Awesome Spring Activities Sent to You!

Best Picnic Spots for Families in NYC, Long Island, Westchester, Rockland, and Bergen

Best Picnic Spots for Families in NYC, Long Island, Westchester, Rockland, and Bergen

Here are the best places to go on a picnic with your family in the New York metro area.


No matter how old your kids are—or you are for that matter—picnics are simple pleasures that everyone can enjoy. Grab a checkered blanket, your favorite foods, and head to one of these best places to have a picnic in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Rockland, Bergen, and Westchester. These spots typically also offer more than just picnic areas—like breathtaking views, hiking trails, fun playgrounds, photo ops, historic sites, and more. Here are some of our local favorites.

Manhattan
Brooklyn
Queens
Nassau
Suffolk
Rockland
Bergen
Westchester

Best Picnic Spots in Manhattan

1. Carl Schurz Park

East 86th Street and East End Avenue, Upper East Side

Carl Schurz Park may not be as large as other parks in NYC, but it compacts everything you need within its gates, making it one of the best picnic spots in NYC for locals and visitors alike! It’s located along the East River (running from East 84th to 90th streets) with scenic views as your family walks along the promenade. Enjoy beautiful views of the river, the lighthouse at the tip of Roosevelt Island, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge), and Randall’s and Wards islands. Plus, you’re right next to Gracie Mansion, the 18th-century mansion where the Mayor resides. There are restrooms and a playground. For added fun, your family may love a ride on the NYC Ferry. The East 90th Street stop is at the top of the park. Your dog will also love the picnic trip as Carl Schurz Park is incredibly dog-friendly; your four-legged friend will adore the two dog parks within.

2. Great Hill, Central Park

Central Park, between west 102nd and 107th streets, Upper West Side

A picnic in Central Park should be on everyone’s bucket list, and there are countless spots to choose from, but we suggest Great Hill, a picturesque spot in the northern part of Central Park. It was originally designed by the park planners as a Carriage Concourse but now serves as one of the best picnic spots in NYC. It’s a large open meadow on a hilltop surrounded by stately trees, ideal for a picnic lunch while people-watching. It’s considered a quieter and more isolated area to enjoy a picnic in Central Park. There are picnic tables and a restroom and some hiking trails in the North Woods that you can enjoy as a family when finished with your meal.

 

3. Roosevelt Island

FDR Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island is a beautiful spot to have a picnic and to spend the entire day as a family. You can easily walk along the waterfront of this 2 mile-long island with gorgeous views of Manhattan and Queens. Finding a picnic spot is easy as there are various little parks where you can sprawl out and eat at your leisure. A fun treat to do with children is to take the Roosevelt Island Tramway there from East 59th Street in Manhattan (you can use a MetroCard!). There are plenty of spots to grab food. There is also a playground and you’ll no doubt find an ice cream truck driving around on nice days. The southern tip has one of the best picnic spots in NYC, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. This small triangular park is lined with manicured breezy trees with views of Manhattan (you’ll have a perfect view of the United Nations) and Queens on either side. Fun fact: The island was once used to keep prisoners and quarantine contagious smallpox patients so you can find historical and educational landmarks as you walk around including the Renwick Ruin, a former smallpox hospital and the Octagon tower, the remnant of an insane asylum. On the northern tip you’ll find the 19th-century Blackwell Island lighthouse on a surrounding park with gorgeous views of NYC. This New England-feeling area is also a prime picnic location. For those that love waterfront promenades and history, this is the best picnic spot in NYC for you!

4. The Battery Oval

Battery Park, Lower Manhattan

A lush green circular outdoor area in Downtown Manhattan, the Battery is surrounded by the SeaGlass Carousel, 195,000 square feet of gardens that are open every day at no cost, and bike paths. The 2-acre lawn of the Battery Oval is a perfect place for a leisurely picnic if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of tourists and business-folk in the Financial District. Afterward, you can walk around Battery Park and meditate in the beauty of watching the sunset behind the Statue of Liberty. Other fun options in the area include seeing the nearby Charging Bull statue, taking selfies in front of The Oculus building, paying your respects at the 9/11 Memorial, taking the ferry to Governors Island, or going for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by The Battery (@thebatterynyc)

 

5. Riverside Park 

Along the Hudson River, from West 72nd to West 158th streets, Upper Manhattan

Riverside Park is 4 miles long, providing ample opportunity to find the best place for a picnic in NYC. You can picnic on one of the benches while enjoying a waterfront scene or by dropping your blanket down on the grass. Your little ones may enjoy watching the boats at the 110-slip public marina at 79th street, or one of the multiple playgrounds found in the area. Dinosaur Playground, at 97th street, is certainly unique with its dinosaur statues and it includes a spray shower which children always love in warm weather.

Best Picnic Spots in Brooklyn

1. Long Meadow, Prospect Park

Prospect Park West and 3rd Street, Park Slope 

Almost 1 mile of open green space greets you in the Long Meadow, a welcome spot for many family picnics and other outdoor parties or recreational activities. The Prospect Park Zoo is nearby as a fun excursion after lunch, as well as some trails to explore. Plus, the nearby Ravine is a trail that features some waterfalls! There are conveniently several public restrooms found throughout the park. Prospect Park is so large, you could pick a new picnic spot every day and have a wonderful experience, hence why this is one of the best picnic spots in NYC.

2. Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 2 Uplands 

Clark and Furman streets, Downtown Brooklyn 

One of the best—and newest!—picnic spots in NYC, Pier 2 provides gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline. This new park, completed in 2020, is a 6,300-square-foot lawn. Children will love the water play area made from salvaged pieces from the construction of Pier 3, and you’ll love the peaceful vibe among the nearly 1,300 trees and shrubs and the noise-reducing berm to suppress traffic noise. The park has seating made from granite from the Brooklyn Bridge, and active families will enjoy the nearby basketball courts, roller skating rink, and squash, shuffleboard and bocce courts. Pier 2 is open daily, 6am-8pm, but check the latest hours before heading over.

3. Brighton Beach 

Atlantic Ocean, from Ocean Parkway to Corbin Place, Coney Island

Picnics on the beach are a classic family activity, and Brighton Beach is one of the best picnic spots in NYC to partake in this pastime. This spot is a popular destination but may be less crowded than its famous neighbor, the Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk. There are myriad authentic ethnic restaurants that line Brighton Beach Avenue; they are especially known for their strong Russian and Eastern European communities and food, so you can grab your favorite grub before planting the beach towel. Enjoy a swim and walk the boardwalk all the way to Coney Island where your family will have a blast at the admirable amusement park. There are restrooms in the area if needed. Want to check it out before you go? Here is a live video of the boardwalk.

4. McCarren Park

776 Lorimer St., Williamsburg

This popular park, always bubbling with activity, is a favorite of Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents (it spans both neighborhoods) where many gather for games of soccer, basketball, tennis, baseball and the like, including bocce. The grounds also include a playground, an Olympic-sized swimming pool (currently closed due to the pandemic) and a running track. There are designated barbecuing areas if you want to grill a delicious family picnic and there is a restroom on premises.

 

5. McKinley Park

7th Avenue and 75th Street, Bay Ridge

This small Bay Ridge neighborhood hangout is a stereotypical all-American park with a turf ballfield with bleachers where little league games are often played, a tennis court, and a playground for children. There is a spacious lawn and this idyllic spot makes for one of the best picnic spots in NYC, plus it’s less crowded than some of the more popular parks in the borough. In the summer there is a free program called Arts in the Park, a free reading series for children. There are dog-friendly areas so you can bring the whole family, canine included.

 

Best Picnic Spots in Queens

1. Socrates Sculpture Park

32-01 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City 

On the border of Long Island City and Astoria, you’ll find this 5-acre waterfront park, which will add some artistic flair to your family adventure, making it one of the best picnic spots in NYC for those that love arts and culture. There are outdoor sculptures and multimedia installations that are continuously updated, and the park also has some garden areas—all open year-round without an entry fee. There are also some beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline. Before going, you can look up their current workshops and family-friendly event schedule to tie in with your picnic. Leashed dogs are allowed and the park is fully accessible to handicap individuals and strollers.

2. Gantry Plaza State Park

4-09 47th Road, Long Island City

One of the best picnic spots in NYC can be found in Long Island City at Gantry Plaza State Park. This hip riverside spot has similar industrial vibes to the urban design of the Highline in Manhattan. There are four piers overlooking the water with views of the Empire State Building and the United Nations; the location also offers a playground, a café to grab lunch or coffee, and plenty of grassy area to set down your picnic basket. There is a fun spray pad area for children—swimsuits are required, and it’s only open when a lifeguard is on duty. For fishing hobbyists, there is a fishing pier with its own cleaning table, however grilling is not permitted in the park.

3. Ridgewood Reservoir

Highland Park, Jackie Robinson Parkway, Glendale

This sweeping 50+ acre reservoir in Highland Park, found on top of the Harbor Hill Moraine, was formed by a glacier and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding area, including the Rockaways, the Atlantic Ocean, Woodhaven, and cemeteries. There are grassy areas around the reservoir where you can hunker down for your picnic. You and your children will have fun spotting the collection of birds (the National Audubon Society has recorded more than 130 bird species) and wildlife that can be found roaming the diverse landscape of wetlands, fields and forest.

4. Cunningham Park

196-10 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows

Cunningham Park is one of the largest parks in Queens, and without a doubt one of the best picnic spots in NYC. It has everything you need for a perfect family picnic and outing, especially if you want to use one of the barbecue areas. For those aspiring to have an athletic day, there are basketball courts, baseball fields, tennis courts, cricket fields, bike lanes, bocce courts and volleyball nets. Your children will appreciate the splash areas and playground and you can walk off your meal on one of the hiking trails.

5. Forest Park 

Myrtle Avenue and Union Turnpike, Forest Hills

This bucolic park lives up to its name and you have vast opportunities to test out and find your favorite picnic spot in this more than 500 acre placid locale. Try sitting next to one of the various lakes or on a bench nestled in pine tree woods. The family can enjoy the hiking trails amongst the beautiful Oak trees, and there is also a private stable where you can rent horses. One of the city’s most challenging golf courses can be found on the grounds. There are also the typical park amenities such as softball, baseball, tennis and bocce. In the summer there are free concerts.  You and your children will have countless charming picnics as you continue to explore this sprawling park. Fun fact: The same landscape architect who designed Central Park and Prospect Park also designed Forest Park, but this idyllic spot is less well known and has fewer visitors—making it one of the perfect picnic spots in NYC!



 

Best Picnic Spots in Nassau County

1. North Hempstead Beach Park 

175 W. Shore Road, Port Washington

North Hempstead Beach Park boasts 34 acres of sandy beach where Nassau County residents can kayak, fish, and standup paddleboard. There is also a promenade where you can take a stroll along the waterfront, a fishing pier, basketball and shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, and a playground, as well as designated picnic areas with barbecues and shelter pavilions. Just keep in mind that permits are required for use of the fields and picnic area.

2. Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park and Coe Hall

1395 Planting Fields Road, Oyster Bay

With 409 acres of gorgeous grounds, Planting Fields offers families a nature’s bounty to explore before or after your picnic. During the spring and summer months you can find colorful gardens, plenty of greenery and greenhouses, and hands-on programs for children to enjoy. While there, be sure to take a tour inside the mansion.

3. Eisenhower Park

Merrick and Stewart avenues, East Meadow

While Eisenhower Park is located in the middle of a very busy part of Nassau county, once you’re in the park, you’ll quickly forget about all of the hustle and bustle. Located on 930 acres, there are a number of picnic areas, as well as athletic fields and courts, playgrounds, and a 2-mile fitness trail. There's even an 18-hole miniature-golf course, batting cages, and a spray park where kids can cool off on a hot summer day.

4. Old Westbury Gardens

71 Old Westbury Road, Old Westbury

There is no shortage of beautiful blooms at Old Westbury Gardens. In fact, the location is home to 200 acres of gardens, ponds and lakes. And don’t forget about the historic mansion which offers guided tours. There are designated areas for picnicking and a café. During the summer months, there is often live music and other activities going on around the venue.

 

Best Picnic Spots in Suffolk County

1. Indian Island County Park

Indian Point Road, Riverhead

This beautiful park is located at the tip of the Peconic River so families can picnic right at the water. There is also hiking, fishing, bird watching and even a camping site with restrooms and shower facilities if you decide to stay the night. Across the street is a small farm home where your little ones can frolic with peacocks, goats, and other animals.

2. Jones Beach State Park 

1 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh

There is a reason why Jones Beach is New York’s most visited state park. Families can use the designated picnic areas at Field 6 or the approved barbecue areas at Fields 5 or 10 before heading over to enjoy the sandy beach and beautiful ocean. There is also a boardwalk where you can buy some ice cream, take a bike ride, play miniature golf and shuffleboard, and listen to live music at the seashell. The Jones Beach Nature Center is open to visitors who want to learn about a variety of topics from endangered species to maritime habitats, and there is a new adventure course with zip lines, aerial adventures, and a 40-foot jump.

3. Heckscher State Park 

Heckscher Parkway Field 1, East Islip

The 1,600 acre of Heckscher State Park has shady picnic groves. Kids can play ball at one of the open fields, or everyone can take a walk or bike ride on the four miles of paved, multi-use trails. You just might spot some wildlife (think deer and birds) on your journey, and you can even spot Fire Island across the Great South Bay on a clear day.

4. Sunken Meadow State Park 

New York State Reference Rte 908K, Kings Park

It’s one of the most popular picnic spots on Long Island, thanks to its gorgeous views of the Long Island Sound. Its calm waters make it the perfect spot for swimming, kayaking and canoeing. There’s also a boardwalk, a golf course, ball fields and plenty of open fields.

5. Belmont Lake State Park

625 Belmont Ave., West Babylon

There are plenty of picnic spots throughout this park, which boasts various views of the lake, which offers trout fishing in the spring and bass fishing in the summer. Families can also enjoy an exercise trail, a playground, paddle boarding, pedal boating, and kayaking, biking. The 7.6 miles of trails throughout the park are available for hiking, walking, biking, and nature observation.

6. Crab Meadow Beach 

Waterside Avenue, Northport

Visitors can fish, kayak, and canoe at this beautiful beach, as well as enjoy a picnic and pavilion area, a playground for the kids, a boardwalk and a restaurant in case you don’t feel like packing any food.

 

Best Picnic Spots in Rockland County

1. Bear Mountain State Park

Route 9W North, Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain Park is just over the Bear Mountain Bridge. It offers plenty to do, so you can make a day out of the trip. Picnic and enjoy the views as you eat near Hessian Lake. Kids will love the old-fashioned carousel, zoo, playground, and open spaces where they can run. Drive to Perkins Memorial Tower at the top of the mountain. Here, you’ll get a view of the New York City skyline.

2. High Tor State Park

415 S. Mountain Road, New City

Put down your wicker basket as you take in scenic views of the Hudson River. The 691-acre park has two peaks—High Tor at 797 feet and Little Tor at 620 feet. They’re the highest peaks in the park as well in all of the Hudson Palisades. See the New York City skyline from the summit of High Tor, a striking landmark. Fun fact: High Tor was used as a signal point for colonists during the American Revolution and as an air raid watch point during World War II.

3. Tallman Mountain State Park

Route 9W, Sparkill

This park overlooks the Hudson River and Piermont Marsh. The park boasts a running track, tennis courts, walking trail, hiking, and picnic areas. Note: Picnic areas are open with a reduced number of tables. Picnic blankets are allowed but keep at last 10 feet apart from other picnickers.

4. Haverstraw Bay Park

21 Gagan Road, West Haverstraw

You’ll find covered and uncovered picnic tables at this 27-acre park on the Hudson River waterfront. The park houses a large gazebo in the middle of the field. Watch the kids run around the three playgrounds (each geared for different ages), fish at the freshwater pond, fly a kite on the field, or reflect at the Sept 11th Memorial & Patriot Garden.

5. Rockland Lake State Park

299 Rockland Lake Road, Valley Cottage

The kids may not want to stay at the picnic table or on the picnic blanket here. The park (located on a ridge of Hook Mountain above the west bank of the Hudson River) offers a new water complex featuring a 5,000 square foot, zero entrance swimming pool with diving boards, a spray ground, and two large water slides. Walk, jog, roller blade, or bicycle on the 3.2-mile, non-motorized use paved trail that goes around Rockland Lake.

 

Best Picnic Spots in Bergen County

1. Darlington County Park

600 Darlington Ave., Mahwah 

This 178-acre park contains three lakes on its pleasant location at the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains. Swim in two of the lakes with sandy beaches; the third one is for catch-and-release fishing. Picnic in the wooded picnic area (bring your own grill) or on the open lawns. Kids will love the new state-of-the-art playground. Or, get in a game of tennis, basketball, or handball on the courts.

2. Palisades Interstate Park

Along the Hudson River, Northern Bergen County 

The Palisades Interstate Park is about 12 miles long and half a mile wide and located along the eastern edge of New Jersey along the Hudson River. You’ll find 2,500 acres of Hudson River shorefront, uplands, and cliffs. The park boasts 30 miles of hiking trails, a scenic riverside drive, cliff-top overlooks, and historic sights. Use access ramps to the Hudson for crabbing, fishing, and personal kayaks and canoes. Sit at one of the four large picnic areas—Alpine Picnic Area, Englewood Picnic Area, Ross Dock Picnic Area, and Undercliff Picnic Area. A limited number of grills are provided in these picnic areas.

3. Van Saun County Park

216 Forest Ave., Paramus

You’d never know this park is close to busy Routes 4, 17, and 80, and the Garden State Parkway. Within its 146 acres, Van Saun County Park offers a range of activities sure to please the entire family. Popular attractions include the Bergen County Zoological Park, train, carousel, spray ground, and large playground. For picnics, take advantage of the pavilions with tables and picnic areas located throughout the park.

4. Pascack County Brook Park

150 Emerson Road, Westwood

When you arrive, you’ll notice the two picnic areas, playground, baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, pond, and other recreation features. But don’t let that fool you. When you venture into the natural area, you’ll be amazed at the abundance of birds, plants, and animals.

5. Saddle River County Park

660 Saddle River Road, Saddle Brook

This 577-acre part connects five park areas—Fair Lawn, Paramus, Ridgewood, Rochelle Park, and Saddle Brook. You’ll find picnic pavilions plus a path for biking, jogging, and walking. Have a tennis match on the courts, hit baseballs on the diamond, or climb on the playground. Your pooch can even have some fun in the off-leash dog area.

 

Best Picnic Spots in Westchester

1. Kensico Dam Plaza

1 Bronx River Parkway Road, Valhalla

You’ll find plenty of glass to enjoy a picnic with a view at this spot that’s on the National Register of Historic places. The dam is 307 feet high and 1,843 feet long, forming the Kensico Reservoir. The county’s 9/11 memorial—an open structure called “The Rising”—is found at the intersection of pathways and viewpoints. Plus, the park has lighting so it’s open after dark.

2. Lasdon Park & Arboretum

2610 NY-35, Katonah

Picnic in designated areas in this secluded 234-acre arboretum. Manicured gardens showcase flower and plant shrubs from all over the world. Originally called Cobbling Rock Farm, the property was purchased by William and Mildred Lasdon in 1939. The Lasdon family imported many tree specimens to the estate. In 1986, Westchester County purchased the property.

3. Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Reservation Road, Pound Ridge

At 4,700 acres, Ward Pound Ridge is the largest park in Westchester County. Picnic areas are along Reservation Road, which crosses the park east-west and parallels the Cross River. The southern part of the park offers a more secluded area. You’ll also find 41.9 miles of trails in the park.

4. Bronx River Parkway Reservation

2 Bronx River Parkway, Scarsdale

Westchester’s oldest park, the picturesque Bronx River Parkway Reservation is an 807-acre paved linear park adjunct to the Bronx River Parkway. It’s 13.2 miles in Westchester from the New York City line north to the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. Picnic amid ponds, wooden footbridges, and hundreds of native tree and shrub varieties.

5. Croton Gorge Park

35 Yorktown Road, Croton-on Hudson

The 97-acre beautiful spot is at the base of the Croton Dam. Fun fact: The dam is said to be the third-largest hand-hewn stone structure in the world, behind the Great Wall of China and the Great Pyramids. Stand on a footbridge that lets you look down on the falls and the spillway that feeds them. It’s popular for picnicking as well as fishing and hiking.


Want more content like this? Great Family Activities Sent To You!


More Family Activities Articles:

These are the Best Farmers' Markets in NYC and Beyond

From locally grown fruits and veggies to handmade soaps, candles, and jewelry, these amazing NYC farmers' markets are the best places to eat and buy l...


Latest News:

40 Things to Do Outdoors on Long Island with Your Kids

Here's your spring Long Island bucket list for families—filled with outdoor activities on Long Island to do with your kids.


Family Activities:

Preparing for College Admissions: Your Summer Checklist

Huntington Learning Center May. 06, 2021

College admissions can be a stressful process. From incoming freshman to rising seniors, there is...



Have a Laugh:

Best Memes of the Week for Parents

Here are the funniest parenting memes from Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit this week.

Featured Listings:

Otto Specht School

Otto Specht School

Chestnut Ridge , NY At the Otto Specht School, we work to discover each child's path to lifelong learning, offering a variety of educational programs designed to meet the...