- Alexis Larsen
- Tabatha Wharton Contributing Writer
It’s the perfect time of year to plan a picnic — whether it’s with your love, your friends or your family.
Our goal is to make picnic planning simple for you so you can relax and enjoy.
We’ve scoured the area to discover the most scenic, friendly, and fun places to set out your blanket and enjoy delicious food in the great outdoors.
In 1950, Carillon Historical Park’s museum complex opened with the purpose of showcasing the region’s industrial innovations, transportation achievements, and Dayton’s contributions to world progress. Since construction first began on Deeds Carillon in 1940, the dreams of Edith and Edward Deeds have evolved into a beautiful 65-acre campus—designed by the Olmsted Brothers (the famed landscape architects responsible for Central Park)—containing dozens of museum buildings, countless artifacts, and picturesque green space perfect for a relaxing picnic.
John Bryan is the most scenic state park in western Ohio. The 752-acre park contains a remarkable limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River which is designated as a state and national scenic river. A portion of the gorge itself is designated as a national natural landmark. With both reservable covered picnic areas, a day lodge, and picnic tables available at all campsites, there are plenty of places with remarkable views to enjoy a bite with your buds and besties.
Nestled around the Fraze Pavillion, this master-planned outdoor space in Kettering offers the perfect picnic atmosphere with all the modern convenience of a professional venue. Check the schedule for the Fraze to see what events coordinate with your picnic plans -- or just bring a blanket and grab your meal from Ernie’s concession stand.
Head to the Cedar Lake Shelter for a lake view, 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.View full experience