We’re all itching to get out these days. And now that spring has sprung, why not take your family out and enjoy the beauty Dallas-Fort Worth has to offer? From spacious parks in the city to nature sanctuaries, there’s a picnic spot for every family in North Texas. Here’s a few of our favorite places to lay out a picnic blanket.
Addison Circle Park // Addison
Where: 4970 Addison Circle
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 amok through the interactive water features throughout the park.
Good to know: Bathrooms are located south of the main pavilion.
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve // Plano
Where: 6701 W. Parker Road
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.
Bird’s Fort Trail Park // Irving
Where 5756 Riverside Drive
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.
Bob Woodruff Park North // Plano
Where 2601 San Gabriel Drive
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 onsite.
Capp Smith Park // Watauga
Where 5800 Robin Drive
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 after Memorial 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.
Celestial Park // Addison
Where 5501 Celestial Road
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.
Centennial Park // Irving
Where: 444 W. Second St.
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 onsite.
Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center // Denton
Where 3310 Collins Road
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.
Cottonwood Park // Richardson
Where 1301 W. Belt Line Road and S. Cottonwood Drive
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 onsite.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden // Dallas
Where 8525 Garland Road
Why we love it: Bask and picnic in the beauty of the arboretum during your next visit with the family. 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.
Dayspring Nature Preserve // Allen
Where 622 Rainforest Lane
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 onsite.
Doubletree Ranch Park // Highland Village
Where 310 Highland Village Road
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, splash in the splash pad (open weekends only starting May 1, then daily starting May 31, except Tuesdays), 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.
Flag Pole Hill Park // Dallas
Where 8015 Doran Circle
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.
Fort Worth Water Gardens // Fort Worth
Where 1502 Commerce St.
Why we love it: A great spot to stop in the afternoon and feed the birds (tuppence a bag), 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 // Fort Worth
Where 9601 Fossil Ridge Road
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 through April, and 7am–5pm from May to September. Admission for adults is $6; children 3–12 are $2; children under 3 are free.
Klyde Warren Park // Dallas
Where 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway
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 Truck Park. 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: All guests ages 10 and up are asked to wear masks if they are unable to socially distance. Hand sanitizer is provided before entering the Children’s Park. Bathrooms can be found onsite.
Lakeside Park // Highland Park
Where 4601 Lakeside Drive
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.
Mallard Cove Park // Fort Worth
Where 375 Shadow Grass Ave.
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: There’s no bathroom onsite.
Ray Roberts Lake State Park // Pilot Point
Where 100 PW 4137
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: Make it a weekend! The state park offers a wide range of camping options for every family (outlined here).
Towne Lake Recreation Area // McKinney
Where 1405 Wilson Creek Parkway
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.
Trinity Park // Fort Worth
Where 2401 University Drive
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.
Turtle Creek Parkway // Dallas
Where 3333 Turtle Creek Blvd.
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 onsite.
Veterans Park // Arlington
Where 3600 W. Arkansas Lane
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 onsite.
Vitruvian Park // Addison
Where 3875 Ponte Ave.
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 onsite. Look out for the park’s future developments—like athletic fields and an interactive fountain.
Willow Grove Park // Lake Dallas
Where 800 E. Hundley Drive.
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.
Image courtesy of iStock.