An outdoor picnic can be a delicious way to spend quality time with family, enjoy some fresh air, and appreciate local wildlife. If you’re looking for a way to celebrate warmer temperatures arriving in Ohio, consider gathering your friends and family for a meal in the park. Pack a basket full of healthy snacks and cold beverages and head to one of the many lively parks and gathering areas around the city for an afternoon full of nutritious bites and outdoor exercise. Here’s our roundup of four of the best places to picnic in West Chester, Ohio.

Keehner Park

woman reading with girl while lying on orange and white floral picnic mat

Photo via Unsplash by lianamikah using Unsplash License

With babbling water, wild grasses, and sky-scraping trees, Keehner Park is a 123-acre creekside paradise that captures the best of outdoor life in southeastern Ohio. As a public facility, Keehner Park allows residents to reserve any of the five picnic shelters for use. Each shelter features a roof to make sure you don’t get too much sunshine, plenty of wooden picnic tables to accommodate large groups of family and friends, electricity, and charcoal grills you can fire up to cook your meats and vegetables to perfection.

Nearby, you’ll find restrooms so you can clean up after your picnic, and there are playgrounds and trails just steps away from the shelters. Round up your family for a gentle nature walk after the meal and wind your way through the surrounding forest. There are also pickleball courts, basketball courts, and tennis courts if you’d rather enjoy some friendly competition. To reserve a shelter for your next family picnic, you can fill out a reservation form online. The shelters are only available to rent during the warmer months of the year to ensure the safety and comfort of your family.

The Square at Union Centre

For a picnic locale in the center of the city, consider The Square at Union Centre. This happening park is a location for community gatherings in West Chester, hosting events like open-air markets and holiday celebrations. Plan a carefree or work lunch picnic that you don’t have to pack by bringing a blanket to the Union Centre Boulevard Merchant Association’s Annual Food Truck Rally. You can relax outside while gathering with friends and enjoying your pick of West Chester local cuisine.

If you like inexpensive activities your family can enjoy together, you might appreciate The Takeover, a free concert series that The Square at Union Centre hosts every Thursday night during the summer from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Connect with local culture by enjoying a picnic with food and drinks from West Chester-based vendors while listening to live music. Beverages sales go toward nonprofit groups working to better the community, so you can teach your kids the importance of involvement and philanthropy in a delicious and entertaining way.

Voice of America MetroPark

If you’re looking for a picnic spot that has it all, plan to spend the afternoon at the Voice of America MetroPark. With 435 acres of rolling greens, you’ll have no trouble finding a space to spread your picnic blanket. If you prefer a designated picnic area to gather with friends and eat, you could take advantage of one of the park’s many picnic tables. For something a little more private, there’s an outdoor shelter you can reserve in advance. 

No need to cook beforehand, either. You can use a grill or fire pit to cook hot dogs or burgers, and there are cold water fountains where you can fill up water bottles. If you want to get in some exercise before your meal, your group can enjoy a quick game of soccer, lacrosse, or hockey at the Voice of American Athletic Field Complex. Little ones might enjoy getting their energy out on the large playground. You can also fish or boat on the 35-acre stocked lake or walk or jog on the park’s nine miles of trails.

Even four-legged family members are welcome. If your furry friends mind their manners during your picnic, reward them with a visit to the Wiggly Field Dog Park, a fenced park on the premises with separate play areas for small and big dogs. Whether you want to enjoy a water-side hike before your picnic or gather around the campfire on a summer night, this year-round park is a local favorite for an outdoor meal with family.

Beckett Park

Beckett Park is a public park in West Chester with a historical spin, so it’s a great picnic spot if engaging your kids in educational activities is a priority for you. Here, you’re surrounded by homages to local history. Kids can stay entertained while you prep the food by playing on the pioneer-themed playground, which aims to serve children of all skill levels. On the premises is also the historic Muhlhauser Barn, which was once owned by Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Company. Besides being a Cincinnati landmark, the barn now serves as a venue for weddings and community events. 

You can enjoy your meal at the park’s picnic shelter, a covered area with benches and tables. The shelter also features a fireplace, so you don’t have to worry about getting chilly if you’re planning on a picnic dinner after nightfall. On the park’s west side, there’s a natural playground. This play area encourages children to enjoy natural terrain for climbing and play instead of swing sets and slides. For a unique public park experience that offers your little ones an opportunity to learn about West Chester’s history, head to Beckett Park.

If you’re looking for a scenic spot to stretch out a picnic blanket, West Chester is full of gems. The parks we recommended are wonderful locations for a delicious meal in the sun and continued family fun on a variety of athletic courts, playgrounds, and nature trails. How did you like our list? Did we miss a park or favorite picnic spot? If you have comments about these places or a suggestion of one we missed, please contact us with more information. We’ll be sure to update our list of great West Chester picnic places.