Best Places to Picnic in Washington, D.C.

By Laura Catherine Hermoza

Pack your basket full of goodies and head for the lush outdoors. Spring is once again upon us and that means it’s picnic season. But you don’t have to travel far to find the perfect outdoor spot because D.C. is full of them. Here are five of the best picnicking points to enjoy locally.

Piscataway Park
3400 Bryan Point Road
Accokeek, MD 20607
(301) 763-4600
www.nps.gov

Piscataway Park is perfect for picnics and other pleasantries with its central location across the scenic Potomac and Mount Vernon. Here you’ll find no shortage of available picnic tables for your spread along with other spacious areas that are great for dining al fresco.  Additionally, the park boasts loads of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, boating and more. Many diverse animal species can be found here, too. Piscataway is also home to the historic National Colonial Farm.

Yards Park
355 Water St. S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 465-7080
www.capitolriverfront.org/yards-park

Yards Park is a favorite D.C. area spot for picnicking, socializing and all other sorts of recreational fun. Located along the Anacostia River waterfront, this is a unique spot where you can enjoy a slice of outdoor fun in the heart of urban D.C. through a host of ongoing regular features as well as special occasion happenings and events. In fact, Yards was the 2013 Urban Space Award Winner for its many onsite amenities and surrounding features. The park is part of D.C.’s large Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District—a redeveloped space used for business and recreation that formerly served as the annex of the Washington Navy Yard.

Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
1550 Anacostia Ave. N.E.
Washington, DC 20020
(202) 692-6080
www.nps.gov

The scenic surroundings here add the perfect accent to any luncheon outing. Spread out among these lush park grounds as you dine in nature’s majestic beauty any time of year, whether you’re drinking the new blooms of spring or the colorful changing autumn foliage. This national park site, the only one of its kind devoted to water-loving plants, presents an abundance of diverse flora along with many different kinds of fauna, ranging from turtles, insects, snakes, and over 40 species of birds. A true nature lover’s oasis, you will find respite as you stroll along the pathways and view all the encompassing wild beauty. This is also the site of the Annual Water Lily & Lotus Festival—an event that attracts many visitors each year.

Related:  Best Spots for Picnics in Washington, D.C.

Lake Accotink Park
7500 Accotink Park Road
Springfield, VA 22150
(703) 569-3464
www.fairfaxcounty.gov

Visitors to Lake Accotink Park will enjoy infinitely endless possibilities for outdoor recreation within the 493 acres making up the stretch. Popular pastimes here include hiking, biking, golf, other sports and a host of recreational water fun around the park’s famous 55-acre lake. Boating, swimming and fishing are among Lake Accotink’s most popular pursuits. The park also offers many great locations for picnicking, with free picnic tables and pavilions available on a first-come, first-serve basis as well as special picnicking shelters and seating that can be reserved in advance.

Meridian Hill Park
2400 15th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 895-6000
www.nps.gov

In addition to serving as a splendid area to enjoy outdoor luncheons, D.C’s Meridian Hill Park stands out as an area draped in history and architecture. The “meridian” in its name comes from its reference point—the exact longitude north from the White House. It was also once home to departing President John Quincy Adams and was later the encampment site for Union Troops during the American Civil War. A park was constructed between 1912 and 1940, done in traditional Italian Garden style with several monuments and other marvels. Notable features here include the Joan of Arc statue, the James Buchanan Memorial, the Dante statue and the awe-inspiring 13-basin cascading fountain.

Related: Best Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C.

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