Local mom and “Outdoors with Kids Boston” guidebook author, Kim Foley MacKinnon, shares her best family outing tips and picks with you as part of our guest blog series with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Kids Outdoors Boston free online community.
Going on outdoor summer adventures with your kids often means eating on the go, maybe picking something up at a snack bar or bringing a PB&J sandwich and a piece of fruit. It can be fun to switch the focus to making a picnic the main event, and the setting is the key. Here are some outstanding picnic spots that will make your al fresco meal that much more delicious!
Blue Hills Reservation: Eliot Tower
A 2-mile loop trail leads to the summit of Great Blue Hill, which at 635 feet is the highest point in the Blue Hills, the largest open space within 35 miles of Boston. Along the way, have your picnic at a table in the shade of the stone Eliot Tower, which you can climb for great views.
Noanet Woodlands, a Trustees of Reservations property, is adjacent to Caryl Park in Dover, MA. The 1.6-mile trail leads to an old mill site, which has a waterfall and the Upper and Lower Mill ponds. Unexpectedly, there’s a single picnic table here, perfect for your lunch break.
Breakheart Reservation: Eagle Rock
Bring your picnic to the top of Eagle Rock at Breakheart Reservation, which straddles Wakefield and Saugus, MA. It’s an easy hike of less than a half a mile that takes you to the top with a commanding view over the lake. Bring bathing suits in case your crew decides they want to take a dip in Pearce Lake afterwards.
Lynn Woods: Dungeon Rock
What could be more exciting than dining on top of a possible buried treasure? Supposedly Dungeon Rock in Lynn, MA is the final resting place of a pirate who was running from the law in 1658. He was hiding in a cave when an earthquake hit, burying him and the treasure. In the 1800s, people dug for the treasure, but never found it. There is a cave you can explore, so make sure to bring a flashlight with you.
deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum
It’s a blast to picnic amid the outdoor sculptures at this property in Lincoln, MA, where kids can explore the modern artwork, some of which they can touch or even climb on. Children love roaming around to discover artwork hidden beneath tree branches or using sticks to make sounds on the Musical Fence installation.
Kim Foley MacKinnon is a Boston-based editor, journalist, travel writer—and mom. She writes the Kids Outdoors Boston blog for the Appalachian Mountain Club and contributes to the Boston Globe, AAA Horizons, Boston Parents Paper, and many other publications.
Photo: deCordova Sculpture Park