The Best Picnic Spots in Every State
Grab the wicker basket and the thermos of lemonade. From scenic national parks to urban hideaways, these are the best places for a pop-up picnic.
Alabama: Birmingham Botanical Gardens
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When you need a breath of fresh air, the over 10,000 plants in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens will more than satisfy you. Choose one of the 30 different themed gardens to lay out your picnic blanket from the Japanese Garden to the Bruno Vegetable Garden. Or head to the Formal Garden, where a spot of tea and dainty cucumber sandwiches will have you feeling just like a lady who lunches. Don’t miss the best-kept secret in every state.
Alaska: William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery
There’s something fishy about this pick—after all, it isn’t your traditional picnic spot. Set up on the observation deck of the William Jack Hernadez Sport Fish Hatchery in Anchorage where you can watch Alaskan chinook and coho salmon return up river to lay their eggs (peak spawning season is July to September). After you eat, take a self-guided tour of the facility and see the massive tanks of thousands of teeming fish.
Arizona: Papago Park
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Escape the hot desert sun in one of Arizona’s most famous red sandstone formations, Hole-in-the-Rock at Papago Park in Phoenix. It requires just a short hike up to the butte’s summit which was first discovered by the Hohokam Indians. Pack dinner in your backpack for this one, because the views of the city below make for a picturesque sunset.
Arkansas: Clinton Presidential Library
Spend a morning inside the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock where you’ll learn everything you wanted to know about the former president and even sit inside a full-size replica of his Cabinet Room. Grab a bite to go from Forty Two, the library’s restaurant, and head outside to the grassy hill overlooking both the uber modern building and the wetlands below. Are you a bibliophile? Then don’t miss the most impressive library in every state.
California: Chateau St. Jean
Anyone who loves a glass of red knows that the ultimate vino vacation starts in California’s wine country. Specifically, at Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma, where you can enjoy a charcuterie spread in the fountain garden, designed to resemble the lush landscape of southern France and Tuscany. Work off all the meat and cheese you consume with a rousing round of bocce ball afterward.
Colorado: Arrowhead Ski Area via Paragon Guides
Take a llama to lunch with this unique backcountry experience in Vail. It isn’t cheap (a half-day hike for two will set you back $415) but we definitely think it’s worth it for the gorgeous views and the furry companionship. The best part? Your llama isn’t there just for photo ops and petting, it will also tote the picnic basket for you.
Connecticut: Hammonasset Beach State Park
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There’s plenty of room for everyone and their brother out here at Hammonasset Beach where two miles of beach makes it the longest coastline in Connecticut. Whether you want to frolic in the surf or touch the rays and turtles at the nature center, bring on the fun in the sun! To avoid soggy sandwiches, check out these tips for the perfect picnic.
Delaware: Brandywine Creek State Park
Fun for the whole family awaits at Brandywine Creek State Park in Wilmington. While you can hike and bike during the day, on Wednesday evenings in the summer, they host a free campfire at the park. Sing traditional campfire songs, share ghost stories and—the best part—gooey s’mores. Love that melty chocolate-marshmallow combo? Whip one of these s’mores-inspired recipes at home.
Florida: Picnic Island
What better place to have a picnic than, well, a place named Picnic Island? On this tiny Florida Key that’s only accessible by private boat, there’s picnic tables, a grill, cornhole, and even a tiki hut. Before you leave the little sliver of paradise, make a wooden sign with your name and where you traveled from and nail it to the wall with all the others. Want to make a weekend of it? Find out the most charming bed and breakfasts in every state.
Georgia: Forsyth Park
Sip on a tall glass of Southern sweet tea under the shade of giant oak trees dripping in Spanish moss at Savannah’s Forsyth Park, named after a former Georgia governor. Break open that old copy of Gone With The Wind (it’s only appropriate!), toss the Frisbee or listen to some live jazz. Find out the most iconic book set in every state.