Looking for unique dining options for your vacation? We've got some wonderful picnic spots in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
Planning a picnic can be a fantastic way to experience a different part of a destination, while also making it easy and affordable to pick out foods that everyone in the group will enjoy. And in a region like Virginia's Blue Ridge, a picnic is a great opportunity to take advantage of the amazing natural beauty and outdoor-related activities.
The following is a list of 10 great picnic spots in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
Blue Ridge Parkway
As "America's Favorite Drive," a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway should be part of any Blue Ridge Mountain vacation! Pack the picnic blanket because the many scenic overlooks on the Parkway provide the perfect setting for a picnic while looking out over stunning vistas.
Popular stops include Harvey's Knob Overlook at Milepost 95, Montvale Overlook at Milepost 96, Iron Mine Hollow at Milepost 97, N&W Railroad Overlook at Milepost 107, Read Mountain Overlook at Milepost 110, Masons Knob Overlook at Milepost 126, Lost Mountain Overlook at Milepost 130, Slings Gap at Milepost 133, Cahas Knob Overlook at Milepost 139, Devil's Backbone at Milepost 144, Shortts Knob Overlook at Milepost 158, The Saddle Overlook at Milepost 168, Rocky Knob at Milepost 169, and Mabry Mill at Milepost 177.
Located in the heart of Downtown Roanoke, the recently renovated Elmwood Park is an awesome picnic location. Take advantage of the nearby Historic Roanoke City Market and give the kids time to play on the Peter Pan themed playground in the park.
Green Hill Park
With easy access to trails and the Roanoke River, as well as the quaint shops and market only a couple miles away on Salem's Main Street, Green Hill Park offers a relaxing picnic experience. The park features covered picnic shelters, which can be reserved for larger groups and events.
For a little adventure, pack a picnic and go for a hike on the Appalachian Trail. McAfee Knob is one of the most photographed spots on the trail and the summit serves as a great picnic location with its stunning panoramic view.
Note - the hike is approximately six miles round trip and moderately difficult.
Mill Mountain Park
Mill Mountain Park is home to the Roanoke Star and an incredible view of the Roanoke Valley and surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. There is also convenient access to the Mill Mountain Discovery Center, Mill Mountain Zoo, and multiple hiking & biking trails.
Peaks of Otter
A picnic around Abbott Lake at the Peaks of Otter is a wonderful place to stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. With great views of Sharp Top Mountain and Flat Top Mountain and the calm of the lake, it's a beautiful spot that's attracted visitors for years. Located at Milepost 86 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Roanoke Valley Greenways
Over 26 miles of greenways wind through the Roanoke Valley. Multiple parks connect to the Roanoke Valley Greenways, including Green Hill Park, Salem Park, Fishburn Park, Washington Park, Vic Thomas Park, Wasena Park, Smith Park, and Fallon Park. Many of the parks feature covered picnic spaces. The greenways also offer great views and access to the Roanoke River.
Roaring Run Recreation Area
The entire family will enjoy the hike at the Roaring Run Recreation Area, which includes a visit to the beautiful Roaring Run Falls and the Roaring Run Furnace. Picnic units feature wooden tables and a grill.
The three state parks in Virginia's Blue Ridge - Smith Mountain Lake, Claytor Lake, & Fairy Stone - offer a fantastic variety of fun experiences, including spaces for the perfect picnic. Each park has picnic space, and it can also be rented for larger groups and special events.
Waid Recreation Area
Located near the charming town of Rocky Mount, the Waid Recreation Area features an impressive collection of outdoor opportunities, including trails that wind along the Pigg River. The park also offers covered picnic shelters, pavilions, and grills.
Looking for more ways to spend time in Virginia's Blue Ridge? See our complete section on Things to Do.