Top Picnic Destinations in America Slideshow
April 5, 2012
Most Accessible: Central Park, New York City
This is a classic — a must for any picnic enthusiast. Easy to get to via subway or bus, Central Park offers city-dwellers a chance to escape the concrete jungle and relax in its 843 acres of grass, lakes, trails, and attractions. Boasting approximately 38 million visitors each year, the park makes for excellent people-watching. In the summer, picnickers can enjoy free Shakespeare in the Park performances while they snack. Vendors stationed within the park sell hot dogs, ice cream and even cotton candy. What’s not to love?
Best Seasonal Spot: Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.
From approximately mid-March through April, the Tidal Basin is alive with fragrant cherry blossoms. Picnicking beneath the gorgeous flowers next to the flowing Potomac is a ritual for many Metro-area residents. The basin is also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring Rover and make it an event for the whole family.
Most Unique: Gravelly Point Park, Arlington, Va.
Situated 400 feet away from the runway of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, this spot affords adventurous visitors a dazzling view of planes taking off and landing. Set next to the Potomac River along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, this location also has a trail for those interested in a post-picnic walk or bike ride.
Most Scenic: Point Dume State Beach, Malibu, Calif.
Some of the best picnics take place on the beach the sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean make for a killer setting. And Point Dume's secluded atmosphere and pristine sand set it apart from the rest. Comprised of picturesque cliffs and coves, gorgeous water, and a surprising lack of tourists, its the only stop necessary for a dreamy beach picnic. Lucky visitors may even spot a few dolphins.
Most Fun: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Providing the ultimate view of the NYC skyline, Brooklyn Bridge Park is home to "Movies with a View," a summer film series presented by the Syfy channel. Guests can chow down while watching selected shorts and classics. And after each movie, a DJ turns this venue into a total party. Last years flicks included Manhattan, Ghostbusters, and Breakfast at Tiffanys, among others. Arrive early to snag a good spot.
Best for Nature Lovers: Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle
Peaceful and serene, despite its proximity to downtown Seattle, the Arboretum is perfect for those who want to truly immerse themselves in the great outdoors. Located on Lake Washington, the park has gorgeous gardens and spectacular greenery covering 230 acres. Visitors will have no trouble plopping down for a lazy meal by the waters edge.
Best View: Gateway Arch Riverfront, St. Louis
If its a monument you seek, you cant do much better than the "Gateway to the West" the nation's tallest at 630 feet. Perched on the west bank of the Mississippi River, this section of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial has awe-inspiring views of both man-made and natural treasures. Food suggestion: The landmark offers a "Picnic for Two" service that can be ordered in advance. It just doesnt get simpler.
Most Family-Friendly: Forsyth Park, Savannah, Ga.
Forsyth Park boasts acres filled with not only lush grass perfect for games of Frisbee, but for tons of family-friendly activities as well. From basketball courts to summer concerts, this park provides tons of entertainment. Draped in Spanish moss, it oozes Southern charm. It even has a café in the middle of the park perfect for a last-minute picnic. Food suggestion: Forsyth Park Café for sandwiches, snacks, and drinks.
Most Romantic: Panorama Point in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Golden, Colo.
Due to spectacular views, Panorama Point has become a popular wedding destination. An ideal location for a romantic date, this private area features beautiful foliage and is framed by mountains. Be sure to set up a picnic here for you and your honey if you play your cards right, you could be back to say, "I do."
Most Diverse: Mission Dolores Park, San Francisco
Frequented by everyone from day-drinkers to free-spirited dancers, Dolores Park offers the most socio-economically diverse option on our list. With outstanding views of San Francisco from the hilltop, the park is extremely popular and has attracted the attention of several food vendors. Food suggestion: Ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery and Bakeshop, a neighborhood institution passionate about community activism and good eats.