Parks and Health

“It’s no surprise that being outside in nature helps both our mental and physical health. Parks are a wonderful way to bring nature into our urban and suburban spaces and ensure that people enjoy those health benefits. Parks foster social interaction and bring communities together, which is also good for health!”

— Dr. Sara Cody, County Health Officer

The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department is committed to making the outdoors accessible to all. There is a strong connection between time spent outdoors and overall health. Consider exploring outdoor spaces in your neighborhood. Observe wildlife from a porch or driveway, take a small walk, or visit a park or outdoor space as part of your daily routine.

Some of the many benefits of being in nature include:

  • Improving your mood.
  • Increasing physical activity and helping prevent chronic diseases.*
  • Creating social connections and a sense of community.
  • Encouraging active play, which has physical, mental, and social benefits for children.
  • Increasing physical and mental health for older adults.

*Visit Health.gov to learn about recommended levels of physical activity for you. Talk to your doctor first before you begin an exercise program.

Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights

The County of Santa Clara created the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights in partnership with youth, parents and caregivers, and youth-serving organizations to ensure all youth in our County can access nature.

View the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights poster in: Spanish / Vietnamese

The County of Santa Clara Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights was developed to:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of a child’s connection to nature.
  • Engage the community in a shared vision where all children can access the outdoors.
  • Ensure equitable access to nature for all children in our County.

Project was made possible through the generous support of Health Net.

Transit to Parks

Together with Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights Initiative is committed to increasing access to parks and open spaces for Santa Clara County residents. Discover parks easily accessible by bus or light rail. Take a short walk to VTA bus and light rail lines to explore parks and other outdoor spaces in Santa Clara County! 

Start your Transit to Parks adventure by viewing or downloading the Transit to Parks Map.

 

bus on a mountain road


A prescription to spend time in nature

The Juntos Initiative encourages physical activity in park settings with a prescription from a health care provider. The goal of the initiative is for families to explore parks in the County of Santa Clara, participate in park hikes, and become familiar and comfortable in park settings.

The Juntos Initiative is a partnership of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Pediatric Healthy Lifestyle Center​, Santa Clara County Parks, County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, Veggielution, and the City of San Jose Parks and Recreation Department. Funding for the program was made possible by the Measure Q funds from the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority​.

If you are a pediatrician and are interested in the Juntos Initiative (formerly known as the Parks RX program), contact Laurie Bostick Cammon, MD, a pediatrician with the Pediatric Healthy Lifestyle Center at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, at [email protected]​.  

Featured articles

How to access parks: additional parks information and resources

In the County of Santa Clara, every child has the right to:

  • Feel welcome, safe, and protected outdoors.
  • Celebrate the cultural diversity of our communities.
  • Climb a local mountain.
  • Plant a seed and eat locally grown food.
  • Learn to swim, stomp in puddles, and play in safe water.
  • Protect our diverse habitats and wildlife.
  • Explore miles of Bay Area trails on safe and accessible routes.
  • Play in parks, schoolyards, and open spaces near their homes.
  • Camp under the stars.
  • Visit a farm.

Artwork by Jim Fonseca

    Santa Clara County Parks is home to 28 fabulous parks​ and provides outdoor experiences for all ages to discover anytime. Visit the parkhere.org​ to find a park ​near you! Santa Clara County Parks offers annual entry vehicle​ passes and low income venture passes for low income families and individuals at an affordable cost.

    Each city within the County of Santa Clara offers a variety of park and recreational activities to suit your needs. Visit your local city park and recreation page to learn more about their outdoor activities.

     


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