There are lots of great
picnic areas in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and the greater Triangle
area! In Carrboro, you can find great picnic food selections at
Weaver St. Market and then eat at the tables on the lawn in front of the
store, or head up the street to Wilson Park (picnic tables in the woods
near the Playground). Many of the area parks
and playgrounds have picnic tables, as does the NC Botanical
Gardens. We are always scouting out new great picnic areas.
If you have any suggestions for inclusions, please
A favorite local picnic spot. Entrances located at
Airport Road (just North of the Hillsboro St. intersection) and near
Community Center Park on South Estes Drive.
Located at 120
South Estes Drive, (across from the Main Post
Office and University Mall; 1 1/2 miles NE of downtown Chapel Hill ).
Picnic tables, playground equipment, rose gardens, and more.
P. Duke Gardens at Duke University 426 Anderson St., Duke
University, Durham, NC 27708. www.hr.duke.edu/dukegardens (919) 684-3698.
A wonderful outing for adults and children -- bring a picnic and wear
your walking shoes! Described as the "Crown Jewel of Duke
University," the Sarah P. Duke Gardens encompass 55 acres in the
heart of the University's West Campus, next to Duke University Medical
Center. According to the garden's website, the garden is
"recognized as one of the premier public gardens in the United
States, renowned both for landscape design and the quality of
horticulture." The garden also has a Terrace Shop and Terrace
Cafe (only open during the warm seasons).
From Airport Road, turn west onto Homestead Road,
take a right onto Northern Park Drive which leads to Homestead Park
(located 3 miles North of downtown Chapel Hill, 2 blocks west of Airport
Rd. off Homestead Rd. (919) 929-9031
Homestead Park has picnic tables
and benches in the shade. A
favorite meeting place for area playgroups, the "Dinosaur
Playground" is tucked away in a woodsy area at a good distance from
the Homestead parking lot areas. (The trees offer some shady areas
in the Summer.) The playground features a
friendly dinosaur slide, swings, and an additional large play set with
slides, tunnels, and climbing bars. Bathroom facilities are open in the
Spring and Summer. The restroom facilities are not open in
the Winter (closed from October to May), so plan accordingly if you have little
376 St. Mary's Rd.,
Hillsborough, NC 27278.
Ayr Mount historic house (1815) in Hillsborough,
NC has beautiful
grounds and wonderful (approx. 1 mile) walking trail with views of the Eno River, a pond,
and lots of grassy areas. Paper and pencils usually are available
in a little wooden information kiosk as you begin your walk; visitors
are encouraged to take a little piece of paper and borrow a pencil to
write a poem while you are on your visit. (Our kids have written
some lovely poems at Poet's Walk - including an pretty poem about
Pansies that our little daughter wrote - inspired by the faces of the
beautiful pansies in bloom.) Poet's Walk has picnic tables available
near the parking lot amid Magnolias, hardwood and pine forests, near the
historic Kirkland family cemetery plot surrounded by wrought-iron
The Poet's Walk is open year-round Mon.-
Fri., 8am - 5pm (until 6pm Mar-Apr. & Sept. - October; until 7 pm May -
Aug.) (919) 644-2677.
(Located 1 1/2 miles NE of
downtown Chapel Hill west of Airport Rd, on Umstead Rd; between
Airport Rd. and Estes Drive Extension.) Picnic tables, climbing structures and
sand to play in; bridge, stream and path through the woods. Better
for older kids because it is not contained/fenced, and the stream is
accessible from the play area.
UNC-Chapel Hill campus (East Cameron Ave at Raleigh St.,Chapel Hill.) (919) 962-0522. Hours: Open daily, dawn to dusk. This beautiful five-acre garden (part of the North Carolina Botanical
Garden) contains more than 500 species of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Great picnic spots; also enjoy a stroll through the walkway sheltered by a native-vine arbor and
the adjacent stone gathering circle.
Campus / Grounds
Across from McAlister's Deli (205 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill.
McAlister's has good food to eat in or for take-out, and has inexpensive
kids' meal selections. A Chapel Hill favorite!
The Eno River State Park in
Durham offers numerous trails both on the eastern and western sides;
Eno River western trails offer some shorter, easier hikes that are a good start if
you are hiking with children. The Buckquarter Creek trail takes
you along the river, with beautiful views of the river and waterfalls.
Kids also love to go river stomping and discover the fish and river life
at Few's Ford at the beginning/end of the Buckquarter Creek loop.
There are longer hiking trails as well, including the Cole
Mountain hike (a 3.5 mile loop) that crosses the river on a pedestrian
suspension bridge. The Eno River State Park features picnic areas, and
restrooms at the Visitor's Center.
Eno River Website: "Two picnic areas provide the perfect spot for
enjoying a meal in the open air. One of the picnic grounds is located in
the Few's Ford access area, adjacent to the parking lot. Few's Ford has
20 picnic sites, 10 of which are handicapped accessible. An accessible
water fountain and restrooms are nearby. [You may want to drive to the
restrooms/visitor center - it's up the road around the bend from the
Fews' Ford parking lot.] A 12-table picnic shelter with a fireplace and
grill is also accessible and can be reserved for a fee.
The Cole Mill picnic area, nestled in a
wooded setting, includes 10 tables and four grills with drinking water
and restrooms nearby. A group picnic area includes three tables and
grill. Cole Mill also has a wheelchair-accessible picnic shelter with
eight tables and a grill. The shelter may be reserved for a modest fee."
This beautiful park is a great setting for a picnic along the river,
and is the home of the wonderful Annual Eno River Festival in early
July. The park includes three historic buildings. Be sure to visit
the West Point Mill (which you can view in operation, powered by the
river, turning wheat into flour, and corn into cornmeal.. You can
purchase the flour, cornmeal and grits produced at the Mill!) Also
see the McCown-Mangum House at West Point, and the Packhouse & Hugh
Mangum Museum of Photography. Open daily, year-round, from 8 a.m. - sundown.
From the website:
"This 388-acre park is located along a two-mile stretch of the scenic Eno River, six miles north of downtown Durham. You can enjoy a leisurely picnic and stroll around the grounds, or take a hike through the woods on one of the park trails. Feel free to bring your canoe or kayak and experience the beauty of the Eno River."
PICNIC SHELTERS: From the
"West Point on the Eno Durham City Park has numerous grills and tables
in locations available for free on a first-come basis throughout their
400+ acres. In addition there are two covered picnic shelters. The large
shelter accomodates up to 75 people and features restrooms, a grill and
electricity. The small shelter hosts up to 40 people and has a grill and
drinking fountain nearby. These shelters must be reserved; for rental
fees and availability call the City of Durham Parks and Rec. Department
at (919) 560-4358."
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