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Welcome summer with these 8 perfect North Texas picnic spots

Kabakova Tetiana

Bet you didn’t know, but June 18 is International Picnic Day. With all the stormy weather North Texas has been recently experiencing there’s no time like the present to round up the gang, grab the picnic basket and soak up summertime at one of these out-of-the-ordinary primo picnic hotspots.




Saggitaria Platyphylla statue by Patricia Johanson at the Leonhardt Lagoon in Fair Park
Philip Lange
Saggitaria Platyphylla statue by Patricia Johanson at the Leonhardt Lagoon of the Fair Park in Dallas.

Where: 3809 Grand Ave., Dallas
Hours: Daily 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Cost: Free

When you think of Fair Park, the State Fair of Texas is generally what comes to mind, but the 277-acre park is actually a great place to explore all year round and, most importantly, it’s the perfect place for a picnic. Spread out a blanket on the banks of the Leonhardt Lagoon and enjoy the sculpture by Dallas artist Patricia Johanson. The park encourages people to climb onboard the sculpture for a closer look at the indigenous plants and animal life that call the lagoon home. Fair Park also sports miles of smooth concrete paths and empty parking lots making it a great place for rollerblading or for teaching a child to ride a bike after that big picnic lunch.

Where: 8525 Garland Rd., Dallas
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
Cost: Check website for admission prices

The Dallas Arboretum is always at the top of any picnic-lovers list. The 66-acre botanical wonderland features 11 gardens filled with seasonal florals that are all perfect hosting for a picnic lunch. And if you want to relax after that big picnic lunch, head over to Pecan Grove for the Swinging Summer Hammock Exhibit. That's right, you can unwind in the shade and swing in one of the 150 freestanding hammocks featured in the exhibit.

MaryAnne Campbell

Where: 2012 Woodall Rodgers FWY, Dallas
Hours: 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
Cost: Free

Besides picnicking, there’s plenty to do at this 5.2-acre mega deck park. Kids can play at the children's park where there are numerous structures for climbing, you can splash in interactive fountains if you get hot and if you get bored, you can peruse the park’s reading and game room. If you don’t feel like packing a picnic, you can check out the food at the two restaurants on site or grab a snack from one of the many food trucks parked there from 11 to 3. But hold on, before you head out, you’re going to want to consider parking, or rather, lack thereof. Here’s a fun, solution: Ride the M-Line trolley from the Uptown area to the park. The free trolley runs 365 days a year and typically arrives at stops every 17-20 minutes

Where: 521 E. Lawther Dr., Dallas
Hours: Tuesday- Saturday noon – 6 p.m., Closed Sunday and Monday
Cost: Free

White Rock Lake is the go-to place for those who treat picnicking as a sport. There are lots of parks, piers, points and hills around this 1,015-acre city lake, so there is no shortage of places to lay your blanket. One often overlooked area is the Bath House Cultural Center. Located on the east side of the lake, this funky little Art Deco structure was built in 1930 when swimming was allowed at White Rock Lake. Today, the building no longer serves as a bath house, but instead, it houses a gallery and a black box theater. There's ample parking, picnic tables and even a few grills. Add the mature trees and beautiful shoreline and you've got the makings for a perfect afternoon picnic.


RK2 Photography

Where: 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Fort Worth
Hours: Open daily 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas
Cost: $0-$12 (Free admission on Juneteenth, June 19)

If you’re wanting a side of flora to go along with your ham sandwiches, you won’t want to miss the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. Located in Fort Worth's Cultural District, the 120-acre garden is home to over 2,500 species of native and exotic plants and features 23 specialty gardens. Take a stroll through a tropical conservatory, a forest boardwalk, a water conservation garden and even a Japanese Garden with koi-filled pools and waterfalls. Afterwards, spread your blanket out in one of the assigned picnic areas and take in the serenity of the Garden.

Where: 1200 Meandering Road, Fort Worth
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Admission: $20 per person

Grab a spot under a shady tree at this 30-acre park that features over 300 picnic tables and plenty of grills for cooking. But the real attraction here is a large spring-fed lake that comes complete with two sandy beaches, six diving boards, a 20-foot slide and a 25-foot trapeze.



Therese Powell

Where: 1700 N. Airfield Drive, Grapevine
Hours: daily 7 a.m.–7 p.m.
Cost: Free

Looking for an out-of-the-ordinary picnic spot with a little adventure thrown in for good measure? Head to Founders Plaza, a park/observation area near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. There’s a covered picnic area with lots of seating where you can watch DFW's 1,700 plus daily take-offs and landings while you eat. If you want a closer view, try out the telescopes on site. What really makes the trip worthwhile is the air traffic control communications from the FAA tower that are broadcast throughout the park.



Where: 110 Hickory St., Denton
Hours: 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
Cost: Free

Constructed in 1896, this historic courthouse is the crown jewel of Denton's Downtown Square. The large shade trees on the expansive lawn made this a popular picnic spot for both Dentonites and students at the nearby University of North Texas and Texas Woman's University. Bring your own picnic lunch or get takeout from one of the many restaurants around the square, including sweet treats from Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain.


Visit Go See DFW to find more weekend events.

The Go See DFW calendar is a partnership between KERA and The Dallas Morning News.

Got a tip? Email Therese Powell at

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