Daffodils in bloom at Cox Arboretum MetroPark. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Photo: Lisa Powell
Photo: Lisa Powell

BEST OF DAYTON: The best places for a picnic

All of these sunny days have us thinking about spending more time outdoors. One simple way to enjoy nature’s beauty is with a simple pleasure: a good, old-fashioned picnic breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner.

>> Where to go for a picnic in Dayton

When it comes to picturesque settings, Dayton has an overabundance. We asked the people of Dayton to tell us their go-to spots for a picnic. Here are the top three winners of Best Picnic in Dayton.com’s Best of 2018 contest.

>> Complete list of Best of Dayton winners

WINNER: Cox Arboretum 

People enjoy springtime at Cox Arboretum MetroPark
Photo: Five Rivers MetroPark

It doesn’t get much more beautiful than this. Cox Arboretum. While you’re there, don’t miss a chance to climb Dayton’s iconic tree tower, which provides breathtaking, panoramic views of the Arboretum grounds and the Miami Valley. There’s also a butterfly house. This beautiful 174-acre facility is a true retreat with trees, shrubs, specialty gardens, mature forests and prairies. Don’t forget to pack a blanket!

Want to go?

6733 N Springboro Pike, Dayton | WebsiteFacebook 

Cox Arboretum MetroPark

SECOND PLACE: Carillon Park 

A couple enjoy a picnic lunch at Carillon Historical Park in Dayton. 
Photo: Lisa Powell/Lisa Powell

Pack a lunch or dinner and head to this beautiful 65-acre campus — designed by the Olmsted Brothers (the famed landscape architects responsible for Central Park). Carillon contains dozens of museum buildings, countless artifacts, and picturesque green space perfect for a relaxing picnic.

Want to go?

1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton | WebsiteFacebook 

THIRD PLACE: Hills & Dales MetroPark

Hills and Dales MetroPark (Contributed by Five Rivers MetroParks)

If you’re looking for a picnic spot for a large group, Hills & Dales is a must.

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).

Hills & Dales also includes a scenic pond at what is now Dogwood Camp, playgrounds, a John Patterson Monument and hiking trails. 

Want to go?

2655 S. Patterson Blvd., Dayton | WebsiteFacebook