Picnics are wonderful things. Summer provides us with (mostly) beautiful weather and fresh, local fruits and vegetables. So, why not eat those fresh, summer foods while en plein air - outdoors in the open air - somewhere nice and quiet or urban and ideal for people watching? Here’s a list of a few great places for picnics that you may not immediately think of (like Cherokee Park or Waterfront Park.)
Beckley Creek Park is a gorgeous 22-acre park out off of US-60 by Valhalla Golf Course. There are a ton of kid-friendly activities and plenty of trails and picnic areas throughout. The Marshall Playground and Sprayground is a nice area to let kids run around and cool off in while parents/guardians are hanging out or walking the loop. There are plenty of Overlooks perfect for a scenic picnic like the Lake Overlook with views of Angler Lake or the Loop Overlook with wildflowers as far as you can see. While not exactly right in the city, Beckley Creek Park is a really lovely, removed, large park with a lot of opportunities for activity and education - making it a perfect Saturday/Sunday adventure with a picnic lunch.
The Louisville Extreme Park may not be where you’d instantly think to go in town for a picnic, but with a great downtown view and things to do for the tweens and teens in the family, the Louisville Extreme Park is great for a summer picnic. If you’re one for people watching, this is a great spot for live entertainment (between tricks/things from folks that are great at skating/biking/etc and the unfortunate but highly likely accidents and falls from those like me who are still learning the basics.) Currently, a third of the park is under construction/demolition to make way for the new Louisville-Southern Indiana downtown bridge, but the remaining two-thirds continue to provide a great downtown spot for picnics.
Just across the river from Louisville, the Falls of the Ohio State Park is a really cool spot to take a picnic. The 390-million-year-old fossil beds are among the largest, naturally exposed, Devonian fossil beds in the world. The Falls welcomes fishing, hiking, walking, fossil viewing, bird watching, and picnicking with open arms! Eating a sandwich deep within an old fossil bed, surrounded by the very reason Louisville began (the falls) should be an excellent and educational picnic adventure this summer.
4. Tyler Park
This quiet park in the middle of the Highlands is an ideal picnic spot. Tyler Park is super well equipped for family picnics, large gatherings, and even grill outs. There’s a basketball court and a few tennis courts as well as a spray pool / sprinkler in the summer for cooling off. Tyler Park also has a picnic shelter and a good number of picnic tables, in case a blanket on the grass isn’t your style. Grills are also available near the picnic shelter, so you can even have hot food like hot dogs, burgers, and grilled chicken for your picnic fare.
5. Lannan Park
Right on the river, on Louisville Loop, and with a perfect view of Downtown Louisville, Lannan Park sees far little traffic than you’d expect for a park so nice and with so many amenities. There are two baseball fields, a basketball court, and a playground - making this an excellent place to bring kids of all ages. With picnic tables, a gazebo, and a great riverfront / Downtown view, there are plenty of sights to enjoy on a Lannan Park picnic. After or before, you can also stop by the McAlpine Locks and Dams and watched big boats going through the locks.
NOTEWORTHY SUGGESTION (Sorry, no picnics here!): Cave Hill Cemetery is absolutely gorgeous in the summer/fall. While they very clearly ask that you don’t picnic there, it’s a nice place to walk around in the summer/fall. Cave Hill is ideal to stroll and reflect, or just enjoy the scenery and quiet. Image courtesy of Panoramio user alitomar.
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