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6 Picnic Spots in Durham With Breathtaking Views

Estimated Read Time:
3 minutes

Unpack the sandwiches and lemonade. It’s time to enjoy some grub at one of Durham’s fabulous picnic spots.

Posted By Discover Durham Staff

We can’t explain it — everything just tastes better outside. From fields of flowers to lush scenic areas, Durham has many spots where you can sit back and enjoy the good stuff. We’ve compiled a few of our favorite places to picnic with breathtaking views, so you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature with your meal.

1. Beneath Durham’s city skyline

Pick up sandwiches from Parker and Otis or empanadas from Boricua Soul and eat underneath the historic Lucky Strike water tower on the American Tobacco Campus lawn. In addition to restaurants and retail shops, the restored historic tobacco factory also has cozy spots by the flowing river, surrounded by manicured trees, shrubs, and historic brick buildings.

2. In an impressively manicured garden

There’s nothing like enjoying a meal, surrounded by an array of stunning flowers. Head to Sarah P. Duke Gardens, one of the premier public gardens in the United States, to ooh and ah at more than 55 acres of carefully curated plants. Visitors often sunbathe and picnic on the grassy lawn in the Historic Gardens. (Don’t forget to pack up your picnic trash afterward and dispose of it in appropriate receptacles.)

3. Beside a rushing river

Bring your favorite meal and eat beside a small rushing river at West Point on the Eno as water splashes against rocks and boulders. The 404-acre park is free to guests and includes five miles of scenic trails with three historic buildings. Guests can hike, fish, and rent covered picnic facilities.

4. Under old-growth trees

With a massive grassy lawn and impressively large trees, Forest Hills Park is a beautiful spot for an afternoon picnic. The city park has restrooms, tennis courts, grills, picnic tables and a playground, so it’s a wonderful place to picnic with a date, your kids, or your friends.

5. Inside a boat

You don't own a boat? No problem. Rolling View State Recreation Area at Falls Lake offers boat, kayak, paddleboard and canoe rentals. Lounge on the sandy beach, hike the wooded trail, and then float the day away with a meal in a boat.

You can also rent several different kinds of boats at Lake Michie (pronounced Mickey), including kayaks, canoes, and motorboats. Bring a packed picnic lunch and find your gleaming reflection in the water — just try not to fall overboard.

6. On a College Campus

Wooden benches, green grass, massive trees, and a gazebo. Duke’s East Campus is full of picnic areas just waiting for you to discover. Take a walk around the popular trail, and then find a spot where you can enjoy your meal and people watch.

The grass is always greener when you’re sitting on it. We hope this list of spectacular spots helps you get out and plan your next picnic.

About the Author

Discover Durham Staff