Picnics are a fun way for the family to enjoy a meal while savoring the great outdoors. Whether you pack a basket filled with sandwiches, fruit, and dessert or stop by a deli or restaurant to get food to go, you can have a wonderful time at any of these six fabulous picnic spots in and around Carmel, Indiana.

Carey Grove Park

Two children at a picnic table enjoying snacks in Carmel, IN

Amelia asking Reese to Share by Donnie Ray Jones is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Enjoy a picnic at the popular Carey Grove Park just off 146th Street. This unique 5-acre park has whimsical musical features scattered throughout that both kids and adults can explore. The designers of Carey Grove Park created two separate playgrounds: one for kids aged 2 to 5 and another one for youngsters aged 5 to 12. 

In addition, adults can get a workout on the exercise equipment consisting of two stationary bikes and an elliptical machine. After a busy day playing at Carey Grove Park, you and your kids can sit back and relax and have a meal under a shady tree or at one of the picnic shelters.

Location: 14001 N. Carey Road, Carmel.

Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset.

Coxhall Gardens

If you’re looking for a picnic spot with fascinating features, take your meal to Coxhall Gardens. This 125-acre park has a recreational lake the family can fish in, a children’s garden for the youngsters to explore, and the centerpiece of the park — twin 90-foot bell towers.

The kids can play on the playground structures, the family can hike the paved nature trail (ideal for pushing a stroller), and everyone can enjoy listening to live music when the park hosts musicians. Once you’ve packed your picnic basket with goodies from the Carmel CSA box and other treats, head over to the Campbell Crossing section of Coxhall Gardens, where you can sit and eat your meal while admiring the beauty of this park.

Location: 11677 Towne Road, Carmel.

Hours: Daily from dawn to dusk.

Flowing Well Park

Pack a picnic and bring empty water jugs with you when you come to Flowing Well Park. In 1904, miners looking for natural gas accidentally discovered an artesian well. In 1926, the owner of the land, Charles L. Williamson, donated the well for public use and eventually built a concrete wall around the well site.

Then, in 1991, the Williamson family donated the land to the Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation organization, which created Flowing Well Park. Today, the City of Carmel’s Water Department frequently tests the quality of the water that comes from the well, and locals often come to fill their water bottles. You can also bring a fishing pole to Flowing Well Park and fish along the shores of Cool Creek. After enjoying your picnic at the shaded picnic shelter, simply take a stroll along the soft-surface nature trail to look for birds, wildlife, and flowers during spring.

Location: 5100 E. 116th St., Carmel.

Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset.

Founders Park

Before heading to Founders Park for the day, stop by one of these restaurants in Carmel that serve healthy food and get some tasty takeaway goodies for your picnic. Founders Park has 37 acres of open green space, a prairie, a playground, and shaded picnic shelters.

The family can play sports at the soccer/lacrosse field, take a walk along the soft surface or paved nature trails, and cast their line in the pond to try to catch some fish. Founders Park is a wonderful place to spend time, with plenty of recreational opportunities and spots to relax and enjoy a beautiful day outside.

Location: 11675 Hazel Dell Parkway, Carmel.

Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset.

Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens

If you find yourself in nearby Indianapolis, you must stop by Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens to admire the grounds and have a picnic. For just $3 admission (or $5 for special events), you can visit the 10,000-square-foot conservatory is filled with hundreds of plants from around the world, including palm trees, coffee plants, and a variety of ferns. After visiting the conservatory, stroll around the 3 acres of European classical formal gardens that make up the Sunken Garden area.

During mid-spring through mid-fall, the staff at the Sunken Garden turns on the seasonal fountains, and this setting is ideal for your afternoon picnic. Throughout the year, the staff at Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens offers events ranging from guided tours to bird walks. Young kids will enjoy programs that are tailored to them, where the staff introduces some of the resident critters, shows them the flowers in the gardens, and tells nature-themed stories.

Location: 2505 Conservatory Drive, Indianapolis.

Hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Morse Park and Beach

When the temperatures climb in the Carmel, Indiana, area, nothing beats cooling off at Morse Park and Beach in Noblesville. This 23-acre park has a fishing pond, an 18-hole disc golf course, and a baseball/softball stadium. Kids can burn off energy in the playground, swim in the reservoir, or enjoy the delights of the seasonal Aqua Park Adventure inflatable water park.

The water park is a new feature and has obstacle courses, a climbing wall, a trampoline, and slides that let you zoom down and then land in the water with a splash. Of course, the family will work up an appetite from all the activities that Morse Park and Beach offer, so you’ll want to eat a meal at one of the picnic shelters. After eating and relaxing, take time to walk the nature trails and keep an eye out for local and migrating birds, frogs, and turtles on the banks of the reservoir and shy wildlife hiding in the trees.

Location: 19777 Morse Park Lane, Noblesville.

Hours: Daily from dawn to dusk.

There you have it. Those are the top picnic-spot picks from our team at Crème de la Crème of Carmel. Do you have a recommendation for other places where you can enjoy a picnic in the Carmel area? If you do, let us know, and we’ll share your suggestion with others in our local community.