It’s International Picnic Day and SCBD has you covered for finding the perfect place to put down your blanket and open up that picnic basket! NJ and NYC have some parks with amazingly picturesque views and we are going to share some of our favorites with you.
If you’re unsure of what food to pack for you picnic, we have you covered there too! Why not try one of my favorites, Mason jar salads. They are a no mess way to pack your favorite greens and they look pretty too! I recently made some Thai Peanut Mason jar salads which I featured on my blog, Behind the Plates, that were a huge hit. Check out the recipe here: http://www.behindtheplates.com/thaipeanutmasonjarsalads/
Pack up your mason jars, a bottle of wine (if you’re not with the kiddies), and head to one of these great spots.
My 5 picks for New Jersey Parks:
Allaire State Park; Wall Township, NJ — This was a family favorite of mine growing up. My mom used to pack up a big picnic lunch and we would go spend the afternoon. Take one of the many hiking trails, observe the wildlife or head to Allaire Village (Which was my favorite part of this park). Allaire Village is a preserved 19th century community complete with a general store, re-enactments and even a fun little old-fashioned train that still gives rides.
Liberty State Park- Jersey City, NJ — If you want an afternoon with a view, this is a good bet. Overlooking New York City and just 2,000 feet away from the Statue of Liberty makes for a very scenic experience. You can also take the ferry right out of this park to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty.
Verona Park; Verona, NJ — Every time I drive past Verona Park it makes me want to get out and spend the day. The park overlooks a gorgeous lake and it is always a buzz with families, walkers and bikers enjoying themselves. Another great perk of this park is the opportunity to go paddle boating on the lake. A picnic and a boat ride sounds like the perfect day to me!
Homdel Park; Holmdel, NJ — This was another park I frequented while growing up. The lush park has great walking trails, a playground and a petting zoo (aka Longstreet Farm). There is also a specified picnic area that would be perfect for enjoying your Mason Jar Peanut Salads.
Historic Smithville Park; Mt. Holly, NJ — Visitors to the Historic Smithville Park can choose from a wide array of activities post-picnic. Take on a day of fishing, hiking, canoeing, bird watching or shopping! I know the shopping option sounds out of place. But, Historic Smithville also has a historic village that has been transformed into a string of shoppes that include crafting, gifts, photography and more.
New York City Parks
Prospect Park-Brooklyn — This park has nearly a 150 year history. As their park alliance describes it, it is a “585-acre oasis.” It’s bench-marked with historical landmarks throughout the park and there are endless way to enjoy the greens ranging from the zoo, tennis center, basketball courts, playgrounds, carousel, concert area and so much more.
Washington Square Park; NYC, NY — Parks like this prove that there is grass in some parts of the concrete city. Most people know the park from its famous archway but, the park serves as a great refuge for those needing a day to relax and escape the city streets.
Central Park; NYC, NY — I’m sure this one comes as no surprise to most of you. Central Park is a hub of activity on any nice day. Its expansive grounds give way to soccer balls, Frisbees, runners, zoo goers and of course picnics.
Governors Island; NYC, NY — This seasonal park is open from May until September. During the summer months you can take the short ferry out to the island for an afternoon away from the big city. Take an afternoon snooze in one of their 50 hammocks; watch one of the softball or baseball games that are sure to be under way or just take a stroll and take in the great view of the NYC skyline.
East River State Park; Brooklyn, NY — This is a smaller park but, the waterfront view overlooking Manhattan is sure to please. Have a catch, snap some pictures and hang on your picnic blanket for a relaxing afternoon with a view.