Top nature spots for a picnic in New York City

Pelham Bay Park (Courtesy of Nature Conservancy)
Pelham Bay Park. Credit: Nature Conservancy

With the weather in New York City finally approaching warm and sunny, it’s time to plan the year’s first picnic.

To get you started, the Nature Conservancy just released its Top 5 best picnic spots in New York. The group says these are the best spots to find beautiful parks teeming with natural life in the five boroughs.

To get in the green spirit, make sure to pack eco-friendly foods and compost or recycle your trash.

Pier 5 Picnic Peninsula at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Picnickers can cook on hibachi-style grills and eat on tables made out of salvaged wood. Brooklyn Bridge Park reuses materials in projects like planting native vegetation and rehabilitating coastal wetlands.

Visitor Contract Station at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
You need a free walking permit to hike the trails, but you can enjoy a picnic at a table outside the visitors center at this Queens spot. The 8,000-acre Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a well-known bird sanctuary and one of the best spots to see more than 325 species of birds.

Picnic grounds at Staten Island’s Willowbrook Park
At the Eaton Place Entrance, you can find picnic grounds and barbecue spots. The park includes lowland forests with tuliptrees, sweetgum and red maples. You can also work off your lunch at one of six major hiking trails.

In the midst of pine trees in Central Park’s Arthur Ross Pinteum
This spot is in the middle of the park between about 84th and 86th streets. Designated picnic areas and playgrounds make this a great spot for families, and you can sit in the shade of 17 different species of evergreens.

Orchard Beach at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx
Pelham Bay Park is New York’s largest, and it offers two different areas to picnic and grill. The 3,000-acre park encompasses trees, marshland and a rocky coastline with more than 400 species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and birds.


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