – MacDonald Woods Park. It is not the largest (only 13.8 acres) nor the best equipped (there are no restrooms or shelters), but there is a certain charm to MacDonald Woods that attracts a variety of visitors, many from outside the neighborhood.

Editor’s Note: We have a great park system here in Cary. It contributes to our quality of life and helps attract growth to our community. Today, we debut a new series – one story for each park in Cary. You’ll find a basic description of the park as well as the high points as observed by our writer (and photographer for this series), Zach Hayes.

Maybe you’ll discover a park you didn’t know. Maybe you’ll make it a quest to visit all the parks in Cary. Maybe you’ll just like reading about it and feel a flush of civic pride in our great resources and facilities. Our first installment covers MacDonald Woods.

MacDonald Woods Park

The main attraction, as is the case with many neighborhood parks in Cary, is the playground. Toddlers and teenagers alike can be found enjoying the well maintained jungle gyms, sandbox and swings, while parents keep a watchful eye from one of the seven benches encircling the rubber-padded area. The park is seemingly carved from the forest, trees immediately lining the edges of the playground, basketball court, and open field.

Four round, cement planters in the middle of the playground are each home to a tree providing additional shade on sunny days. With the abundant shade comes the downside of wet equipment after a rainy day, so come prepared with a towel if you know it has rained recently.

A short walk down the path from the playground takes you to a small picnic area with three tables, a trash can, and nearby water fountain.

There is no shelter overhead or restrooms to be found, something to keep in mind if you are planning a gathering here. Not much farther away is the cement slab basketball court. The town was generous enough to provide two court-side benches for onlookers and a trashcan to keep the area clean. Rounding out the park is a large, open field that is flat enough for most casual games of football, soccer or Frisbee.

For those who like to explore off the beaten path, the nearby creek is an attractive option. The trail past the basketball court leads to a small bridge and a couple of removed, open areas hidden from the rest of the park. Again, if it has rained, be prepared for plenty of mud as the creek tends to overflow easily. In fact, the park has been closed on multiple occasions due to flooding, leaving the rubber playground surface coated in mud and open field unusable.

If the park itself fails to provide you with enough to do, feel free to take a stroll on the Hinshaw Greenway immediately adjacent to the park. Heading left from the playground will lead you across Seabrook Ave to the 8/10 mile paved trail through nature. Turn right and journey to the pedestrian overpass that cross US-1 en route to Marla Dorrel Park and the Kid’s Together Playground.

Inventory / Facilities

2 baby swings
2 swings
Toddler area
Small jungle gym
Large jungle gym
7 benches
3 picnic tables
Basketball court and benches
Bike rack
Water fountain
Padded surface
2 bouncy toys

Hinshaw Greenway access
Large open field

Restrooms: No

Parking: Street, bike racks


MacDonald Woods Park
1601 Seabrook Ave
Cary, NC


Story and photos by Zach Hayes. Read more in our Cary Parks series.

7 replies
  1. Diane Gervais
    Diane Gervais says:

    I love this park. Not to big (like Kids Together) and not too small for the little ones. The padded ground makes it a winner for the grandkids!

  2. Lindsey Chester
    Lindsey Chester says:

    Great photos Zach. We used to head over here after preschool with my youngest. That stream was very attractive to our 5 year old explorers!

Comments are closed.