New York

Best Picnic Spots in Nature

Cook a fresh meal from a Hibachi-style grill top at a salvaged wood table while relaxing along the waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The park’s re-used materials, native vegetation and natural infrastructure of coastal wetlands promise to make this picnic experience great and green.

Grab a table located outside of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Contact Station before checking out the marshes and wetlands which support one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeast and on of the best places in New York City to observe migrating birds.

Have a picnic on Staten Island at tables located near Willowbrook Park's Eaton Place Entrance. Then enjoy a hike along one of six hiking trails featuring a lowland forest of tuliptrees, sweetgum and red maples and a five-acre lake where many species of birds visit to nest and eat.

In the middle of Manhattan's Central Park, the Arthur Ross Pinetum provides an oasis of pine trees, picnic areas and playgrounds perfect for a gathering. Nature-lovers in the city can also sign up for a free Central Park bird walks taking place in spring and fall.

Plan a picnic at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx where nearly 3,000 acres of forest, marshland and rocky coastline support mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds. Spring is the perfect time to view migrating birds and the annual courtship flight of the American woodcock.

Lay your picnic blanket down along the beautiful shoreline of the El Dorado Beach Preserve. Here, sand dunes, wetlands, bays and coves support rare plants, and serve as breeding grounds for migratory birds and a nursery for spawning fish and amphibians.

Take a break from the series of trails along the Conservancy’s Frenchman’s Bluff Preserve and enjoy a meal over a bird’s eye view of the Chemung River. The open meadows, wildlife ponds, shale cliff and talus slopes have much to offer for the nature lover.

Enjoy a picnic lunch in a naturalist's paradise and a view-hiker's dream. The Coon Mountain Nature Preserve in the Adirondacks is famous for its mysterious and craggy interior and rocky outcrops and dark hemlock forests that are breeding grounds for frogs and salamanders.

Plan your picnic at Arthur Butler Memorial Sanctuary in Bedford, Westchester County. Offering more than four miles of trails, a pair of binoculars and a smart phone is all you'll need to explore this bird-watching hotspot via audio tour.

Indulge your taste buds and senses with a picnic featuring views of the Peconic Estuary. The 2,039-acre Mashomack Nature Preserve is a birder's and botanist's paradise with freshwater marshes, fields, woodlands and creeks harboring ospreys, piping plover, least tern and rare plants.


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