Having a picnic only has two rules: 1) eat under the sky; and 2) pick up your trash afterwards. Besides those two important rules, having a picnic is a wonderful opportunity to be creative or to simply enjoy nature. It’s a fun, nonjudgmental activity where it doesn’t matter what you’re eating or who you’re with and whether it was spontaneous or planned. For this list, I decided to go to places I had never picnicked before.
Friday Evening ~ Johansen Park
I had never heard of Johansen Park in Atlantic Beach until just recently and thank my partner for introducing it to me. He was excited to take me, but we both felt nervous due to it being 90 degrees that afternoon. But when we got there, there were so many tall palm trees and cool shade to set up under that our worries melted away. Yes, the park is surrounded by family homes, but it’s truly a tranquil and beautiful area. The only sounds we heard were birds and children in the distance laughing in their backyards. We ate subs while lying on our blue checkered blanket and then read to each other until the sun began to set. That afternoon was a 10/10 experience, and I recommend Johansen Park for all who want a quiet picnic date or a place to catch up.
Saturday afternoon ~ Black Creek River
It was a typical Florida summer day, and the heat would have been unbearable if I wasn’t near water, so I decided to have Saturday’s picnic not on land, but on water. It was one of my best friend’s birthdays, and we decided to have a boat day near Fleming Island. After having our morning fun of swimming and rope jumping, we enjoyed a picnic classic, burgers. Some sat on the beach on their blanket, while a few others and I ate on the stern. Never read any rules that you couldn’t have a picnic on a boat, and if I could, I would do it every weekend.
Sunday Morning ~ Jacksonville Beach
During my weekend of finding a few best places to picnic, a picnic by the beach was a Floridian must. Luckily the breeze that day wasn’t harsh, and I was able to eat my snack-based lunch without difficulty. Just one good gust of wind, and all of my crackers, fruits, and dips would have followed it. What I enjoy about beach picnics is the option to jump in the water if it gets too hot.
Sunday Evening ~ Dog Wood Park
Dinner choice on this evening picnic was sushi. The sun was setting, and the afternoon was cooling down (thankfully). What was enjoyable about this park, located near I-95 and Butler Boulevard, was how many families there were that afternoon. I loved how there was a lake for the dogs to play in and cool themselves off. Honestly, I solely went to this park to see if I’d see dogs, and I wasn’t disappointed! My advice to all dog lovers: this is the park for you.
Monday Afternoon~ Hanna Park
Yes, my weekend was over, but there was one more place I had to go. After entering the Hanna Park entrance (off Wonderwood Drive), it suddenly feels like you are in South Florida, rather than North Florida. From crowded beaches to beaches that have less than 10 people, Hanna Park has numerous trails leading to different locations within the park. The variety of scenery makes it one of my top favorites. I decided to have my picnic on an empty beach with my friend Casey. She drew her art, while I took photos of our surroundings.
Spending a weekend outside, I definitely got some sun and more appreciation of picnics. While I plan to picnic more, I hope you decide to have a meal under the sky more too. And remember, don’t forget to pick up after yourself!