Remember when a day of fun meant running barefoot on the lawn while playing endless games of freeze tag or hide-and-seek? An afternoon family picnic in the park is a great way to relive those childhood memories, and share them with your kids, too. It’s a sure way to boost your mood, reconnect with family and rekindle your appreciation for nature. Just pick a shady spot on a lush carpet of grass, spread a blanket, unwrap your sandwiches, and enjoy a sunny afternoon outdoors!
Here are eight of our favorite parks in the country to rediscover nature and bring you together for a day of bonding and family fun under open skies.
Central Park | New York City
Manhattan’s Central Park is an 843-acre urban oasis in the heart of one of the most frenetic locations on earth. It offers residents and visitors a sanctum of tranquility and greenery, and contains a number of attractions and points of interest, including a zoo, numerous sculptures, playgrounds, lakes, an ice skating rink and more. The “Great Lawn” and adjacent Turtle Pond are an ideal spot for a picnic, offering 55 acres of wide-open space at the very heart of the most visited urban park in the U.S.
Central Park Center, New York City, NY
Lake Eola Park | Orlando
Take a break from theme park attractions, pack a light lunch, and head to the heart of Orlando and its hidden gem, Lake Eola. Settle in to admire the beautiful flower beds, feed the swans, or enjoy a paddle boat ride as you take in the Orlando skyline.
512 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL
Smoky Mountains National Park | Gatlinburg
Not far from Gatlinburg is the Chimney’s Picnic Area, where you can roast hot dogs and marshmallows near a mountain stream, then enjoy a walk along the scenic nature trails nearby. There are rocks for kids to climb and explore, and in summertime, you can brave the mountain stream for a refreshing swim!
City Park | New Orleans
A 1,300 acre refuge and oasis, City Park is where you’ll enjoy an afternoon in the shade of some of the oldest oaks in the world. Play Frisbee on the lawn, stroll under the moss canopies or stop and smell the roses of the Botanical Garden.
1 Palm Drive, New Orleans, LA
Myrtle Beach State Park | Myrtle Beach
With several miles of forest stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, this park offers both wooded shade and sunny shore. Choose from picnicking among the trees, exploring nature trails, fishing from the pier, or admiring ocean views along the Grand Strand.
4401 S Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC
Grant Park | Chicago
This 319-acre park is known as Chicago’s “front yard”. Offering everything from wide-open spaces to museums, the park is sure to offer your family lots to see and do, from relaxing on a blanket, to listening to a concert at the Petrillo Music Shell.
337 E. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL
Boston Common | Boston
A 50-acre refuge in the middle of downtown Boston, the oldest park in the country brings families together for concerts, softball games, and fun-filled afternoons under the elm trees.
Bound by Tremont, Beacon, Charles, Park & Boylston Streets, Boston, MA
City Park | Denver
Overlooking more than 100 miles of snow-capped mountains, the mile-long park is the premier picnic spot in the city. Catch a free summer concert, or rent paddleboats for a sightseeing ride along one of two lakes.
2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO
There’s nothing more enjoyable than a sunny day in the fresh air. Take time to slow down a little and savor the picnic-perfect settings and wide open spaces these cities have to offer.