After a long cold winter, spending time outdoors is on everyone’s mind. It’s hard to know which activity to choose, with all of the great biking trails, running clubs, swimming pools and outdoor concerts in the area. For those looking for a relaxing and easy-going outdoor activity, you may want to consider going to one of DC’s great local parks or gardens for a picnic. Picnics are fun for groups of friends, perfect for a casual date and ideal for a family outing. The following locations are five of the best venues for your next summertime picnic.
Theodore Roosevelt Island
Turkey Run Park
George Washington Memorial Parkway
McLean, VA 22101
This gorgeous nature reserve is full of hiking trails that are great to explore with your family. Afterwards, head to the enormous open-air memorial at the center of the Island, where you can enjoy a fabulous picnic. Located right along the Mount Vernon trail, you can easily bike here and spend the whole day hiking and picnicking. Just remember to pack enough food.
2000 Shorefield Road
Wheaton, MD 20902
Sligo Creek runs alongside a lengthy biking trail and 15 beautiful picnic spots, which is what makes it one of the most popular summertime destinations for DC residents. While walking or biking, you and your family or friends can stop multiple times for a small snack or a full meal. Where the trail ends in Wheaton Regional Park is one of the best areas for picnicking, as there is also a big playground for kids. After your picnic, check out the Brookside Nature Center, one of the park’s many exciting features.
3800 Donaldson Place N.W.
Washington, DC 20018
Fort Reno is one of DC’s most popular parks for picnics, and for good reason. Dogs are welcome, summer concerts are in abundance and the location is ideal. Close to the metro but big enough that it feels miles away from the city, this is the perfect spot to head to when the weather gets warm with a picnic basket full of goodies. Be sure to read up on the park’s historical significance before you head over so you can appreciate the venue and initiate some great picnic conversation.
The United States National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
This beautiful outdoor, living museum of trees and flowers is one of the most romantic spots to enjoy a picnic. After strolling through the various gardens and flower collections, head to the National Grove of State Trees to enjoy your picnic. Stop by the nearby Union Market beforehand to get all of your picnic goodies, including cheese and crackers, salads and even fresh juices. The arboretum’s website has information on tram tours and special exhibits.
1090 Ohio Drive S.W.
Washington, DC 20001
Hains Point is a great picnic spot within the East Potatoc Park located in between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. Here, you can enjoy a luxurious picnic while admiring the cherry blossoms, viewing the boats floating by or watching the various walkers, bikers, and joggers in the area. Because of the nearby waterways, there is always a pleasant breeze, so it will never get too hot to enjoy your picnic. There is also a golf course and tennis courts to burn off the calories from your meal.
Priya Konings is a freelance writer and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.