Family picnics are a great way to get outside in Westerville, Ohio, and enjoy nature while spending some quality time with your loved ones. No matter the weather or time of year, with the right clothing you can stay comfortable and cozy as you set up at an outdoor picnic shelter. Pour some hot drinks for the kids, then fire up a grill or campfire and set the table with a hamper of homemade food. Here are some parks with picnic spots you might like to check out the next time you go picnicking in Westerville.
Inniswood Metro Gardens
“Picnic” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Chloe Lim
The Inniswood Metro Gardens is located in south Westerville at 940 S. Hempstead Road. This is a 123-acre wooded nature preserve that features beautifully landscaped gardens with woodland paths and grassy lawns. You’ll find the Inniswood Metro Gardens’ picnic area on the south side of the parking lot. It offers a pavilion with nearby restrooms. Pets are allowed in the parking lot area and on the Chipmunk Chatter Trail only. Visiting the metro gardens is free, and it is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Attractions at the Inniswood Metro Gardens include the Innis House, once owned by sisters Grace and Mary Innis, who donated the grounds that sit amid the cultivated gardens. Now, the house is used for community education programs, staff offices, and as a non-lending horticulture library for study. Works by local artists are displayed in the main room of the house as well. The Innis house is open Tuesday through Sunday with varying hours. You can also enjoy exploring the beautiful grounds, which have several miles of trails through the gardens and around the preserve, with both paved and gravel surfaces and some boardwalks.
Hoover Reservoir Park
The Hoover Reservoir Park is located at 7701 Sunbury Road. This 4,700-acre park around the Hoover Reservoir offers outdoor recreational opportunities that include hiking, boating, bird watching, fishing, golfing, camping, and picnicking. The park has seven open-air shelter houses, three of which are available to reserve for a fee during the summer season and include nearby portable restroom facilities. During the rest of the year, all shelters are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Each shelter contains five or six picnic tables, some located along the waterfront, while others can be found in wooded areas.
Blendon Woods Park
Blendon Woods offers miles of hiking trails through hardwood forests, open fields, and bluffs of rippled sandstone carved by rivers. This 653-acre park is located at 4265 E. Dublin Granville Road, just 5 miles south of Westerville on the outskirts of Columbus. If you’re looking for a picnic spot for a family gathering or birthday party, then check out Blendon Woods Park. It has four reservable open-air shelters that can hold 50 to 80 people, with a range of amenities that include charcoal grills, long dining tables, prep tables, electrical outlets, drinking fountains, restrooms, and play areas.
Blendon Woods also has seven non-reservable shelters that are free to use, five that are closed on three sides, and two open-sided shelters. You’ll find them as you enter the park, located on the first road on the right. Included nearby are outdoor picnic tables that are perfect for a small family picnic if the weather is nice, along with grills, restrooms, a play field, playground, and ranger station. The park is open from October 1 to March 31 from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; it’s open until 10 p.m. the rest of the year.
Rocky Fork Park
Rocky Fork Metro Park can be found at 7180 E Walnut Road, just east of the Hoover Reservoir. It offers several recreational trails through woodlands, fields, wetlands, and past ponds, including the 3-mile Bridle Trail that is open to horseback riders. The park also has a dog park for your canine friends as well as an off-leash dog trail. In the dog park, you will find a picnic shelter that holds up to 14 people, or it can be divided in half for two groups of seven, with a grill for each side.
There are a few other options if you are looking for a picnic spot in Rocky Fork. The Millstone picnic area has a large stone-and timber-frame shelter that can hold up to 68 people. It’s equipped with tables, two grills, a fireplace, and electricity. A nearby play area incorporates three large climbing boulders and an earthen mound. The top of the mound offers picnic tables that allow visitors to look over the playground and surrounding park. There is also a grill pad in the nearby woods with one picnic table that seats six people, as well as picnic tables throughout the park.
Sharon Woods Park
Sharon Woods Park is a 761-acre park with a nature preserve, 11-acre lake, woodlands, meadows, and wetlands. It has several trails that lead to the lake and to the preserve, as well as the nearly 4-mile paved multipurpose trail that loops around the park. It has a reservable shelter, the Spring Hollow Lodge, which can hold 64 people. It offers many amenities, including a large gas log fireplace, a kitchenette with a microwave and large coffee maker, a sofa and chairs, and wildlife observations windows.
Sharon Woods has several non-reservable picnic shelters. The Schrock Lake picnic area has two open shelters and two three-sided shelters, all with tables and grills, along with restrooms, drinking fountains, and playgrounds. The Apple Ridge and the Maple Grove picnic areas each have one open shelter with tables and grills, restrooms, and other amenities.
An outdoor picnic is a fun way to spend an afternoon with the whole family. Pack your favorite sandwiches and hot drinks, hike some trails, then stop at a picnic spot to enjoy a well-earned meal with great views. Have you been to any of the picnic places on this list? Contact us at Crème de la Crème of Westerville, OH, and tell us which is your favorite picnic spot.