Pack a blanket, grab a bite, and get a feel for life in the ‘burbs.
There’s nothing like hunkering down with a picnic lunch — especially if you’re exploring suburbia. Between the A+ people-watching, opportunity to sample local restaurants, and plenty of space for your kids to cut loose and burn off some energy, picnicking your way through the ‘burbs will ensure you’re getting an insider perspective on spots to call “home.”
If you’re touring the DC suburbs, consider these picnic-perfect hotspots. Which are the best Picnic spots in DC suburbs?
#1. Wheaton Regional Park (Wheaton, MD)
If Wheaton is on your must-see suburbs list, don’t miss the chance to visit Wheaton Regional Park. This sprawling 536-acre green space is perfect for active families offering everything from horseback riding trails to tennis courts to a nature center and more. Plus, kids can’t get enough of the climbing equipment at Adventure Playground, riding the Huntington engine train, or taking a spin on the historic carousel.
Before heading to the park, stop by H-Mart for global snacks and prepared foods or get takeout from Ruan Thai or Max’s Kosher Cafe, a popular option for amazing sandwiches and falafel. No blanket? No problem. There are tons of picnic tables throughout the park.
#2. Lake Accotink (Springfield, VA)
This waterfront park hosts lots of family-friendly events throughout the year, including mountain biking lessons and summer camps — before heading over, check out on the calendar.
If your family loves to hike, be sure to swing through Lake Accontink’s 4 miles of trails. Rather be on the water? There are also ample spots for fishing, kayaking and boating on the lake.
The park is also home to cozy picnic areas complete with grills. If you plan to fire it up, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are nearby. If you’d rather just set up a blanket and not worry about cooking, grab a fresh Mediterranean meal from Eleni’s Greek Taverna or some creative Mexican fare from Taco Bamba.
#3. Gravelly Point (Arlington, VA)
Gravelly Point is the place to go for planespotting. Lay out your blanket and enjoy the sights and sounds of the air traffic from nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Locals also love this park for its cycling trails and plenty of spots to launch your boat.
For picnic supplies, Whole Foods Market and Harris Teeter are a quick drive away. You could also pick up a meal from Sweetgreen, Good Stuff Eatery or Jaleo, a well-known tapas spot run by renowned Chef Jose Andres.
#4. Bon Air Park (Arlington, VA)
Arlington is home to another great picnic spot: Bon Air Park. About seven miles from Gravelly Point, Bon Air Park has a very different vibe — here, expect manicured rose and tree gardens (and, as a result, plenty of wedding parties snapping pics).
While you’re here, be sure to stroll through the gardens and explore the 120+ varieties of roses before making your way to the playground or picnic areas. Some good spots to grab-and-go before hunkering down? Lebanese Taverna or The Italian Store.
#5. Locust Grove Nature Center (Bethesda, MD)
The Locust Grove Nature Center is a go-to for young families. This outdoor sanctuary hosts tons of programs for kids including a PreK Nature Explorer program and guided hikes. In addition to these programs, there are lots of trails to walk or hike, or you can gather your crew and take in the sweeping views from the observation deck.
Nearby Flower Child is a popular grab-and-go spot, ideal for picnickers. This unique eatery offers nutritious, plant-based bowls plus a healthy kid’s menu including gluten-free mac and cheese. There’s also a Balducci’s for more classic picnic fare.
#6. Georgetown Waterfront Park (Georgetown, DC)
The Georgetown Waterfront Park sits on the banks of the Potomac and is a favorite among kayakers, cyclists. and anyone who wants a spot to relax and recharge. The park is also known for its unique design elements, like the fountain and labyrinth.
If you’re planning a waterfront picnic, the nearby Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are good spots to stock up. There’s also Bandoola Bowl, Pizzeria Paradiso, Baked & Wired for a true taste of Georgetown, or Grace Street Coffee Roasters if you need a caffeine boost.
#7. Oronoco Bay Park (Alexandria, VA)
Oronoco Bay Park is a waterfront park and event space with plenty of space to picnic. Before settling in for your meal, take a stroll along the paved path or let the kids loose in the park’s wide-open green space.
While you’ll often find food trucks at the park, if you want to bring your own meal there’s Yunnan By Potomac Noodle House for Chinese soul, Grateful Kitchen Co. for smoothies and healthy breakfast options, plus Trader Joe’s for family favorites.
#8. Black Hill Regional Park (Boyds, MD)
This 2,000-acre park is the ultimate escape for local families. On the weekends, many locals head to Black Hill for kayaking excursions, hikes and, of course, picnics. There’s also a playground and a dog park so it’s perfect for everyone in the family.
With lots of chain options nearby, like Panera and Zoes Kitchen as well as Safeway and Wegmans, you won’t have any trouble finding picnic goodies on your way to the park.
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