Lovely picnic setting

Best Places to Picnic in the Vail Valley

The long, snowy days of winter have passed and summer begins to beckon. It’s time to grab the picnic basket, a bottle of wine, some delicious snacks, cheese, crackers, sandwiches, fresh fruit and any other must-have items and go off into nature to enjoy a big, beautiful picnic with the people you love.Summer here, in Vail, Colorado can be short, you must take advantage of the nice weather and get outside, now, before it’s gone! Whether you’re a local or just visiting, here is a list of the best places to picnic in the Vail Valley to get out and enjoy the season.

We have also included a list of restaurants that make picnic boxes for you, so it’s easier than ever to spread that blanket and enjoy lunch alfresco.



See Also: Best Insulated Picnic Baskets


Best Vail Valley Picnic Spots


Vail

Ford Park

Ford Park is the perfect choice for a family picnic, it is just a short walk from Vail village, and the park includes the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, a children’s play park, the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and the Moroles Sculpture Park. There are also tennis courts, athletic fields and a half-court basketball area

There are lots of picnic spots. You can picnic below the softball fields or near the kids’ playground, so kids’ can eat lunch and play while the adults can relax and enjoy a little quiet time. There is a pavilion with covered picnic tables, a charcoal grill (BYO charcoal) and restrooms.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Take your picnic basket into the Betty Ford Gardens and find a bench to enjoy lunch while looking at all the beautiful high altitude plants and trees, it is a lovely setting. The Gardens are adjacent to Ford Park

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Bring a picnic to the free outdoor concerts at the Ford Amphitheater and enjoy a picnic on the lawn while listening to live music. You cannot bring alcohol to the park but you can purchase beer and wine at the free concerts. Amphitheater is located right next to the Gardens.


Creekside Lawn in Vail Village

People have been picnicking on the banks of Gore Creek in the heart of Vail village for years. Located next to the International Bridge, this is the perfect place to sit and relax while watching the rafters, kayakers and paddle boarders play in the river. Bring your own lunch or grab something to-go from one of the many amazing restaurants that are right there on the promenade.


Gore Creek Benches

A beautiful bike path meanders next to the river from Lionshead to Vail Village. Along the way are many secluded, shady spots to stop and have a picnic. Find your own spot and spread a blanket, on the banks of the Gore Creek or sit a spell on one of the many benches that dot the shoreline. Enjoy the beautiful wooded area and the sounds of rushing water in this relaxing, pristine area.


Donovan Park

Donovan Park is a fantastic area for a picnic of any size. Although Donovan Pavilion is just open for events and weddings it is a beautiful structure that enhances this pretty park. Kiddos of all ages will have a ball, as there is a great children’s park that includes a train that they can sit and ride. They can play on different style slides, swings, monkey bars and fun obstacles to climb on. There is also a basketball court and you can stroll through the Vail Waterwise demonstration garden.

Picnickers will enjoy the picnic tables, benches and grassy areas where you can spread out a blanket and sit back and watch the kids’ play.


Bighorn Park

Located in East Vail, Bighorn Park is a fantastic picnic spot to for the entire family. The kids can play on the unique playground, let your dog run, unleashed on the big green field, toss a fishing line into the pretty pond or Gore Creek, and hang out, in this secluded, neighborhood park. There is are picnic tables, a small pavilion that is perfect for super sunny days or to take cover from a quick afternoon rain shower, and several barbecue grills (BYO charcoal). Alcohol is not allowed.


Piney Lake

Located north of Vail, 13 miles up a bumpy, dirt road. Yes, it’s a long haul, but soooo worth it, with SPECTACULAR views. There are picnic tables and lots of spots to spread a blanket, including renting a canoe and having a picnic in the middle of the high alpine lake surrounded by majestic peaks. Alcohol is not permitted outside but you can get a drink from the on-site restaurant bar. Keep in mind this area can get very busy as it is very popular in the summer.


Avon

Picnickers can relax by Nottingham Lake and enjoy stunning views of Beaver Creek mountain. The 48-acre park features a swimming area with a sandy beach, big green lawn areas, playground, volleyball court,  fishing pier and a walking path that meanders around the lake. There is also a beautiful amphitheater for outdoor concerts in the summer.

There are several picnic tables scattered throughout the park and a handful of charcoal grills (BYO charcoal) and restrooms. The playground area also has a long, covered picnic table that is perfect for birthday parties or family reunions. Picnics at the beach area are very popular, or rent a paddleboard or paddle boat, cruise the lake and have lunch on the water.

Alcohol is not allowed in the park. Picnickers can reserve the deck on the lake and the covered picnic table by the playground up to a day in advance.


Beaver Creek

Creekside Park

Creekside Park is located just steps from the heart of Beaver Creek Village, this pretty, pocket park never feels crowded. It has a beautiful little creek that runs through it and boasts a large play area, swing set and a covered gazebo which comes in handy for late afternoon rain showers or the perfect place to cool down if it becomes to hot and sunny for little ones. This park is breathtaking when the flowers bloom. Come and sit a spell in this beautiful, fun Beaver Creek park.

Beaver Lake

Not for the fainthearted, this picnic is for those who want to earn their lunch; Take a 3-mile hike to beautiful, secluded alpine Beaver Lake for an unforgettable picnic, high in the mountains. You will want to use a picnic backpack, not a basket, because it is a trek, although a spectacular trek, up through the beautiful pine and aspen forests of Beaver Creek.


Minturn

Little Beach Park

Little Beach Park in Minturn is a gem of a park and the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic. This quaint park is tucked away on Cemetery road and has beautiful views of the dramatic Minturn cliffs and the Eagle River. There is a playground for kids to play, with seesaws, swings, climbing wall and basketball court. It offers access to the river, so it is a great place to drop in a fishing line or dip a toe in. Picnic tables, charcoal grills (BYO charcoal) and a restroom make this a very family-friendly place for lunch outside. There is also an amphitheater for free summer concerts.


Edwards

Riverwalk Recreation Path

The Riverwalk in Edwards is a great place to stroll, shop and dine but it also has some wonderful, secluded picnic spots. Follow the bike path along the Eagle River in Edwards and you will see benches, picnic tables, grills and grassy areas all along the river. It is such a nice place to sit under the trees while gazing at the creek and enjoying a beautiful day. The recreation path goes from Edwards to Eagle-Vail so you can make a day of it biking or walking and stop along the way for a nice, summer picnic.


Eagle

Chambers Park

Chamber park is a lovely park located on the banks of the Eagle River and just steps from the Eagle Welcome Center. It is an ideal place to stop and take a break. Kids will enjoy running on green grassy area, or dipping their toes in the Eagle River to cool off. Enjoy a riverside picnic under the shade of big Cottonwoods while watching fisherman and whitewater rafters float by. This park has a public put-in/take-out for rafts, kayak, paddle boarders and fishing boats.

Eagle Town Park

Eagle Town Park is located at the south end of Broadway, in the center of  Eagle, Colorado. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon, outside! Families with kids’ will enjoy the playground, basketball court, horseshoe pits and on-site restrooms.

Picnic tables make it easy to serve up lunch and sit comfortably with just the right amount of shade. Watch the kids, read a book, take a nap or just enjoy being one with nature.

There is also a stage for free concerts in the summer.


Delicious Pre-Made Boxed Picnic Lunches

Want to go on a picnic but don’t want to spend a lot of time planning, gathering and packing lunches? These local restaurants make picnicking easy. These delicious, fresh meals are already packaged and ready to throw into your picnic basket, backpack or bike basket.

Spend less time planning and more time enjoying your time outside with these wonderful offerings. Keep in mind that most places need 24-hours to prepare a basket so plan ahead.

Manor Vail Lodge

Located just steps from Ford Park, a popular picnic spot, Manor Vail offers gourmet sandwiches and juices or a charcuterie, fresh fruit, and lemonade. ManorVail.com

Root & Flower

Root & Flower’s offers picnic backpacks with wine, cheese and salami or choose from an assortment of snacks prepared by Chef Matt Limbaugh. rootandflowervail.com

The Four Seasons

Offer guests and non-guests picnic services, choose from a customized kid-friendly picnic pack or a gourmet picnic spread FourSeasonsVail.com

Vintage Vail

Enjoy gourmet baskets fully-stocked with cheese, charcuterie, fresh baguettes, and add-ons like sandwiches, chips, and cookies. vintage-vail.com

Columbine Bakery

Long time local bakery offers delicious fresh baked baguettes, pastries and simple but delicious sandwiches. ColumbineCafe.com

Hovey & Harrison

Located in Edwards, Hovey & Harrison make picnic shopping easy with a huge variety of delicious breads, local produce and delicious foods perfect for snacking from the grab and go cooler. HoveyAndHarrison.com

Drunken Goat

Delicious assortment of cheese, breads, crackers, cured meats, grilled paninis and more. You will quickly and easily find everything you need for a spectacular picnic at this Edwards restaurant DrunkenGoatCo.com

Lauren’s Kitchen

Offers pre-made, grab-and-go, delicious lunch and dinner items.  All in easily reseable, recyclable plastic boxes that are perfect for your picnic basket  NewAmericanFoods.com

The Grazing Fox

Picnic designer and The Grazing Fox founder Pamela Davis creates luxury lunch boxes for the perfect picnic. Affordable picnic boxes are a delicious and affordable solution. thegrazingfox.com


See Also: Best Insulated Picnic Baskets


Comments YouTube video about Vail Colorado picnic spots

We hope this list of the best places to picnic in the Vail valley is useful to you.  Please let us know what your favorite picnic spot is in the Vail valley.  What is your favorite picnic food? And what is your favorite picnic memory.  We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and stories.  Thanks for reading!


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4 Comments

  • Kenny

    Hi this post about the best places to picnic in the Vail Valley is perfectly timed for me.  My girlfriend and I will be spending 10 days in Vail, the beginning of August and I have been searching what to do in Vail.  This is giving me some great ideas.  I would love to do a hiking picnic, a picnic at a concert and maybe spend the afternoon on a boat on the lake, or maybe ride bikes along the bike path and stop along the river to have a picnic.  You have my head spinning now with cool ideas, thanks so much 

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Kenny, I am so happy you found some great ideas for your trip to Vail in August.  Yes, there are tons of amazing places to picnic in the Vail Valley.  Don’t forget to make it easy on yourself by ordering food ahead of time and just pick up a premade picnic box, just drop them in your bike basket, backpack, or tote.  It is so easy and delicious.  Check out this post about insulated picnic baskets and choose the one that would work for you and your girlfriend and the activities you are planning.  Also, you may want to check out the Vail Summer Calendar of Events to see what’s going on during the time you are here. Have fun while you are visiting Vail and ENJOY!

  • Sara

    I love Vail! We just drove through it this past weekend on our way to the Grand Valley – My family and I love spending the day in Vail and these are wonderful ways to spend a sunny afternoon, which Vail has an abundance of.  I am thinking our next trip will include a hiking picnic to Beaver Lake.  We are familiar with Beaver Creek and have hiked there in the past. It will wear my kids out and my husband and I can enjoy the beautiful views! Thank you for these wonderful location suggestions AND the restaurant recommendations that make picnic boxes to go! That will make it easy to pick up some grub on the way and not spend a lot of time at the grocery store searching for “what do we want to eat?”.  Absolutely makes picnic season easier – I am the WORST picnic planner, I always forget utensils or make something that sounds fancy, but isn’t practical to eat without a table.

    • ThinkVail

      Hi Sara, I am so happy you found the post about the Best Places to Picnic in the Vail Valley helpful! Yes, the Beaver Lake picnic is really fun, it is definitely a good hike, but well worth the effort.  Don’t forget to bring a good backpack for your picnic, like the Kitchen Supreme Backpack, it is so much easier to carry on a hike then a tote or basket. It sounds like your family visits quite often so if you’re looking for more hiking trails with great picnic spots along the way check out the post Best Hikes for Kids in the Vail Valley. 

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