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Top 20 Picnic Spots in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Looking for a great spot to relax and bring a picnic lunch or dinner?  There are few better places to picnic than the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia.

The number of great spots are nearly endless, but here are some of our favorite places.  We also asked the more than 89,000 members in our Blue Ridge Mountain Life Facebook Facebook Group what their favorite spots where and we've included many of their recommendations as well!

Just remember to plan ahead, as finding food in the remote Blue Ridge Mountains can sometimes be difficult.  

Most importantly, ALWAYS hike out what you hike in and LEAVE NO TRACE.  If you enjoy our content, and decide to use one of the locations below, in exchange we just ask that you commit to leaving no trace when you visit.  We would even encourage you to bring some trash bags with you, and  pack out any trash you may find.  Let's be sure to leave these mountains pristine for future generations!


Max Patch North Carolina

Sunset at Max Patch NC

One of our favorite places to picnic and watch the sunset is Max Patch in North Carolina.  Max Patch offers nearly 360 degree views, and a fairly short hike to the top of this mountain bald offering incredible views of the surrounding Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains.  Both Sunrises and Sunsets here are exceptional.


Waterrock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunset at Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Waterrock Knob, at MP451.2 is a popular spot for picnics, especially at sunset.   The easy to access parking lot offers tremendous views, places for kids to play, and picnic tables.   Many often grab food on the way up in Maggie Valley, sit at one of the many picnic tables, and watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Linville Falls

Linville Falls

Linville Falls, located at MP317 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, has a riverside picnic area, near the Visitor Center that makes for a beautiful and relaxing spot to have a picnic.  You can also hike down to one of the viewing areas of the Falls as well, for a more up close picnic near the falls.  Just be aware, these areas are more intended for viewing, than picnics and you won't find picnic tables.


Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway

Craggy Gardens

Craggy Gardens offers a few locations for picnics.  The main one being the beautiful Craggy Picnic area, located off a short side road just before the visitor center at MP355 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  

The picnic area has numerous picnic tables and areas, along with access to hiking trails.  For a picnic with more scenic views, hike to the top of Craggy Pinnacle Trail.  This is also an amazing spot for both sunrises and sunsets.


Biltmore Estate

Biltmore House Lagoon

Biltmore is FULL of many different spots to enjoy a picnic, with thousands of acres to explore.   While there is no official picnic area, you can bring a blanket and picnic nearly anywhere on the property, including on the numerous hiking trails, in the gardens, along the creeks and streams, or along the river.   Two of our favorite spots include the Lagoon area (pictured above), or near the Diana statue facing Biltmore House.


Mt. Mitchell

Mt Mitchell Picnic Area

At Mount Mitchell, located at MP355 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can picnic on the highest peak in North Carolina.  The Mount Mitchell picnic area has two shelters with fireplaces, and more than 40 picnic tables.  The picnic area is first come first serve, and free to use.  

Be sure to bring some extra clothes, as it can often be much colder at the top, and windy!


Carolina Hemlocks Recreation Area

Carolina Hemlocks Recreation Area NC

Located near Burnsville NC and next to the South Toe River, Carolina Hemlocks Recreation Area is an excellent spot for a family picnic.   The picnic area has 19 tables and grills, and is river side, providing relaxing sounds and views, and plenty of mountain swimming and fishing as well.


Whitetop Mountain, Virginia

Whitetop Mountain Virginia

Have a picnic, surrounded my incredible views at over 5,500 foot in elevation!   Whitetop Mountain is the second highest peak in Virginia, and the peak is accessible by an access road.  You can literally drive to the top, and have a picnic with amazing views!


Vogel State Park, Georgia

Vogel State Park, Georgia

Photo Credit: Mikel Manitius

Located at the base of Blood Mountain in the heart of Chattahoochee National Forest, Vogel State Park is one of the oldest and most popular state parks in the state.  The Park's 22 acre lake is very popular, and makes for a wonderful place for a picnic.  There are multiple picnic shelters around the lake, and parking as well.   There are also a number of hiking trails and water activities, including a beach area.


Julian Price Park, Blue Ridge Parkway

Julian Price Lake

Located near Boone and Blowing Rock NC, and directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP297), Julian Price Park is a beautiful and peaceful spot for a picnic outing.   The park is also a popular location for hiking, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, and camping as well.    The 47 acre lake is the key attraction and is accessible from the 100 site picnic area via area trails.


Highway 276, Pisgah National Forest

Highway 276, Pisgah National Forest

The scenic drive between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Brevard, North Carolina is beautiful, and full of things to see, including waterfalls, the Cradle of Forestry, and numerous hiking trails.  The majority of the road, runs creekside, and all along the road side are picnic tables, each providing its own unique view of the creek and surrounding mountains.   


Preachers Rock, Georgia

View from Preacher's Rock, Georgia

Photo by: Greg Gilbert

You'll have to hike for this one, it's only 2 miles roundtrip, but steep.   Preacher's Rock in Georgia is on the Appalachian Trail, and provides some incredible long distance scenic views at the top.  Hang out, enjoy your picnic, the views, and relax in the sun.  


Pink Beds, Pisgah National Forest

Pink Beds Trail

Photo by: Ken Lane

Pink Beds, in Pisgah National Forest NC, is not only a great hiking trail, but across from the trail is a very nice picnic area, featuring 21 picnic tables and 2 shelters.   The picnic area is very popular, so expect crowds, especially on the weekends during peak season.  Pink Beds is a great spot for a family picnic, followed by a great hike along the Pink Beds trail.


Chimneys Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Fall Colors at Chimneys Picnic Area

One of the most popular picnic areas and probably the most visited in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Chimneys Picnic Area, located off Highway 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.   The area is right next to the West Prong Little Pigeon River, and offers water access via the loop road.  There are 68 picnic areas, many very close to the water.  Each has picnic table, and heavy duty grill.    This area is absolutely beautiful year round, and even has its own nature/hiking trail.


Big Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Big Creek Picnic Area

The Big Creek Picnic area is our own personal favorite place to have a picnic.  The Picnic area is just off from the Parking area, and creekside.   Big Creek is the smallest picnic area in the Great Smoky Mountains, with only 10 picnic sites, but it's one of the most beautiful picnic areas in the park.   Each site has a heavy duty grill, and most are right next to Big Creek.


Doughton Park,Virginia

Doughton Park Picnic Area

Doughton Park, located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the oldest Parkway campgrounds, and offers excellent long distance views from the picnic area.  


Chimney Rock, NC

Chimney Rock NC

Chimney Rock State Park, near Lake Lure NC, makes for a wonderful day trip full of hiking, incredible views, exploration, and waterfalls.   During your visit, there are number of different picnic options including the group picnic area and tables at the Sky Lounge Deli that offer amazing views.  For a real picnic experience, bring your own picnic or grab hiker lunches at the Sky Lounge Deli, and find your own unique spot on one of the numerous trails in the park.


Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway

Spring at Mabry Mill

One of the most famous and most photographed structures on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mabry Mill (MP169) offers hiking, camping, and picnicking.  The area around Mabry Mill contains three different picnic areas, and of course you can find your own on many of the area trails. 


Crabtree Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway

Crabtree Falls

One of the most popular waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway is Crabtree Falls.   For a picnic, you can choose to hang out at the dedicated picnic area near the campground and parking area, or hike your picnic down to the falls themselves for a more waterside and natural picnic.  Either way, you can't go wrong.  The area, hike and waterfall itself are wonderful!


Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Park Picnic Area

Photo by: T & B

The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is 3,800 acres of natural old growth forest.  The only way to see the forest, and the amazing 400 year old trees is by using a 2-mile loop trail.   At the trailhead, is a beautiful picnic area and flush toilets near near the parking area.   This is a visit, picnic and hike you will love!

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.


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