As the weather warms and the days lengthen, having a picnic is an excellent way to enjoy the beautiful New Jersey outdoors! Whether you are enjoying time with family and friends or relaxing in quiet solitude with a good book, going on a picnic is great way to get some fresh air and escape from our busy lives. The Garden State is flush with plentiful historical locations and beautiful landscapes to enjoy. Check out ten locations to Park It and Picnic! 

1) Ringwood State Park 

Ringwood State Park offers five picnic tables and two grills at Ringwood Manor and Shepherd Lake picnic areas and can accommodate approximately 40 people. When you’ve finished picnicking, the Park offers a myriad of recreational activities such as boating, kayaking, and hiking. Don’t forget to stop by the Skyland Manor to enjoy their breathtaking botanical gardens and English Jacobean architecture. Are you a budding photographer as well? Skyland Manor has an abundance of flowers, trees, plants, ponds and statuary to capture! 

2) Paterson Great Falls National Park

Paterson Great Falls National Park, one of America’s newest national parks, is open for visitors seeking outdoor activities with the Great Falls of the Passaic River as the centerpiece of the park. The park is equipped with picnic tables which are available on a first come, first served basis. There is plenty of shady and grassy space to spread a blanket and enjoy a picnic. Barbeques and grills are prohibited though, so be sure to pack appropriately for your picnic. Who doesn’t love a good charcuterie board? The Park is also pet friendly! Bring your leased pups with you to enjoy scenery and inquire about the National Parks B.A.R.K Ranger program. 

3) Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Reeves-Reed Arboretum offers 13.5 acres of natural beauty, including historic and contemporary gardens and six acres of woodland forest. Looking for a picnic spot that has a quiet and tranquil vibe? Then the Arboretum may be the spot for you. Picnic tables and patios are available for guests to use and enjoy but be mindful this is a take-in take-out facility so be sure to bring your trash with you when you leave. Casual photography is allowed for personal use, so take a stroll through the grounds and channel your inner Ansel Adams as you capture the stunning nature to commemorate your visit to the Arboretum.  

4) Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center

Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center offers a respite from the busy world with fields, gardens, and landscapes designed by groundbreaking female landscape architect, Marth Brookes Hutcheson. Visit five unique garden areas and picnic on one of the lawns throughout the formal gardens, just remember to take your trash as you leave. Food and beverage are not sold on the property so plan accordingly and stay hydrated! Don’t forget to bring bug spray as insects are a part of the garden ecosystem. Enjoying your picnic means not becoming a picnic for the local bugs! Once you’ve had your picnic, take a self-guided tour of the gardens, water features, and assorted buildings on the grounds.  

5) Washington Crossing State Park  

Washington Crossing State Park is the site of General George Washington’s historic 1776 Christmas night crossing of the icy Delaware River. The Park offers two picnic areas with tables and grills located at Knox Grove and Sullivan Grove. These facilities are ideal if you are looking to picnic with family or a small group of friends. The Knox Grove picnic area also includes playground equipment for the kiddos in your life. Charcoal fires must be confined in metal grills provided onsite or brought in by the picnicker. The park also offers a group picnic area at Greene Grove for larger groups by reservation. It can accommodate 125 people and includes restrooms, a shelter, playfields and playground equipment. Washington Crossing State Park is a wonderful location for family friendly picnicking!  

6) Princeton Battlefield

Looking for a less formal picnic experience? Head over to the Princeton Battlefield. Bring a blanket and some chairs and just relax with a good book and some snacks. Princeton Battlefield also offers paved and gravel trails that traverse around the perimeter of the park. Avid bird watcher? The park’s open fields as well as adjacent wetlands are ideal for observing birds in their natural habitats. If you choose Princeton Battlefield as your picnic spot, it is important to remember that there are no trash receptacles in this park. Let’s keep our parks green and clean, don’t forget to bring a bag or two with you and remove all trash and clean up after your pets. 

7) Monmouth Battlefield State Park

Monmouth Battlefield State Park preserves a splendid rural 18th-century landscape of hilly farmland and hedgerows that encompasses miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, picnic areas, a restored Revolutionary War farmhouse, and a Visitor Center. Take a "history hike" and see where the battle was fought, take a shady stroll along a woodland path, or traverse meadows watching for red fox, songbirds, or red-tailed hawks. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at one of the picnic areas offered near the Visitor Center. Facilities include picnic tables, charcoal grills, water, and restrooms. Charcoal fires must be confined to the metal grills provided or to grills brought by the picnicker. Bringing the kids? To the west of the picnic areas, there is playground equipment and a ten-acre open field available for kite flying or informal games! An ideal spot for an afternoon family outing.  

8) Historic Smithville Par

The centerpiece of the Burlington County Parks System, Historic Smithville Park boasts the Historic Smithville Mansion. In addition to the mansion, the expansive property includes a worker’s house and a schoolhouse. The 312-acre park also features diverse forests, meadows, freshwater streams and wetlands, as well as Smithville Lake, where visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, and picnicking. Smith's Woods Area is on the opposite side of Smithville Road from the Historic District and is accessed from East Railroad Avenue. Check out their website to reserve any of their picnic pavilions. The Historic Smithville Park is a great location for your next picnic event! 

9) Batsto State Park

Batsto Village consists of 33 historic buildings and structures, including the Batsto Mansion, a gristmill, sawmill, general store, and post office. The Batsto Village offers picnic tables to visitors. Enjoy the surrounding scenery, observe wildlife, and contemplate life in the mid-1700s. Afterwards, you can explore the park’s abundance of fields and hiking trails. Batsto Village also offers an array of events throughout the year, so don’t forget to check the calendar before you plan your picnic trip.  

10) Fort Mott State Park

Fort Mott State Park, the southern anchor for the New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail, was part of a three-fort coastal defense system consisting of Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island and Fort DuPont in Delaware City, Delaware. Today, visitors can explore Fort Mott to see its emplacements and magazines that still line an impressive 750-foot long, thirty-five-foot-thick poured concrete parapet, which is buttressed by an additional thirty feet of sand and earth. Fort Mott offers picnic areas and open fields to lay out a blanket and enjoy your day as well as picnic tables to utilize. Looking for a picnic area that can handle a large group? Two group picnic pavilions are available, each accommodating up to 100 people. The site also offers playground equipment for children and an interpretive trail which is easy for beginners or those looking for a leisurely stroll. Fort Mott is also pet friendly, just make sure Fido is leashed and you have baggies to clean up after him at the ready.