Sweet summer air, slightly overcast skies, a cool breeze passing through, and the sound of trickling water seems like the perfect combination of elements for a picnic. Going outside is like medicine for the mind, and Boise residents love utilizing their parks and green spaces. When you go on a picnic, you get to eat yummy bite-sized food, curate your blanket setup, and enjoy the outdoor scenery all while reaping the mental health benefits of spending time outdoors.
If you live in Boise, you’ve probably already visited a few parks and outdoor spaces the city offers. But have you enjoyed a picnic there?
We’ll share our favorite picnic spots you can enjoy in Boise. But before we do, we’ve created a picnic packing list with our favorite food and drinks.
Commençons! Let the planning begin.
Picnic Packing List
Before you head out, don’t forget to bring:
- A blanket for either putting on the ground or draping over provided seating
- An array of food and drinks. Here are some of our favorites:
- Charcuterie cheese, crackers, and cured meats
- Fresh sliced fruit and berries
- Cold pasta salad or salad greens with fixings
- Sandwiches with a crunchy side
- Fizzy kombucha, lemonade, iced tea, seltzer water, or fruit juice
- A picnic basket with utensils and napkins or plastic cutlery, paper towels, and paper plates
- One pocket knife/folding knife and small cutting board
- A small cooler or ice packs if needed
MK Nature Center
The MK Nature Center has no shortage of fascinating scenery and critters to discover. Walk around the winding pathways, visit the underwater viewing stations, and smell their pollinator garden’s sweet flowers and herbs. The MK Nature Center is loaded with interesting specimens for adults and children alike!
Walk along the twisted elevated pathway and under the MK Nature Center’s beautiful wooden pergola. You might even be able to catch a glimpse of rainbow trout, painted turtles, or a giant sturgeon!
Having a picnic on the bridge will restrict the walkway for other users, but the MK nature center has created small sheltered spaces near the path that you can use instead. You can see one in the image above.
Kathryn Albertson Park
If you’re a wildlife lover who enjoys serene spaces, Kathryn Albertson Park is a spot you can’t miss. It’s well-loved by birders who enjoy seeing waterfowl, song birds, and game birds. If you watch closely, you might even be able to spot an owl or great blue heron! Many other animals also inhabit the park. Turtles, salamanders, beavers, rabbits, deer, and foxes can be found throughout. If you want to increase your chances of seeing wildlife, mornings and evenings are your best bet. Don’t forget to pack your binoculars! If you have a picnic planned with sports or music, we’d recommend choosing another park.
Walk through the winding pathways in the park to explore the large 41-acre park. In the spring and summer, you can enjoy a wide array of wildflowers in the grassy meadows. Keep in mind that biking, fishing, boating, and swimming are prohibited.
The Rookery is one of the best shady spots to have a picnic. It has a huge rustic lean-to roof with rounded beams and cedar poles. Enjoy the secluded area with stone benches surrounding sandstone fountains. While you can’t reserve a spot for a picnic, usually the park is quiet and there’s plenty of space. The Rookery can be reserved for formal ceremonies.
Walk near the marshy wetlands to see waterfowl and aquatic creatures.
Julia Davis Rose Garden
Enjoy the sweet smells and sights at the Rose Garden in Julia Davis Park. The Rose Garden opened in 1939 and has over 3,000 planted roses and adds more each year! The beautiful white and tan wooden pavilion is open for public use but is sometimes reserved for formal ceremonies. If you can’t find a spot under the pavilion, there are many picnic tables in the shade that you can use.
Walk through rows of roses in the Julia Davis Rose Garden.
Shaded pathways run through the park, and you can easily access the Boise River and greenbelt from here!
Shaded picnic tables and walkways in Julia Davis Park.
Julia Davis Agricultural Pavilion
The Agricultural Pavilion in Julia Davis Park is perfect for a small picnic. It can also be reserved if you want to have a large gathering!
After your picnic, cool off by exploring the Boise Art Museum. Julia Davis Park also has ample birding opportunities, bocce and horseshoe pits, fishing, open recreational areas, playgrounds, tennis courts, and the Boise Zoo. Make an entire day out of your picnic plans!