Sitting just north of downtown Dallas and situated along the shores of White Rock Lake, Al Finch Park in McKinney, Texas is one of the most popular and largest parks in the city. With over 135 acres for outdoor fun, it’s easy to see why. From hiking trails to lakeside trails to playgrounds and tennis courts, there’s something for everyone here.
The park is named in honor of Al Finch, one of Dallas’s finest. Starting as an animal control officer in 1963, he quickly worked his way up to the head of the newly created Department of Code Compliance in 1966 before retiring in 1984. Overseeing the construction of code enforcement buildings and enforcing parking violations, Mr. Finch was truly one of Dallas’s finest.
The park itself is 5 parks in one, with the most popular part being the lakeside trails. With over 4 miles of hiking trails to choose from, it’s an excellent place for runners and walkers alike. The trail meanders along White Rock Creek, offering some stunning views of nature as you go. Plus, there’s a great view of White Rock Lake from the trail. For those looking for a little less exertion, there are plenty of trails through the trees as well as around some of the natural spring ponds.
The park is also home to one of Dallas’ most popular attractions, The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. With over 20 acres of beautiful gardens, it’s certainly worth a visit. In addition to the incredible flowers and greenery on display, there’s also a pretty cool bonsai tree exhibit and numerous family-friendly events throughout the year.
A short walk from the arboretum is Pioneer Plaza, featuring some great examples of early Texas architecture as well as a couple of fountains and numerous tables and benches for relaxing. And just south of Pioneer Plaza is the always popular Lakeside event center. With an outdoor covered pavilion with plenty of picnic tables, it’s a great place to have a party or just relax by the water on a nice day.