10 Places to Picnic in the Corridor
Mark your calendar and grab your family and friends — we’ve got you covered with the best picnic spots in the Corridor.
Why eat lunch at home when you could eat alongside roaming wild bison, exquisite gardens or fast-moving whitewater rapids? That’s what it’s like to picnic in the Florida Wildlife Corridor.
Whether you’re looking for a family friendly excursion or want to spice up your lunch break — check out these 10 spots to picnic with breathtaking surroundings, wild activities and local foods to enjoy.
Live Wildly Tip: Don’t forget to properly dispose of your trash after picnicking! You want to protect the nature and wildlife that make your picnic experience so special.
Under a covered pavilion or at wooden tables, enjoy a golden hour picnic alongside the soothing rumble of the largest whitewater rapids in Florida. Both entrances provide picnic areas, and the 3.4-mile Woodpecker Trail connects the two. Besides stunning views of the rapids, you may also spot wild turkeys, bald eagles or Mexican free-tailed bats (especially around sunset!).
Live Wildly Tip: Pack a dinner or BBQ on the charcoal grills, and make sure you bring bug spray!
Located in Panama City Beach, this family friendly park has several picnic tables to choose from or you can lay a blanket down on the white sandy beach. Pick up pizza from Lake Powell Pizza — which donates 10% of its profits to support conservation efforts in the park — and eat with views of the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Powell. Walk off your meal on one of the many short hiking trails or rent a paddleboard and explore the lake — you may even see dolphins!
If you’re looking for a peaceful escape with views of Florida’s natural places, look no further than Suwannee River State Park. Bring your own food to the large picnic area that overlooks the river and features two covered pavilions plus several tables and grills. While your kids play at the nearby playground, you can relax on the porch swing and listen to the harmonious sounds of thrashers, barred owls and swallows.
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
Looking for the ideal Saturday? We’ve got you covered. First, stop by the Spring Hill Farmers Market and pick up some fresh, local fruits; then head to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park and picnic under covered pavilions or alongside a wild alligator lagoon. After lunch, you and your family can take a short hike to try to catch a glimpse of a Florida panther or watch a manatee feeding from the underwater observatory.
Live Wildly Tip: Don’t miss some of the rescued wildlife living in the park, including the oldest hippopotamus in captivity!
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
If you love animals, you’ll definitely enjoy a picnic at the only state park with free-roaming bison and horses. Make sure you grab a fresh veggie sandwich from Daily Green to munch on under the covered pavilion or at one of the tables spread throughout the park. Then, digest your meal with a hike along the multiple trails with impeccable birdwatching — around 300 species can be found in the park!
Live Wildly Tip: Don’t get too close to the wildlife — especially the bison, they can weigh up to almost 2,000 pounds!
This park offers picnic pavilions overlooking the gorgeous Lake Talquin. The family friendly getaway includes a short trail by the lake, plenty of wildlife viewing and a great spot for freshwater fishing. Order some jalapeño catfish bites to-go from farm-to-table restaurant Backwoods Crossing and enjoy with a view of the peaceful lake.
Live Wildly Tip: ICYMI: “Eat Wildly: Refuel in these Great Local Sports While Exploring the Florida Wildlife Corridor” has even more delicious spots like Backwoods Crossing to visit along the Corridor.
If the outdoors isn’t really your thing, a picnic at Eden Gardens State Park is a great way to dip your toes into Florida’s nature. Grab a smoothie bowl from Prema Organic Café and picnic beside the historic Wesley House mansion under hanging moss on oak trees or in the garden bursting with roses, azaleas and butterflies.
Live Wildly Fact: Two of the four picnic pavilions are ADA accessible.
Picnic beneath a pavilion by one of the largest mangrove swamps in the world. Pack a lunch or, if you’re visiting on a Saturday morning, stop by the Third Street South Farmers Market for local pastries and baked goods. The park offers numerous other activities, including canoeing along the gentle waters, biking through a 3.5-mile trail of blended temperate and tropical surroundings or hiking one of the four trails to view exciting wildlife, such as panthers, bobcats, manatees and alligators.
Live Wildly Tip: Remember, don’t get too close to these wild critters!
Atlantic Ridge Preserve State Park
This remote tropical paradise is quite literally a hidden gem — you need to call for access to the park’s gate code. Once inside, you’ll find endless quiet picnic spots throughout the park. On your way there, stop by Fruits & Roots for a roasted veggie panini or other vegan meal prepared completely from scratch — even the packaging is environmentally friendly! Later, spend some quality time with your family by walking along the serene trails to birdwatch egrets, cranes and hawks.
Under a pavilion or surrounding trees, picnic while watching the sunset on Pellicer Creek with your family or your S.O. for date night. Pick up an environmentally friendly, plant-based meal from The Sprout Kitchen and relax by the water. After your meal, you can kayak down the creek, walk along the short nature trails or birdwatch more than 100 species, including songbirds, wood warblers, herons and falcons.
There’s nothing quite like picnicking in the middle of nature with great company and food. The next time you crave a meal with a view, visit one of these parks with your favorite people and grub.
Do you have a favorite picnic spot in the Corridor to share? Let us know on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @LiveWildlyFL!