When the weather is gorgeous, skip the dining room table and head to the outdoors to enjoy your meal or nibbles al fresco. And where to go? There’s no shortage of outdoor destinations in North Texas, so to help narrow them down, we reviewed a couple dozen of our favorite idyllic picnic spots for laying out your blanket, from serene nature preserves to spacious city parks with amenities you’ll appreciate. Read below to see which ones are located near you.
Turtle Creek Park
Where: 3333 Turtle Creek Blvd., Dallas
Why we love it: The 23.4-acre Oak Lawn park overlooks the beautiful Turtle Creek. With plenty of restaurants nearby, you can pack your picnic or enjoy take-out at the creek’s shores. We recommend claiming a spot near the water and waterfalls for an ambient, peaceful picnic. The creek attracts mosquitos, so don’t forget the bug spray!
Good to know: Water fountains are available but there are no restrooms on-site.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Where: 8525 Garland Road, Dallas
Why we love it: Bask in the beauty of the arboretum and picnic with your family during your next visit. The stunning greenery provides a good backdrop for pictures too. The arboretum even outlines its favorite spots to picnic on the premises. Just bring a blanket or find a picnic table for a comfortable afternoon in the shade.
Good to know: Bathrooms and dining options are available. Admission prices vary by season.
Flag Pole Hill Park
Where: 8015 Doran Circle, Dallas
Why we love it: One of our favorite stops for kids of all abilities, Flag Pole Hill Park is a mainstay for families throughout Dallas and neighboring cities. At 107.1 acres, it’s one of the biggest on our list and has lots of options for your next family picnic. You can set up shop near the all abilities playground, the wooded area Northeast of the grand lawn or find your own unique spot on the massive grounds.
Good to know: This park can get quite popular as the temperatures rise, so be prepared to arrive early or walk a bit to claim the perfect spot. Outdoor restrooms and portable toilets are available.
Klyde Warren Park
Where: 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Dallas
Why we love it: For a picnic every family member will enjoy, Klyde Warren checks all the boxes. There’s plenty of room at the downtown Dallas park to lay out a picnic blanket, play a round of badminton or giant Jenga (rented from vendors on the Ginsburg Family Great Lawn) and grab a bite from the food trucks. If you have a kiddo with a ton of energy, make a stop at the Children’s Park where they can play it all out.
Good to know: Hand sanitizer is provided before entering the Children’s Park. Bathrooms can be found on-site.
Where: 4601 Lakeside Drive, Highland Park
Why we love it: While the beautiful Lakeside Park offers over 14 acres of landscaped grounds along Turtle Creek, your kids will love a chance to picnic with the Teddy Bear statues near the creek banks. There’s plenty of shady spots to lay out a picnic blanket at this park.
Good to know: Bring a water bottle and take a bathroom break beforehand; there’s no water or bathroom access on the premises.
Addison Circle Park
Where: 4970 Addison Circle, Addison
Why we love it: You may recognize this park as the home of Kaboom Town in July and Oktoberfest in September, but when it’s not setting off fireworks or hosting dachshund races, Addison Circle Park functions as a community 7.8-acre park off Belt Line Road. Pick and choose where to set out your picnic blanket at the gorgeous wide-open green space to stretch out and enjoy the Texas sun. For extra hot days, consider packing swimsuits and let your kiddos run through the interactive water features throughout the park.
Good to know: Bathrooms are located south of the main pavilion.
Where: 3875 Ponte Ave., Addison
Why we love it: Host to the Virtuvian Lights show in the winter, Vitruvian Park is beautiful year-round. The spring-fed creek and over 19 acres of green space invites picnickers and frolickers to the park. A gorgeous walkway along the creek connects to nature trails and other areas of the park.
Good to know: Restrooms and water fountains are not available on-site. Look out for the park’s future developments—like athletic fields and an interactive fountain.
Where: 5501 Celestial Road, Addison
Why we love it: The nicely kept grassy area is nestled within this inspirational, artistic park in Addison. It’s a perfect stop to sit and reflect with your kids. Tables, chairs and benches line the park and walking paths. We recommend climbing the celestial steps to view the human sundial before packing up your picnic basket.
Good to know: Bring water and make a bathroom trip before you go; there are no restrooms or water fountains onsite. Limited street parking available on Celestial Road.
Where: 1301 W. Belt Line Road, Richardson
Why we love it: For a sheltered or sunny picnic, consider this massive community park in the heart of Richardson. Home to picnic and playground equipment—including the Ann Eisemann Inclusive Playground—pavilions, two lakes and much more, Cottonwood Park has all you’ll need for an afternoon of fun.
Good to know: Restrooms are available on-site.
Fort Worth Botanic Garden
Where: 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth
Why we love it: They call it a sanctuary for the senses. And as the oldest botanic garden in Texas, it’s no surprise they’ve got something pretty special figured out. Kids can explore ponds, creeks, wooded acres and 26 specialty gardens, including the Japanese Garden. When you’re ready for a bite to eat, plop down at any of 19 designated picnic areas. Staff asks that picnicking guests leave their folding chairs, tables and large coolers at home.
Good to know: Need reinforcements? Pick up a few more bites at the on-site dining options also available at Rock Springs Cafe. Find restrooms located at the café, Japanese Garden, the main garden center, and Botanical Research Institute of Fort Worth.
Where: 2401 University Drive, Fort Worth
Why we love it: Along the banks of the Trinity River, Trinity Park is a good afternoon destination, or a perfect picnic stop after a visit to the Fort Worth Zoo. Home to a duck pond, miniature train, playgrounds and Trinity trails, it’s the ideal spot for a day full of adventure.
Good to know: Picnic pavilions, restrooms and water fountains are scattered about the park.
Fort Worth Water Gardens
Where: 1502 Commerce St., Fort Worth
Why we love it: A great spot to stop in the afternoon and feed the birds, Fort Worth Water Gardens provides more than just a picnic spot in the heart of Downtown Fort Worth. The unique water fountain features attract visitors as they wander throughout the urban plaza. Although there’s few picnic tables or benches, there’s a large lawn on the shady oasis to set up a picnic.
Good to know: The Gardens are located in downtown Fort Worth, so it’s usually busy when the weather’s nice. Restrooms are not available on-site.
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
Where: 9601 Fossil Ridge Road, Fort Worth
Why we love it: The wildlife sanctuary houses beautiful, local fauna and flora, which is highlighted throughout the center. Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge offers you the opportunity to teach your kiddos about nature before, during and after your picnic. Picnicking is only allowed in designated areas, but the trail map outlines places to stop throughout your visit to enjoy a bite to eat.
Good to know: Restrooms are available. The center is open 8am–5pm daily September through April, and 7am–5pm from May to August. Admission is $6 for adults; $2 for children 3–12; children under 3 are free.
Mallard Cove Park
Where: 375 Shadow Grass Ave., Fort Worth
Why we love it: This peaceful park is great for a nice, serene family picnic. There’s plenty of room to spread out and enjoy family time on the lawn—both near and far from the cove. Limited picnic benches can be found throughout the park, so we recommend bringing a blanket just in case they’re taken.
Good to know: No bathroom on-site.
Where: 3600 W. Arkansas Lane, Arlington
Why we love it: This patriotic park has it all: 103 acres, bike and hiking trails, an 18-hole disc golf course…the list goes on. The sheer size of the park makes it worth a stop, but the Wildscape and Xeriscape gardens warrant a long picnic. Playgrounds (one for tots and one for big kids), an equestrian trail and nature area are also available to entertain the family.
Good to know: Restrooms, 18 picnic table and 120 seats are available on-site.
Capp Smith Park
Where: 5800 Robin Drive, Watauga
Why we love it: For a nice picnic by the water, consider Capp Smith Park, with approximately nine natural springs within the lake area. If your family can fit on a park bench, there’s plenty surrounding the lake and playground areas, but there’s even more space to stay a while on a picnic blanket. If you’re visiting between Memorial Day and Labor Day, check out the Watauga Splash Pad on the premises.
Good to know: Fishing is allowed in the lake, but the City of Watauga encourages catch and release to keep the lake stocked. Workout stations, picnic tables and restrooms are available.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Where: 6701 W. Parker Road, Plano
Why we love it: With over 200 acres of green space, there’s no shortage of spots to stop and smell the roses after you hike or bike the paved trails within Arbor Hills. But don’t forget your bug spray—mosquitos and chiggers are active here in warmer months.
Good to know: If you prefer a picnic table over a picnic blanket, you’re in luck. There are picnic tables, bathrooms and water fountains surrounding the onsite playground. The preserve can get quite busy, so we recommend visiting for a mid-morning picnic to avoid the crowds. The park is open from 5am–11pm daily, except Wednesdays, when it’s closed from 5am–2pm for maintenance.
Bob Woodruff Park North
Where: 2601 San Gabriel Drive, Plano
Why we love it: The community park features a playground, sand volleyball court, fishing pier and paved trails, making it the perfect one-stop shop for picnic and play on a sunny day. Benches and the 0.7-mile hike and bike trail surround the park, but there’s lots of open space to have a bite to eat. We recommend a bench near the lake or setting out a blanket near the creek for some ambient noise while you picnic.
Good to know: On top of the multi-use courts and play surfaces, drinking fountains and restrooms can be found on-site.
Towne Lake Recreation Area
Where: 1405 Wilson Creek Parkway, McKinney
Why we love it: Whether you’re into picnic benches and tables or prefer to sprawl out on a blanket, there’s a spot waiting for you at Towne Lake Recreation Area. Play structures, an 18-hole disc golf course and fishing pier will keep your family busy for an afternoon of fun.
Good to know: The park also includes baseball fields, horseshoe courts and volleyball courts. Pavilions are first-come, first-served. Bathrooms are available behind the concessions stand.
Dayspring Nature Preserve
Where: 622 Rainforest Lane, Allen
Why we love it: If you’re sensing a theme, massive green spaces are the place to picnic and Dayspring Nature Preserve is just that. The 23.3-acre preserve provides a heavily wooded area, playground and pavilion for your next outdoor dining excursion. The looped pedestrian trail and hiking trails are great for family walks. The paved trails are even stroller friendly for those with a a baby in tow.
Good to know: If you’re looking for wildflowers, this preserve features a field of Indian paintbrushes and surrounding firewheels. Take a restroom break beforehand; there are no bathrooms on-site.
Bird’s Fort Trail Park
Where: 5756 Riverside Drive, Irving
Why we love it: For an afternoon full of history and finger sandwiches, consider Bird’s Fort Trail, named for Major Jonathan Bird and his crew’s trail from Fort Bird to Fort Inglish. Now, the park serves as a beautiful overlook, trail and canoe launch within close proximity to the Trinity River Paddling Trial.
Good to know: There’s parking, portable restrooms and designated picnic areas on the 57.9-acre park.
Where: 444 W. Second St., Irving
Why we love it: This park, celebrating Irving’s first 100 years of existence, is filled with history of the city. Visitors enter through the Arrival Plaza that houses statues of Irving’s co-founders. South of the plaza, set up shop at the stone and steel picnic pavilion to the east of the lake. A lighted concrete surface trail, Bennet’s Dog-Run Cabin and a 30-foot light spike round out this beautiful park.
Good to know: Portable restrooms and grills available on-site.
Doubletree Ranch Park
Where: 310 Highland Village Road, Highland Village
Why we love it: If you’re in the market for a one stop afternoon, look no further than Doubletree Ranch Park. You can walk the hiking trail, cool off in the splash pad, watch a soccer game and settle down on the grand lawn for a family picnic. The pavilion also has picnic benches for a shaded option.
Good to know: Parking and picnic tables are in abundance here. Bathrooms are new and well-maintained.
Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center
Where: 3310 Collins Road, Denton
Why we love it: For a unique picnic in nature, the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center features more than 2,900 acres of bottomland hardwood forest, upland prairie and diverse aquatic habitats. At the confluence of Clear Creek and the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, there’s a wide variety of wildlife and inhabitants to view as your family snacks away.
Good to know: There’s more than five miles of family-friendly hiking trails throughout the habitat. When the center is open (6am–10pm daily), restrooms and potable water are available. Admission is free.
Ray Roberts Lake State Park
Where: Isle du Bois Unit: 100 PW 4137, Pilot Point
Johnson Branch Unit: 100 PW 4153, Valley View
Why we love it: It can’t get much better than picnicking at a state park. At Ray Roberts Lake State Park, it’s worth the hour drive north of Dallas-Fort Worth to hike, bike, rollerblade and just about anything you can think of. For a great view of the lake, we recommend sitting at one of four picnic pavilions that overlook the lake or on the sandy beach.
Good to know: The state park offers a wide range of camping options for every family (outlined here).
Willow Grove Park
Where: 800 E. Hundley Drive, Lake Dallas
Why we love it: A scenic spot for your next picnic, the Willow Grove Park on Lake Lewisville is a beautiful, peaceful park to bask in the beauty of North Texas. Just minutes from I-35 in Lewisville, the peaceful waters of the park transport you to another world. Anglers can also cast a line off the fishing pier.
Good to know: The park offers overnight camping. Restrooms are available near the park’s entrance. The fee for parking is $5 daily.