When it comes to beautiful picnic spots, Virginians have a plethora of riches. It is nearly impossible to narrow it down to only 12, as there are many more wonderful spots all over the Commonwealth that are just as romantic, scenic, and otherwise worthy. On a fine sunny day, journey out to Virginia’s many scenic spots to lay out a blanket for a picnic. Here are our 12 favorites!
The boardwalk at Theodore Roosevelt Island in Arlington, Virginia, is known for its romantic ambiance. Surrounded by greenery, set over a marsh near the Potomac River, the boardwalk provides for a perfect place to sit and enjoy your date’s company before exploring the island further. Benches are available, too.
The Northwest River Park is a great spot to escape from the rigors of daily life. Located near the Northwest River, the 763-acre park offers year-round boating, fishing, and hiking, as well as golf, horseshoes, volleyball, and more. The most scenic spots are closer to the river, but get prepared for a ¾-mile hike. When you’re done, consider renting a boat for an afternoon on the water.
The Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin, Virginia, is a scenic locale right on the water. In addition to eight picnic shelters, the park offers hiking trails, camping facilities, swimming, and cabins. With the historic Howe House in the background and the lake out in front of you, dining here is like stepping into a postcard.
The Staunton River State Park is located on almost 1,600 acres along the largest lake in Virginia. Nature trails, camping, swimming pools, and picnic shelters are all available. As one of the original six parks opened by the state of Virginia, the Staunton River State Park is filled with history.
Richmond, the state’s capital, is a busy city. But if you know where to look, Belle Isle provides a welcome retreat from city life. Accessible by foot or bike only, Belle Isle is surrounded by large rocks that one can sit on and enjoy the water before taking a dip. Bring a blanket, pick a rock, and enjoy the get-a-way before returning to the city.
Potomac Point Winery in Stafford, Virginia, also allows those who call ahead to bring their own picnics to the grounds. Take a look around the winery and consider picking up a bottle to compliment your meal. Either way, unfurl a blanket and enjoy nature all around you in one of the more sophisticated picnics you’re likely to have.
The Elizabeth River Boat Landing and Park located in Chesapeake, Virginia, offers a picture-perfect view of the Elizabeth River and boat ramp. Explore any of the park amenities and watch the other seafarers go by. Your furry friends will love the on-site dog park.
Virginia has tons of water access-ways, but perhaps the most famous is the Chesapeake Bay. In days of yore, the Chesapeake Bay was a primary trading route. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction, as well as an important fishing spot. Rent a boat anywhere along the Virginia coast and take your picnic out on the water for a real Virginian experience.
The park at Daingerfield Island marks the spot of the first Alexandria settlement, founded by John Alexander. While the 106-acre park is no longer an actual island, the beautiful views and varied wildlife, including turtles, herons, frogs, and kingfishers, make for a Kodak picnic spot on the water.
Enjoy the Virginia countryside from the sky. Blue Ridge Ballooning offers several hot air balloon packages, including sunrise and sunset, romance, wedding vow, and sunrise picnic flights. Enjoy sparkling cider, pastries, and fruit at with the hot air balloon crew after your morning ride.
Take your picnic basket and blanket and spread out on the lawn of the Hermitage Museum or in the Gardens on site. The museum was once the mansion home of the Sloane Family, a prominent Norfolk clan, but is now part of the Smithsonian Affiliations program. With six gardens, including the grottos, rose garden, and wetlands to choose from, you could easily spend an entire morning exploring the grounds before lunch. Once you’re finished eating, stroll through the museum to take in over 5,000 art exhibits.
Historic Harpers Ferry rests at the axis between Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland along the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Peruse the quaint, small-town streets before taking a walking hike through the park. The park offers around 20 miles of hiking with various difficulties and paths that snake around Civil War battlefields. Pack a light picnic and stop along the route at one of the picnic tables to enjoy the history and beauty of the park while chowing down on homemade grub.