Perfect picnic weather is just around the corner and now is the time to start scouting your locations.
With Earth Day happening on April 22 followed by National Picnic Day on April 23 it’s time to get a plan together to execute the perfect outdoor feast.
Sarah Magilvy, marketing generalist for Five Rivers MetroParks, canvassed the staff for some of the best picnic spots in the parks system. Here’s what the staff recommends:
Carriage Hill MetroPark: Head to the Cedar Lake Shelter for a lake view, ADA parking, fishing (no license required) and nature trails. With a historic farm just a short walk down the road there are plenty of great spots to scope out.
Eastwood MetroPark: The River View Shelter overlooking the Mad River Run area at Eastwood is the place to be with great views overlooking the Mad River and new kayak and river play area. This is a spot close to a playground and other park amenities. The Thompson Shelter in the North Park of Englewood MetroPark also provides an excellent picnic experience. There is a wonderful view from the shelter and the area includes fishing and water access as well as opportunities for wildlife observation. A picnic at Patty Shelter is close enough to let the kids play in the nature play area, and then head out on a short hike ½ mile hike along the purple trail to check out Patty Falls. There’s access to nature play area, ADA flush toilets and parking, hiking trails and access to sports equipment available at no charge.
Germantown MetroPark: Head south of the Germantown Dam on the opposite side of the Creek from the main Dam Parking area. While you are setting up the picnic, let the kids hunt for fossils and splash in the water below the dam as long as water levels are low. Stone imprints from the Ordovician time period such as prehistoric snails, trilobites, and squid-like creatures with hard shells can all be found by the inquisitive and careful explorer.
Hills & Dales MetroPark: The Paw Paw Shelter has an elegant Adirondack design, fireplace, electricity and ADA flush toilets. An alcohol permit can be purchased. This is a good spot for larger groups (it seats up to 100).
Possum Creek MetroPark: Follow the purple trail through the enchanted Argonne Forest where remnants of a once-vibrant entertainment center is now currently intermingled with moss, vines and old trees. Stop at the ballroom dance floor, spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch. There’s also a Hickory Shelter with an Argonne Lake view, fishing (no license required), hiking trails and a smaller-more intimate shelter.
Taylorsville MetroPark: There is a small remote picnic area about 1.25 miles north of the parking lot located at 2005 U.S. Rte. 40. The picnic spot is located at the remnants of the village of Tadmore, which was once the busiest crossroads in Montgomery County. The village was situated at the intersection of The Miami-Erie Canal, the National Road, the Dayton Michigan Railroad and the Great Miami River. Hike or bike the 1.25 miles on the Great Miami Recreational Trail, which is relatively flat and mostly shaded. If you are looking for a slightly more adventurous walk, you can walk along the tow path trail that parallels the bikeway. There’s also the CCC Shelter, featuring a rustic, secluded atmosphere, stone fireplace located near hiking trails.
Twin Creek MetroPark: The High View Shelter offers panoramic and scenic views of the Twin Valley, access to nature trails and fishing (no license required) at Dogwood Pond. It’s an intimate, location for a romantic picnic (seats 15 max.) with great views. Up for a little family adventure? Pack a picnic lunch, park at the High View parking lot and enjoy a hike along the 2.9-mile yellow loop, stopping at Dogwood Pond for lunch along the way.
Wegerzyn Garden MetroPark: Spend the day touring the formal gardens or visiting the Children’s Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. Make a day of it by staying for a picnic in the area that is available to the south of the gardens. A reservable shelter is also available.