10 spots for the perfect picnic

It’s time to dust off the checkered picnic basket + blanket and take advantage of the fresh air.

A wicker picnic basket sitting on top of a blue plaid blanket on green grass.

Pack a basket for an al fresco experience.

With spring in full swing, it’s time to take your lunch outside. That isn’t hard to do in a naturally beautiful place like Asheville, so we’ve rounded up a few of the best nearby spots to enjoy a picnic.

Botanical Gardens at Asheville, 151 WT Weaver Blvd.
This easily accessible spot is ideal for lunching and learning about native plants and flowers, whether in the sunshine or in the shade. The gardens are open from sunrise to sunset every day, with parking and restrooms on-site.

Carrier Park, 220 Amboy Rd.
Plenty of parking and grilling spots aren’t the only things this park has to offer. Work up an appetite playing on one of the volleyball or basketball courts or skating on the velodrome.

Hominy Creek River Park, 220 Hominy Creek Rd.
One of the county’s seven river parks, the waterfront spot is perfect for picturesque picnicking. Set up at a table, grab a grill, or simply find a clear spot on the grass. And if you follow the creek a little north, you can set up instead at the city’s Hominy Creek Greenway.

North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
If it’s spring beauty you’re looking for, then the Arboretum is a good place to start. Bring your own basket of goodies to set up around the garden or on the lawn, or get some to-go food from the bistro.

Pack Square Park, 80 Court Plaza
There’s nothing like a packed lunch after a day of playing in the water. Cool off in the fountains at Splasheville and refuel with a picnic on the green.

People enjoying a picnic at a concrete picnic table, surrounded by yellow flowers.

Surround yourself in the wildflower blooms at Craggy Gardens picnic area.

Photo by National Park Service

Lake Julian Park, 406 Overlook Rd., Arden
We do love a good place for waterfront dining. But Lake Julian offers more than that — post-picnic, you can enjoy disc golf, a playground, and even paddleboats.

Lake Louise Park, Lake Louise Dr., Weaverville
Any patch of grass around the lake will do for a scenic meal (especially the iconic red water wheel) — picnic shelters are first come, first served.

Bearwallow Mountain, 4854 Bearwallow Mountain Rd., Hendersonville
The easy (although quite vertical) two-mile-round-trip hike takes you up to a gorgeous meadow with sweeping views. Just be warned: In the summer, you might be sharing your snacks with the mountain’s bovine residents.

Craggy Gardens Picnic Area, 3676 Blue Ridge Pkwy., Barnardsville
Travel the winding roads of the Blue Ridge Parkway for a scenic meal surrounded by colorful wildflowers and blossoming rhododendrons (they’ll peak in early to mid-June). The picnic area is open daily until sunset with grills and plenty of parking available.

Max Patch, Max Patch Rd., Hot Springs
You’ll have to travel a bit over an hour to see these 360-degree views, but we promise they are well worth the drive. Throw down your picnic blanket and take in the stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains.

Now if packing your own basket doesn’t appeal, then there are plenty of local shops and eateries to lighten the culinary load. Grab a premade basket from Asheville Picnic Company or The Rhu, get some charcuterie to go from South Slope Cheese Co., or explore an inexpensive local lunch choice.

The fun doesn’t have to stop here. Explore all the parks our city has to offer with our guide to parks in Asheville.

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