Nashville has such an array of scenic parks and nature areas it is almost hard to narrow it down to just a few places that are good for family picnics. The list that follows should in no way be considered comprehensive, but it does offer some of the highlights of Nashville’s scenic picnic and playground offerings.
Centennial Park is a sprawling 132 acre area located on West End and 25th Avenue North, that has been used to service the recreational needs of Nashvillians for nearly 115 years. It has a band stand, an event shelter, a dog walking park, a pond, a garden, playgrounds, a cafe, historic aviation monuments, the Parthenon Pavilion, a full-scale reproduction of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and more. On top of all that, it is free and it is beautiful. There are many areas for picnicking, either on the ground or at tables, and plenty of trees for shade. Depending on how adventurous of an eater you are or the individuals in your family may be, it might be fun to pack a Greek-inspired lunch, with such items as hummus, olives, figs, grapes, pita bread and, of course, some baklava for dessert.
Edwin and Percy Warner
Edwin and Percy Warner Parks have been family favorites for many, many years. Together they make up the largest municipal parks in the state and span over 2500 acres. In addition to picnic areas and playgrounds, there are scenic roadways and overlooks, hiking trails, horse trails and other areas of interest. They are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you plan to take advantage of the hiking trails before or after your picnic, bring foods that are easy to carry like snack bars and trail mix, plus lots of bottled water.
Natchez Trace Parkway
Starting just south of Nashville is the Natchez Trace Parkway, a scenic by-way that features dozens and dozens of areas of interest either natural, historic or both. The Parkway follows much of the original route of the Natchez Trace trade road. Bikes are welcome, as the Trace is a designated bicycle route. There are plenty of places for picnics and exploration for families to enjoy, almost year round. Make a day of it and pack a large selection of cold cuts and vegetable salads, or things to grill on one of the many barbecue pits available.
Fannie Mae Dees
Last, but hardly least, is Nashville’s historic “Dragon Park.” In addition to the winding mosaic dragon feature that gives the park its commonly used nickname, the park offers a large shaded play area, a tunnel and many spots for picnicking. Consider a picnic featuring medieval fare in honor of the dragon.