Picnicking is the activity for the spring and summer. What’s better than laying out in the sun, snacking on sandwiches, enjoying fresh berries, listening to music or reading a good book? 

Go alone, bring a friend, have a picnic party – whatever you decide to do, it’ll be a good time. 

This spring and summer, we recommend you check these five places off your Picnic Bucket List.

Best place for… taking a dip

Croton Point Park

https://parks.westchestergov.com/croton-point-park 

1 Croton Point Ave, 

Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week

Are pets allowed? 

Yes, but dogs must be leashed

Wifi?

No

Fees? 

Parking fees:  $5 with a Park Pass, or $10 without one

Weekends only: May and September 

Daily: Memorial Day through Labor Day 

Beach fees: $4 for adults (11 and up), $3 for children ages 5 through 11, free for children under 5 

Croton Point Park lies on a 508-acre peninsula jutting out into the Hudson – and trust us, it really sticks out. The expansive grounds offer a full menu for your summer interests: hiking, swimming, playing frisbee, basking in the sun, resting in the shade and, of course, picnicking. 

More than just a picnic site, Croton Point Park also has a beach where swimming is open from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from May 28  through Sept. 4, as well as on May 30, July 4 and Sept. 5.

Best place for… getting in touch with nature

Ward Pound Ridge

https://parks.westchestergov.com/ward-pound-ridge-reservation 

Reservation Rd.

Pound Ridge, NY 10576

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7 days a week

Are pets allowed?

Yes, but dogs must be leashed

Wifi?

No

Fees?   

Parking fees: $5 with a Park Pass or $10 without one

Weekends only: May and September

Daily: Memorial Day through Labor Day

 

With over 4,300 acres, Ward Pound Ridge is Westchester County’s largest park. Nestled within their forests and hiking trails, Ward Pound Ridge has five designated picnic areas – so many choices, and every one is the right one. 

If you bring the kids on a picnic, head to Meadow picnic area or Pell picnic area, where there are playgrounds and fields to for them burn off some energy. For a quieter picnic, visit the Kimberly Bridge picnic area, where all you’ll hear is the flowing brook and singing birds. At the Bergfeld picnic area, you’ll find a site so perfectly idyllic, it looks like it came out of a painting. And the Michigan Road picnic area, located beside one of the reservation’s main trail heads, is the ideal spot for a pre-hike snack. 

It was hard for us to pick a favorite, so we recommend you try them all on for size to determine which one will be your go-to picnic spot.

Best place for… flora and fauna 

Lasdon Park

https://www.lasdonpark.org/

2610 NY-35

Katonah, NY 10536 

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 7 days a week. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.  

Are pets allowed?

No 

Wifi?

No

Fees?

No  

At Lasdon Park, your picnicking experience can become a cultural, ethereal, historical or even prehistorical affair. Check out the Chinese Friendship Garden (which is home to an ornate pavilion donated by Westchester’s sister city, Jinzhou, China), revel in the beauty of the Lasdon Memorial Garden, tour the Westchester County Veterans Museum and even bring the kids along for the Dinosaur Garden. 

But because we’re here for the picnics, we must mention that Lasdon’s lawn areas gift you the absolute perfect spot for a picnic. Fit with an ideal sun-to-shade ratio, and more than enough space to lay out a blanket and relax, Lasdon Park is a picnic lover’s dream.

Best place for… an all day affair

Grace Farms 

https://gracefarms.org/ 

365 Lukes Wood Rd

New Canaan, CT 06840

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 12 – 5 p.m., closed on Thursday, May 26

Are pets allowed?

No

Wifi?

Yes!  

Fees?

Check in is required, but free. Food and drink is not, however. 

Grace Farms is an arts organization, a nature preserve and your next great picnic spot. Here, modernist beauty meets rustic charm. They have everything to offer for a picnic, and more… and then even more. 

The fields at Grace Farms are scattered with several ideal spots to lay out a blanket and marvel at the grounds. From the garden to the pond to the meadows, it’s pure serenity. Weaving through the fields is the eye-catching River Building. Here, you’ll find food, drink, culture and entertainment. There’s a basketball court, tea room, cafe, library and an indoor amphitheater. You can turn a picnic into a full day out with all that Grace Farms has to offer.

Best place for… killer views

Rockwood Hall

Phelps Way

Pleasantville, NY 10570 

Hours: Open 24 hours

Are pets allowed?

Yes, but dogs must be leashed. 

Wifi? 

No

Fees? 

No  

At Rockwood, lay back and bask in the lingering glory of an aged mansion. The cobblestone roads and stone walls along the grounds are the bones of the summer estate of William Rockefeller, brother of John D. Rockefeller. 

As you walk along the trails at Rockwood, you’ll eventually reach the highest point of the whole park–  a field overlooking the Hudson River with the Mario Cuomo Bridge to your left and the silhouette of New York City in the distance. Here is where we recommend you set up shop as you’ll have your choice of spots: beneath the shade of a large birch or a cozy bonsai tree, right smack under the sun, or along the stone walls. 

If you really want to make the most of a picnic at Rockwood, go during (or stay for) sunset. The park even holds sunset hikes to highlight their astonishing views. Trust us, the picnic experience at Rockwood is not one to miss.

Photography by Miranda Schloat and Hunter Brooks

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Kaitlyn Hardy is studying journalism and film at Emerson College. In addition to being a writer, Kaitlyn is also an avid reader, tea drinker, and movie watcher.