Grab a Basket and Go to These Metro Detroit Picnic Spots

By: Karen Dybis | April 23, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RiverWalk.

With spring’s warm temperatures, early-blooming flowers and a leafy canopy reappearing on every tree, having a picnic with family or friends is an ideal way to experience the Great Outdoors as well as some delicious dishes. Supporting Metro Detroit restaurants with a carry-out meal or making your own, eating alongside Mother Nature is a great way to relax and enjoy nature. 

Metro Detroit has a large variety of outdoor parks, great estates and fascinating nature preserves that give people access to all Michigan has to offer. There are lakefront spots, such as the Edsel and Eleanor Ford estate at the border of Grosse Pointe Shores and St. Clair Shores. You can stroll the hills and lanes of great hiking areas like at the county parks. There also are forested areas where you can get some cool shade and collect flora and fauna to your heart’s content. 

The picnic itself can be simple or sophisticated. Consider a grab-and-go meal from any one of Metro Detroit’s terrific restaurants or bars. You can make it a brunch special with hearty egg dishes or great fruit plates. It could be a large dinner with fried chicken, coleslaw and a Sister Pie treat. Another idea is to create an all-dessert extravaganza, bringing in treats from area bakeries that offer sweets that will make you swoon. 

Here are five Metro Detroit locations that have a great selection of outdoor sites where a picnic setup is easy as well as beautiful. 

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Belle Isle

This 982-acre park is a floating paradise of picnic opportunities. You can bring a blanket or look for one of the many picnic tables found around the island. There are great spots such as near the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, where you can eat and then take a tour of the historical treasures inside and outside. There’s also Belle Isle’s new floral garden by the Nancy Brown peace carillon designed by garden expert Piet Oudolf. You also can check out the beach, the marble lighthouse or the aquarium, all of which would be great spots for noshing and visiting.

 

Independence Oaks

Clarkston is a great spot for picnics because there are wonderful restaurants like Union Station as well as grocers that carry tasty take-out options right by picturesque parks. Check out Independence Oaks, which is Oakland County’s largest park at 1,286 acres. You can walk its miles of natural and paved trails, have fun with the archery range or volleyball courts as well as enjoy the view of Crooked Lake from the Twin Chimney Shelter. 

RiverWalk

There are endless opportunities for picnics along Detroit’s storied and venerable RiverWalk. From every park along its route, you can see a great view and enjoy the Detroit River in all of its glory. With your picnic pals, you can check out Gabriel Richard Park, which includes beautiful facilities along with an easy-to-access parking lot. There’s tons of fishing spots there and along the rest of the walk as well. Mt. Elliott has a great splash pad when it is warm and it is operating for the kids to enjoy as well as the newest hot spot, Atwater, which has a beachfront along with great picnic areas. 

Beacon Park

If you want to picnic among the skyscrapers and big-city vibes of downtown Detroit, then Beacon Park is the best place to do it. There’s a restaurant on site if you want to get a fancy meal – Lumen is a great eatery – as well other walkable places nearby for food. You can enjoy the lunchtime entertainment as well as the evening programming at this year-around park, which has a great view as well as lots of amenities to attract people to its green spaces. 

Hines Park

You may know the name because you hear about its nearby roadway (Hines Drive) when there are rainy days, but the actual Hines Park itself is a treasure. Since the turn of the last century, Hines Park has been one of Wayne County’s favorites. It has soccer fields, baseball diamonds, playgrounds and more alongside its picnic areas. It also has a great trail that goes 15 miles from Northville to Dearborn Heights if you want to walk off your picnic meal.