Spring is here! National Picnic Day is April 23, but anytime during this beautiful season is a lovely time to spend outdoors enjoying a meal al fresco. Here are our top six picks for picnics:
Suttree Landing Park sits along the shoreline of the Tennessee River in SoKno. With a great view of downtown and multiple picnic overlooks, you are sure to find a great spot to enjoy your picnic. The park’s adventure-themed playground is fun for kids and there’s plenty of open space for playing Frisbee or frolicking. Or enjoy a walk along the river on the boardwalk lined with native landscaping that overflows with flowers during the summer and serves as a green buffer to protect the river. The park is located right behind Sevier Avenue, offering you several options to grab some carry-out or get a local beer after your picnic!
Super close to downtown, this historic Civil War fort (also in SoKno) offers a bit of history, a beautiful quarry lake, and miles of trails to meander. Get in a quick hike and then grab a spot under one of the picnic shelters or find a cozy spot off-trail to enjoy your nosh. If Civil War history really catches you, consider further exploration with the Civil War Driving Tour.
Take your kids, take your dog, this park in far west Knoxville has something for everyone! Grab your swimsuits or your kayak and enjoy access to Fort Loudon Lake from the park. A paved trail loops the park along the water with plenty of grassy spots for a picnic. Seasonal bike, SUP, canoe and kayak rentals are available at the park from River Sports Outfitters. If you’re into a charcuterie-board style picnic, might we suggest planning ahead and ordering from Euphoric Cheese in Farragut?
This park in northeast Knoxville is a bit of a hidden gem. There is a farm-themed playground for kids, a splash pad water play area, and a paved walking loop in the heart of the park. A large, covered pavilion offers picnic tables for sharing lunch after enjoying the play area, exploring the community garden, and walking the loop around the preserved wetland. On Thursdays between April 22- September 30, you can pick up some fresh produce or other treats at the New Harvest Farmers Market. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can find a natural-surface hiking trail that makes a half-mile loop up the ridge and back for a brief but satisfying hike!
This beautiful 47-acre public garden is just 5 minutes from downtown in East Knoxville and is open 365 days a year with free admission! The garden is a magical place filled with walking trails that saunter along secret garden pathways and through the bamboo forest; distinctive stone walls border the trails, winding past whimsical round stone buildings and stone-sided greenhouses. It doesn’t get much prettier! Take a walk along the Dogwood trails to see the spring blooms and take your pick of spots for lunch – the terraced steps, an open meadow, a sweet bench in the gardens – beautiful view guaranteed.
Another hidden gem, and another SoKno park – this one has retro CCC/1930s vibes with the large cement picnic tables – some near the tennis courts, some more secluded, and a pavilion option near the playground. Enjoy a quiet walk along the paved Charter Doyle Greenway that winds around the play areas and lush open space. Make sure you bring your four-legged friends along; the Petsafe Dog Park is a great place to romp unleashed with separate play areas for small and large dogs. Cap your visit with a tour of the nearby Candoro Arts & Heritage Center to learn why Knoxville once held the nickname of “Marble City”!