June 20, 2024

PICNIC PICKS: The Best Spots to Picnic in Winston-Salem

Your new favorite picnic spot awaits!
 

Great picnic spots are easy to come by in Winston-Salem. From the rolling meadows of Reynolda Gardens to the historic charms of Salem Square to the vibrant energy of Bailey Park, the city offers a variety of options for an open-air feast. So pack your basket and checkered blanket as we explore more than a dozen favorite spots for picnicking in town.


Bailey Park

Bailey Park

Downtown Winston-Salem’s most popular green space, Bailey Park is a 1.6-acre haven for every kind of park-goer. During the lunch hour, you’ll find people milling about nearby Innovation Quarter in search of sustenance, while others are repeating mantras and daily affirmations on yoga mats. This central gathering place boasts lush green grass and is surrounded by eateries. Entertainment won’t be hard to come by either, as it's one of the best people-watching spots in town.

  • Where we stop for food: Diamondback Downtown. Fresh soups, salads, and sandwiches are just steps away from Bailey Park. Pair your favorite sandwich with one of their deli salads and you have the perfect picnic pairing. Food Trucks If you happen to be in the neighborhood on the right day, you may find a local food truck stationed in front of the park! Check the website for the full food truck schedule.

Reynolda Gardens

Reynolda Gardens features a waterfall

Craving a picnic with a side of art and beauty? Head to Reynolda Gardens. Spread your blanket under a shady tree, surrounded by colorful blooms and calming greenery. Pack a basket full of goodies, then explore the walking trails and formal gardens – it's a feast for your eyes and your stomach! Looking for a picture-perfect backdrop? Check out the serene waterfall over the Lake Katharine wetlands. Nestled underneath a stone footbridge and tucked behind knolls covered in yellow daffodils, the waterfall is one of the city's best-known "secrets."

  • Where we stop for food: Reynolda Village. Along with great shopping, Reynolda Village has a delicious slate of dining options. Head to Theodore’s Bar & Market for an easy-breezy menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, and even brunch. Part quick-service restaurant, part market, this quaint stop is a favorite of Wake Forest University students. If you're looking for something a bit different, May Way Dumplings is the perfect spot for gyoza, bao buns, and noodles. There isn’t much seating inside the restaurant, but it's perfect for grabbing to-go.

Salem Square

Salem Square

The central gathering place for early Moravian settlers, Salem Square in Old Salem Museums & Gardens remains a charming hub buzzing with activity. Surrounded by a white picket fence and shaded by gnarled trees, Salem Square transports guests back to the colonial 18th century. Costumed interpreters stroll the streets of Old Salem, and the idyllic backdrop of the Main Street historic district is the perfect spot for your family picnic. Visitors can pick up some sweet treats from Old Salem's legendary Winkler Bakery such as Moravian cookies and sugar cake

Did you know? Moravian cookies are considered the “world’s thinnest” cookie — and Winston-Salem is the manufacturing HQ. Our Moravian Culinary Trail is a virtual trio of trails celebrating Winston-Salem’s deep Moravian food roots. After your picnic, continue sampling your way around town.  

  • Where we stop for food: Muddy Creek Café. Adjacent to Salem Square, Muddy Creek Café is a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Take a few steps down Main Street in the Old Salem Historic District to grab sandwiches and other food for the whole group.  

Miller Park

miller park

If you’re looking for a place to unwind and recharge in the middle of the city, look no further than Miller Park. This tranquil retreat in the Ardmore neighborhood is set amid rolling terrain and towering hardwoods, providing a genuine sense of peace and quiet. While strolling along the park's paved pathways, it's easy to forget that you’re just around the corner from Stratford Road—one of the city’s busiest streets. In addition to two small playgrounds for kids, Miller Park features basketball courts, a bocce complex, tennis courts, and horseshoe pits. Those looking to burn a few calories post-picnic can stroll along the paved trails that trace throughout the park's hilly terrain. 

  • Where we stop for food: The Carving Board.  This family-owned deli in Thruway Shopping Center has been a local favorite for nearly three decades. With a huge variety of premade salads and made-to-order sandwiches, the Carving Board is a one-stop shop for all your gourmet picnic food needs. Our go-to items include spicy sesame noodles, chicken salad, cran-walnut tabbouleh, and Mexican bow-tie pasta. 

Washington Park

washington park

Sitting along the Salem Creek Greenway, Washington Park is a sprawling 75+ acre neighborhood escape with much to enjoy — a dinosaur playground for kids, dog park for pooches, walking paths, ball fields, and more. Best of all, you'll find a number of recently renovated picnic shelters along with plenty of shady spots to spread your checkered blanket. The park's historic archways and rolling hills only add to the appeal.

  • Where we stop for food: Acadia Foods. Part food counter, part grocery store, Acadia Foods, located in the quirky Washington Park neighborhood, is just around the corner from The Quarry at Grant Park. Grab a quick snack from the shelves, a freshly made sandwich from the kitchen, or a sweet treat from their bakery case. Just down the street is another local favorite, Slappy's Chicken, a no-frills grill that serves up delicious fried chicken. Add a side of collard greens and Cheez-It mac & cheese. You won’t be disappointed.

Grace Court

grace court

In Winston-Salem's Historic West End, Grace Court offers a charming history and gazebo that is tree-lined, yet surrounded by an exquisite collection of Queen Anne and Victorian homes. The West End Neighborhood is amidst a resurgence as the area welcomed several new retailers and restaurants within the past year. In addition to the gazebo, the serene and peaceful park has plenty of fountains to position a blanket near, or benches if you’d prefer.  

  • Where we stop for food: Burke Street Pizza. If you ask a local, “Where’s the best spot to grab a slice of pizza?” chances are they’ll point you to this beloved hole-in-the-wall pizzeria. Their slices are huge, so grab one to go for yourself or decide on a whole pie to share with your group. Really want to eat like a local? Grab a side of ranch to dip your pizza (trust us).

Horizons Park

Horizons Park

With 492 acres of woods, fields, and streams, Horizons Park in northern Forsyth County is a great place to get reacquainted with nature. A 2.6-mile trail meanders through the grounds and features several loop options. The scenery is accented with bright red barns, trickling streams, rolling meadows, an old cemetery, and distant views of Pilot and Sauratown Mountain. You'll find plenty of open spaces to spread your picnic blankets -- just beware of flying discs. (Horizons Park is also home to one of the city's most popular disc golf courses.)

  • Where we stop for food: Mountain Fried Chicken. If you're looking for a classic Southern picnic, Mountain Fried Chicken hits the spot. Stock up on their famed “Winston Wings" and classic sides such as the mac-n-cheese and stewed apples. (And don't forget to grab some extra napkins.)

Tanglewood Park

Tanglewood Park

Home to the popular Festival of Lights each holiday season, Tanglewood Park’s 1,100 acres of pristine public park are full of winding trails, a lake, and horse stables. Walk off your lunch and stop to smell the flowers at Tanglewood Arboretum, home to 26 different gardens showcasing seasonal flowers and ornamental shrubs. Lush, rolling fields call your name, begging you to unfurl your blanket and unpack your lunch. Please note there is a small $2 admission fee at the front gate of Tanglewood Park. Please note there is a small $2 admission fee at the front gate of Tanglewood Park.  

  • Where we stop for food: Ketchie Creek Bakery & Café. Part bakery, part deli counter, Ketchie Creek is our go-to place to stock up on sandwiches, salads, wraps, and more. Looking for something sweet? Try the cream horns or the shadow cake — both local favorites. Ketchie Creek also features a full coffee bar, perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up.

 

MORE PICNIC PICKS

Historic Bethabara Park. This 183-acre park and nature preserve offers a unique blend of history, scenery, and relaxing vibes. Wander through the park and discover charming meadows perfect for spreading out your blanket. Explore reconstructed Moravian dwellings and learn about the area's rich history. It's a picnic with a side of education!

Salem Lake. Grab your fishing poles (or rent some on site) when you reach for that picnic basket and head to the city’s eastside for an afternoon at the Salem Lake Marina. Just minutes from downtown, Salem Lake offers 365 acres of water surrounded by a seven-mile trail perfect for walking or biking. If you wind up with leftovers, the lake's colorful collection of ducks will be more than happy to take them off your hands!

The Quarry at Grant Park. This 200-acre park is truly one of a kind. It was built around a scenic quarry a few miles east of downtown, offering gorgeous views, walking trails, a mining-themed playground, and more. Its most unique feature, without question, is a steampunk-esque overlook platform that rises above the quarry, offering picture-perfect panoramic vistas.

Graylyn. One of our favorite under-the-radar picnic spots is the picturesque rolling front lawn at Graylyn Estate. The estate's dramatic architecture, stone bridges, and manicured landscapes offer a fairy-tale quality, making you feel like you're picnicking in the French countryside. (When in reality, you're only a few minutes from downtown.)

Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden. About 10 miles east of downtown in the quaint town of Kernersville sits this picnic lover’s paradise. Home to one of the largest spring tulip displays in the region, Ciener Botanical Garden has 15 different garden experiences to explore. Our favorite spot to picnic is the shady Woodland Garden, which offers a bit more privacy due to its location near the back of the property.