By Chelsea Royer
Picnicking seems to be a dying tradition. Who among us still breaks out a basket full of sandwiches with the primary purpose of just sitting outside to eat? We are always going, always moving, rarely taking the time to slow down enough to sit in a field or park somewhere to eat. If children are involved, it becomes even more difficult.
Here are six great places to whip out the checkered tablecloth, whether you have kids or are just looking for a romantic getaway. Because fellas, there are few women who wouldn’t be romanced by her man planning a whimsical picnic lunch.
Less than a 10-minute drive outside downtown Montesano, this park has both riverfront and lake views. With a paved path around the lake, nifty playground, and bathroom facilities, it’s a perfect spot to take kiddos and keep them busy. There are plenty of picnic tables if eating on the ground is not your cup of tea. It is a great place for people who like to fish or canoe. If you are looking for a romantic getaway, there are plenty of day-camp spaces to tuck away into and maintain privacy.
A popular swimming hole on hot days, this area has grassy areas to spread out and have lunch. Just off the first Elma exit, Elma Ponds are easy to access. With bathrooms, large playground, wide beaches and paved walk around the lake, it’s a great spot to have lunch before roller-skating around the pond.
If you are adventurous in nature and don’t mind the hike or the drive, Wynoochee Falls is a remote and romantic place for a picnic. Though the bottom of the Falls gives a fabulous view, climbing above the Falls is almost better. With a fairly flat riverbank, there is plenty of space to spread out and munch. If you plan in advance, hang around until after dusk and enjoy an annual meteor shower. With clear skies and no sight of man-made lighting, you’ll get an amazing view of the Milky Way. Check out the directions in the link above and be smart about your excursion: jumping off the waterfall or cliffs is dangerous and ill-advised. For those who prefer less work and dirt, the Wynoochee Lakeside boasts grassy areas, lake beaches, and hiking spots. Work your way along the Lakeside Trail and before long you’ll find some magnificent old-growth trees. Sit under Washington’s natural history and enjoy the serenity of the forest.
The Coastal Interpretive Center in Ocean Shores is a family friendly outing. With picnic benches a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the ocean, enjoy your meal after touring the child-friendly museum on coastal life and history. With nature-walks and a small playground, there’s plenty to keep the kids busy and makes for a great (and free!) family day.
Tucked away behind the Log Pavilion in Aberdeen, the wide grassy areas and waterfront view is easy to access and allows you to feel like you’ve escaped out of town without having to leave it. A large playset, paved walkway, and viewing platform give you plenty to do and safe areas for your child to play. The historic ships, Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain are often docked just across the river, giving added interest.
Your Own Backyard
You don’t have to leave your home to enjoy a quiet meal outdoors. Whether with kids or with your significant other, a backyard is a private, familiar place to have a meal. Here is a recipe to get you started! Even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can become fun when cut into unique shapes with a cookie cutter. Whether you stay home or hike out into the middle of nowhere, you’re sure to come away with smiles and fond memories.