Whether on a sandy shore or a wide-open green expanse, who doesn't love a picnic? Grab a blanket, stuff your picnic basket to the brim, and lay out at any one of these picturesque destinations.Less
For a unique treat, picnic in a protected cove overlooking the cities of the San Francisco Bay area. The island was a hunting and fishing ground for the Miwok people, and has since served as a military base, an immigration station, a WWII Japanese internment camp, and a Nike missile site. There are 13 miles of roads and trails around the island, including a hike to the summit of 788ft Mt Livermore (no bicycles) and a 5-mile perimeter trail.
Grant Park hosts the the Windy City's mega-events, such as Taste of Chicago, Blues Fest, and Lollapalooza. Buckingham Fountain is the park's centerpiece, while the skateboard park in the southwest corner draws a cool-cat crowd. Other features include a rose garden and loads of baseball diamonds.
For a unique picnic setting, try Mountain View Cemetery, perhaps the most serene and lovely artificial landscape in Oakland's East Bay. Located at the northern end of Piedmont Avenue and designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (the landscape architect of New York City’s Central Park), this 226-acre locale is great for walking or settling down for a bite to eat.
This section of the park, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges in the northern section of Dumbo, contains a sweeping grassy lawn with stunning views of New York City's East River. Take a turn on the lovingly restored 1922 Jane’s Carousel or stroll through the shrubby landscaped gardens and walking tracks to find the best vantage point for that essential Brooklyn Bridge photograph.
The northernmost tip of the Jersey Shore is the Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area, a 7-mile barrier island at the entrance to New York Harbor. From your beach blanket, you can see the NYC skyline. The wide beaches, including NJ's only legal nude beach (Gunnison), are edged by a system of bike trails, while the bay side is great for fishing, kayaking and bird-watching.
The reward for hikers who make it all the way through bog and forest to the far end of the Alaka‘i Swamp Trail, the Kilohana Lookout (4022ft) commands phenomenal views across steepling Wainiha Valley and Hanalei Bay to the ocean.
Georgia's largest and southernmost barrier island is an unspoiled paradise. A campers' fantasy, place for family day trips, and a secluded retreat for couples – it's no wonder the wealthy Carnegie family used Cumberland as a retreat (Dungeness Ruins) in the 1800s. The 36,415 acres consist of marsh, mudflats, and tidal creeks. Plus, 17 miles of wide, sandy beach that you'll likely have to yourself. The interior has maritime forest and mysterious jagged tree-lined pathways.