June is here, school is finally out, and it is a perfect time to get outside and enjoy a picnic with family and friends. Houston has no shortage of green space to choose from, but narrowing it down to one park that meets all of your needs might present a challenge.
Different parks have different rules and amenities. Whether you are looking for a place to do some light snacking, full-scale grilling, or a variety of fun family activities, we can lend a hand in helping you choose the best Houston parks for your next outdoor picnic.
Some important factors to consider:
● Are you wanting to enjoy a few cold ones or maybe have picnic-style brunch with mimosas? Most city parks in Harris County do not allow alcohol, but we have found a couple of exceptions. Just be sure to leave the glass containers at home.
● If grilling is on your agenda, some parks have built-in grills and a few will even allow you to bring your own.
● Will your furry family member be joining you? Most parks are pet-friendly as long as you keep them on a leash. Some even have special dog parks or off-leash allowances.
● Are you looking for a no-frills type of environment or is onsite entertainment a must?
We’ve taken all of these considerations into account, and have pulled together a list of great places covering a range of activities.
The Best Houston Parks for a Picnic
Overlooking Lake Houston, Alexander Deussen Park is great for the whole family. Onsite amenities include picnic areas, playgrounds, boat ramps, trails, and a duck pond. A water gazebo overlooks part of the lake, and shoreline fishing is also allowed. There is a separate dog park as well, which has a designated area for smaller pets. Restrooms are also available.
Arthur Storey Park near the Chinatown district surrounds a large detention pond, making it a great spot to see aquatic wildlife and do some bird watching. The park has multiple picnic areas and playgrounds, making it a great spot to take the kids. There are barbecue grills and plenty of trees for shade.
Bendwood Park is a great neighborhood park on Kimberley Lane that has picnic tables, two playgrounds, and even a tennis court and baseball field. The one downside is there are no public restrooms, so make sure to plan ahead.
Menil Park is a basic in terms of park amenities, but it is definitely a local favorite. Surrounded by the rest of the Menil campus, the greenspace is intimately connected to the urban surroundings. The lawn is sprinkled with outdoor sculpture and the Menil Collection is only steps away.
Taylor Lake Village City Park is a large park on the edge of Taylor Lake with playgrounds, picnic pavilions, a fishing pier, and sports fields. The park also features a 15-hole disc golf course and volleyball court. It is good to know that dogs are allowed off leash here, so be sure to plan accordingly—whether that means bringing your furry friend along to run around or being prepared for others’ pets to be roaming free.
Cypress Park off of Eldridge Parkway is a newer park complete just a couple of years ago. It has a great picnic area with tables (both covered and uncovered), a playground, and restrooms. There are also large nature areas, a trail encircling Parc Lake, and a small boardwalk. Fishing is allowed and the park is dog-friendly.
Hermann Park has an abundance of space and is a great spot for all sorts of onsite activities. There are 17 grills scattered throughout the park that are available on a first come, first served basis, but you can also bring your own grill with you. It is also alcohol friendly. Activities in the park include train rides, pedal boats, and fishing—though fishing is limited to children under 12 and seniors over 65, and catch-and-release is strongly encouraged. The park is also open late, until 11 pm.
Miller Outdoor Theatre, a subset of Hermann Park, is a great way to combine picnicking and live entertainment. Set up some lawn chairs or throw down a blanket, see a free show, and enjoy whatever drinks and treats you bring from home. There’s also a concession stand for extra snacks.
And let us know about your favorite picnic spot in the comments below!