This blog post was updated on May 23, 2022.
If the thought of a picnic usually leaves you somehow underwhelmed, then you haven’t been to the perfect picnic spots yet! The right place can take an ordinary picnic and make it just extraordinary. Although there are plenty of great picnic locations across the United States, some naturally rise to the top. Want to see the best picnics spots in the US with your own eyes? Keep reading!
Will Rogers State Historic Park
If you decided to make your picnic in California on a celebrity’s private ranch, you could face jail time. But, at the Will Rogers State Historic Park, laying down your picnic is a welcome activity. Famous actor Will Rogers originally purchased the land for the park in Santa Monica in the 1920s. After his death, his wife Betty gave the land to California State Parks. Ever since, the land has become a historic landmark where you can tour Roger’s restored ranch house, take riding lessons, go on a trail ride or even hike. And for picnickers, the spot is particularly appealing for its wealth of activities and many picnic areas to enjoy. What else do you need to start browsing cheap flights to California in search of the perfect picnic plan?
Such a picnic perch barely needs an introduction! Walden Pond is the famous spot where Henry David Thoreau holed up from 1845 to 1847 and eventually penned Walden, a book about his experiences on Walden Pond. Due to Thoreau’s legacy, the space has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Considered the birthplace of the conservation movement, Walden Pond now boasts well-preserved land and a 102-foot-deep glacial pond. The pond is a popular swimming spot in the summer, and picnics are welcomed in this serene space which has retained its solace and solitude for being close to busy Boston.
The National Sculpture Garden
If you walked into one of the many museums in Washington D.C. and laid out a picnic, you would probably be asked to leave, except for one – kind of. The National Sculpture Garden sits right on the National Mall. Intended for enjoyment year-round, it features a growing collection of outdoor sculptures that you can picnic around on a nice summer day. Not only does the park feature art pieces, but you can also appreciate Native-American plant species of canopy trees, flowering trees, and perennials. With plenty of walking and seating areas and a fountain at the center of the garden, this perch in Washington D.C. oozes a picnic-friendly feel!
Fort Williams Park
Maine is proud of its lighthouses, especially the Portland Head Light. One of the oldest in the country, Portland Head Light rests within Fort Williams Park, a prime spot to picnic. The 90-acre park sits just 20 minutes from Portland and provides views of that historic lighthouse, one commissioned by none other than George Washington. The space lends a good spot to picnic as you gaze at the Atlantic… perhaps with a lobster roll stashed in your basket?
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You can find many great spots for a picnic in New York City’s Central Park. For instance, you can picnic at the Great Lawn in the park’s geographical center or Sheep Meadow, one of the park’s eight designated quiet zones. You’ll find picnic tables in Central Park on the Great Hill. This area in the north part of the park is the third-highest point in the park. After your picnic, take a stroll along the paths to enjoy the beautiful landscaping installed after a December 2009 blizzard knocked down over 100 trees. There’s plenty of room to play your favorite lawn games, so bring them along.
Point Reyes National Seashore
Point Reyes National Seashore, right next to Point Reyes Station, California, has three main picnic areas. The tall Douglas fir and California bay laurel at the Bear Valley Picnic Area provide welcome relief from the sun and acts as a natural wind block. A smaller picnic area is at the Five Brooks Trailhead. Consider heading to the Five Brooks Ranch for a guided horseback trail ride before or after your picnic. Another great option is Drakes Beach Picnic Area, named for Sir Francis Drake, who may have stopped here. After your picnic, check out the fossils at the nearby Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center.
Isle Royale National Park
Rock Harbor at Isle Royale National Park is accessible only by seaplane or private boat. You’ll love picnicking in the boreal forest at this location. Park rangers at the Rock Harbor Visitors Center often lead interpretative programs and enjoy the views of Lake Superior from this vantage point. Windigo at the southwest end of Isle Royale National Park is another terrific option for a picnic. You’ll love dining under the old-growth maples and birch trees at this location. Nearby, Washington Harbour is a fantastic place to go swimming.
Deep in the heart of the Lone Star state near Austin, Mount Bonnell in Covert Park near Austin is a fantastic place for a picnic. Climb the peak named after George Bonnell, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the Texas Republic. Early settlers claimed it was the highest point in the city, but nearby Mount Baker is higher. As Austin has expanded, several other points are now even further above sea level. Enjoy seeing the engraved rock and sign telling more about this site installed by the Texas Historical Commission when the area became a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1969.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
Rolling Stone Magazine has called Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre the best outdoor amphitheater in the United States, and this Denver venue often hosts major concerts. The stunning red rocks are a great place for a picnic. When concerts or events aren’t taking place, the amphitheater is open from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Before or after your picnic, enjoy a stroll through the Colorado Music Hall of Fame located at this venue. There are also great hiking trails that you’ll want to follow. Consider hiking along the six-mile Red Rock Trail, which connects to Matthews/Winters Park.
Are there other picturesque picnic spots around the U.S. that you’ve been to? Tell us below!