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Top 10 Picnic Spots- Updated for 2020

Publish Date: 2020-07-17

Although the summer is looking a bit different this year, we can still enjoy the incredible beauty of Dutchess County! Head out to one of these spectacular spots for a perfect day of picnicking. Better yet, have a local restaurant pack the picnic for you by ordering takeout!

1. Bowdoin Park, Wappingers Falls

Enjoy some fresh air at this 301-acre park in the Town of Poughkeepsie. Bowdoin offers scenic views of the Hudson River, pavilions, numerous picnic tables and lots of open areas for picnicking. When you're done munching, you can hike more than four miles of well-maintained trails, view the wetland areas from the two built-in boardwalks, observe the wildlife or just sit on a bench and enjoy the beauty of the park. There are also a number of athletic fields*, a nationally recognized cross-country race course and an award-winning handicapped-accessible playground for the kids. When guests cannot maintain 6 feet apart they must wear a mask.

2. Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill, Rhinebeck

Tackle the quarantine 15 and work up a sweat with a hike to the top of Burger Hill, we promise the view will be worth it! Panoramic vistas of the Hudson River Valley including the Shawangunk Ridge, Catskill and Taconic Mountains, Stissing Mountain and the Berkshires are what you'll get at the top of this 550-foothill. The 76-acres of this beautiful rural park offer a truly unique place to picnic in Dutchess County. 

3. Innisfree Garden, Millbrook

Enjoy your lunch in the designated picnic area and then take a stroll through this amazing 150-acre public garden where "the ancient art of Chinese landscape design has been reinterpreted, without recourse to imitation, to create a unique American garden." Visitors will be enthralled by the stunning streams, waterfalls, terraces, retaining walls, rocks and plants as well as the 40-acre glacial lake. Fee applies for entry. Please note that advance reservations for timed admission are required. 

4. Lakeside Park, Pawling

Take advantage of the summer weather at this 290-acre park in Pawling that is made for an all-day outing and picnic! There are picnic tables, shelters and pavilions where you can set up your feast. Then, you can play a game at one of the athletic fields*, ride on the bike trails or hike the nature trails - including part of the Appalachian Trail which runs through the park. The Lakeside waterfront is open to Pawling residents only. Outdoor restrooms and grills are currently closed. Fee applies.

5. Montgomery Place, Annandale-on-Hudson

In the midst of some unusual months, enjoy a moment of serenity and peace at this 380-acre historic site overlooking the Hudson. Spread out your picnic blanket and enjoy a leisurely lunch on the sprawling lawn while you decide what to do next. Maybe you'll take time to read a good book under the shade of a tree or a nap in the warmth of the sun. You can also take a walk through the lush gardens, visit the arboretum or wind your way along the woodland trails. Laid out over a hundred years ago through a hemlock and mixed hardwood forest, you can follow the trail all the way to the cascading waterfalls of the Saw Kill River. Picturesque orchards border the estate and delicious fruit is available in season at the Montgomery Place Orchards Farm Stand, a 5-min drive from the historic site. The grounds are open from dawn to dusk. Admission to the grounds is free. Mansion tours are suspended, please note all bathrooms are closed to the public.

6. Poets' Walk Park, Red Hook

A well-stocked picnic basket is all you need to enjoy this inspirational spot in Red Hook. Stroll through the 120 acres of rolling meadows, gardens and forests. Pause at the rustic Overlook Pavilion for breathtaking views of the majestic Hudson River and the green-blue peaks of the Catskill Mountains. Poets and artists alike have been drawn to this spot for years. Washington Irving, who gave the park its name, is said to have come up with the idea here for "Rip Van Winkle" while gazing across the river at the Catskills. Free and open year round.

7. Beacon Riverfront, Beacon

A great option for a safe family outing! At the north end of the Beacon station is Pete & Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park where you can take advantage of the picnic tables, bring your own ball and hoops*, or go fishing. The playground is also open for kids to enjoy.

South of the Beacon train station lies Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park. An exciting riverfront destination boasting a kayak pavilion, a beach for launching boats and rehabilitated wetlands and meadows that attract wildlife. Walk by the restored, historic Red Barn which is now Scenic Hudson’s River Center for arts and environmental-education activities. This is truly a relaxing spot to enjoy a picnic lunch or admire the sunset with some snacks!

8. Taconic State Park – Rudd Pond Area, Millerton

The Rudd Pond Area in the northeastern part of Dutchess County, is a rural wonderland. With views of the Taconic, Berkshire and Catskill Mountains this 225-acre park is made for people who love the great outdoors! In addition to picnicking, there is camping, hunting, fishing, boating, swimming (at a reduced bather capacity), hiking and biking. Please note all grills and outdoor bathrooms are closed. Parking and camping fees apply. 

9. Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, Hyde Park

There is plenty of space on the grounds of this Gilded-Age country mansion that was once home to Frederick Vanderbilt, to have a socially distant picnic! The famous overlook nicknamed “Millionaire’s View” is a spectacular spot to take in the rolling hills of the grounds that lead down to the Hudson River. A stroll through the gorgeous Italian Gardens is a must and the three-mile-long riverside hiking trail is yet another great way to enjoy this historic property. Tours are currently suspended.

10. Wilcox Memorial Park, Stanfordville

This 615-acre gem is formerly the estate and farm of Mrs. Frederick P. Wilcox which still contains many of the 18th century farm buildings that dot the landscape. This family-friendly park has two lakes at its center where you can relax and enjoy the tremendous beauty of the wildlife. You can fish from shore and swimming is allowed at the lower lake at a reduced bather capacity. The 5+ miles of hiking trails which include a scenic overlook of Stissing Mountain and the Catskills make it a perfect spot year-round. Face masks must be worn at pavilions or at any place where social distancing cannot be maintained.

* - DEC and State Parks encourage park visitors to avoid games and activities that require close contact, such as basketball, football, or soccer, and do not share equipment, such as balls or Frisbees

To the best of our knowledge, this information is correct as of publish date. 

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