As the weather warms up in Charlotte, it’s time to head outside for a little fresh air and sunshine. Land management and city leaders care for this city’s greenery like none other, so when it comes time for a sun-soaked summer day, take advantage and enjoy tree city USA like never before. These, the city’s best places to picnic offer so much more than splendid scenery. Explore, dine, enjoy.
1900 East Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Right in the heart of central Charlotte, Freedom Park sits on 98 acres just three miles from downtown. Often called Charlotte’s central park, it boasts a seven-acre, path-encircled lake perfect for that romantic stroll with that special someone. Expect two playgrounds, and be prepped for a little volume at this much-loved locale. Picnic tables and grills are plentiful throughout the park, as are pavilions, including one with electricity and one with a 70-seat banquet hall and large screen television.
800 E. Third St.
A smaller and sometimes overlooked picnic option, offers one of the best views of the Charlotte skyline. At just less than seven acres, the park features spaces for gatherings and events, a large fountain and memorials to the Holocaust and Martin Luther King, Jr. Outlets are available here, as is an amphitheater and a gorgeous little walking path with a bridge over the park’s pond. This tiny park promises a perfect intimate picnic.
Reedy Creek Park
2900 Rocky River Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28215
Nine outdoor and one indoor pavilion at Reedy Creek Park in Northeastern Charlotte make it one of the best places for a picnic in the city. Adjacent to the park, the 737 acre Reedy Creek Nature Preserve and Nature Center, offers 10 miles of well-marked hiking trails for working off that post-picnic belly. The park itself boasts 116 acres with plenty of fun amenities including an 18-hole disc golf course, three ponds, a fishing pier — you will need a license if you are 16 or older — and even a dog park for four-footed friends. Its nature center features an exhibit hall, live animals and a gift shop.
William R. Davie Park
4635 Pineville-Matthews Rd.
In the south region of Charlotte, picnickers absolutely must visit William R. Davie Park. Possibly the best park for dog owners, it offers two fenced in areas, one for large and one for small dogs. It is also a great place for group picnics, with soccer, volleyball and softball fields as well as a well-equipped playground. Enjoy walking trails and a small lake, all on 107 acres of pristine Charlotte property, or reserve the William R. Davie Park Center for special occasions and turn that picnic into a party.
Colonel Francis Beatty Park
4330 Weddington Rd.
Matthews, NC 28105
Also in the south region, in the suburb of Matthews, lies Colonel Francis Beatty Park, often shortened simply to Beatty Park. This 26-acre park offers tennis courts, horseshoe pits, lighted soccer fields and a 10-acre lake perfect for canoeing or kayaking. Explore its 5.75-mile mountain bike trail or just snag a picnic table for a sun-soaked lunch in beautiful Matthews. For special occasions, reserve the indoor hall or snag one of two outdoor pavilions.
Vincent Eagan, III is a minister who has preached and taught Jesus in 30 states and Peru over the last 15 years. He currently lives in Monroe, NC, and is working on his MTh in Theology. He has been a life-long student of the Bible and other religious texts, and loves to discuss history. His work can be found at Examiner.com.