January 26, 2023

Eight Places to Picnic in Winston-Salem

With more than 25 miles of greenways, strollways, historic gardens, and green space, Winston-Salem makes it easy to head outdoors. Plan your next outing at one of the following spots, guaranteed to give you photos to keep your memories alive forever.

Artivity Park

Discover the heart of the city in the middle of the Downtown Arts District at Artivity on the Green Park. Featuring a mural wall, bandstand, grassy rolling hills, and a central art sculpture known as the "Tower Cloud". The mural wall features local area artists and is repainted each Spring during a festival called “Concrete Canvas”, so the art changes yearly. The rolling grassy hills pay homage to the foothills of the Piedmont, and offer comfortable places to sit, play, and picnic surrounded by art!

Bailey Park

Downtown Winston-Salem’s newest 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. It’s not uncommon to catch a local performer at the edge of the grass — or on the main stage.  

Waterfall at Reynolda Village

What might be Winston-Salem’s best-known secret is the waterfall at Reynolda Village. Hidden behind the many charming shops and eateries once part of the Reynolds tobacco family dairy farm, the waterfall has become a coveted picnic spot. Nestled underneath a stone foot bridge and tucked behind knolls covered in yellow daffodils, the waterfall is one of the most romantic picnic backdrops in Winston-Salem. Let the soothing sounds of running water become your picnic playlist as you watch Wake Forest University students practice on nearby athletic fields.  

Tanglewood Park

Home to the popular Annual 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. The 1859 Providence Manor House Inn is a quaint, 11-room inn situated on the property (along with nearby camping and cabin rentals). Please note there is a small $2 admission fee at the front gate of Tanglewood Park.  

Salem Square at Old Salem Museums & Gardens

The central gathering place for early Moravian settlers, Salem Square at 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, with many of the experiences neighboring Salem Square itself. Visitors can sample some sweet treats from Winkler Bakery such as Moravian cookies and sugar cake to eat with lunch from Muddy Creek Café. Walkable from Old Salem Museums & Gardens via the Winston-Salem Strollway and with its own charming courtyard, the Historic Brookstown Inn keeps the garden party alive. Its twinkling, enchanting lights make the perfect backdrop for an outdoor nightcap. 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.  

The Overlook at Quarry Park

Nothing beats a picnic with a view, and Quarry Park’s panoramic vistas deliver a perfectly framed skyline with cerulean blue water filling the former quarry below. Nearby scenic sculptures dot the grassy areas. Its most unique feature is the steampunk-like overlook platform added in 2017. There are many walking and biking trails here to take advantage of, and this park is accessible and pet-friendly.  

Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden

Just outside of downtown Winston-Salem in the suburbs of Kernersville is a picnic lover’s paradise at Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden (PJCBG). Known for one of the largest spring tulip bulb displays in the region, PJCBG offers 15 different garden experiences worth exploring. The Woodland Garden is a bit more private than the others on the property, largely due to the blanket of shade cast by the greenery and its location further back from the visitor center, so there’s less immediate foot traffic. To round out your trip in Kernersville, finish off your picnic lunch with a beer from Kernersville Brewing Company and make a pitstop at Körner's Folly, “the Strangest Home in America.”  

Grace Court Park

In Winston-Salem's Historic West End, Grace Court Park 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.  

Salem Lake Marina

Grab your fishing poles (or rent some onsite) when you reach for that picnic basket and head to the city’s eastside for an afternoon at the Salem Lake Marina. Known as a hidden diamond in Winston-Salem and located minutes from downtown, Salem Lake offers 365 acres of water surrounded by a seven-mile trail perfect for walking or biking. The pier will have you feeling like you’re on the coast but instead you’re nestled in the woods of Winston-Salem. Now unplug, unwind, and Bon Appetit!