Is there anything more relaxing than a picnic on a beautiful day? Montgomery County, Maryland offers an abundant array of parks, over 400 to be exact, and wide-open spaces including a 93,000-acre Agricultural Reserve.
From transformed streets to farm breweries to urban popup parks, we’ve rounded up a few picnic spots you might not have known existed throughout the county. Be sure to visit MoCo Eats for restaurant suggestions, wear your mask, and stay socially distant while your picnicking.
As part of MCDOT’s new Shared Streets program, select roadways throughout the county are currently closed to vehicular traffic to help expand outdoor dining spaces for restaurants. Branded as a Streetery, these closed streets are urban picnic parks that feature tables and chairs, and are strategically located near a wide selection of restaurants. Streetery locations include Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Wheaton. Gibbs Street in Rockville and Laurel Avenue in Takoma Park were also transformed into outdoor dining.
Pro Tips: MoCo Eats features nearly 800 restaurant listings. Many of them are located near a Streetery.
Get a taste of Montgomery County’s rural side by visiting a farm brewery in the county’s 93,000-acre Agricultural Reserve. Local favorites include Waredaca Brewing Company and Elder Pine Brewing Company. Some breweries, including Brookville Beer Farm and the new Lone Oak Farm Brewery, offer food for sale on property. If you’re looking to assemble your own picnic of light snacks, consider swinging by The Family Room and browse their selection of Maryland made products.
Pro Tips: Check out the new Tastemakers Trail to learn more about the many craft beverage producers located throughout the county. Make sure to check the brewery’s website for updated hours and reservation requirements before your visit.
Popup Picnic Parks
Four popup parks have sprung up in the Pike District of North Bethesda. The largest of the picnic parks, at Market Street near the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, has 14 picnic tables and additional marked seating areas for a bring-your-own seated picnic. Areas are all positioned to be eight feet in diameter and six feet apart. A hand sanitizing station and cleaning supplies are available to provide additional safety measures. The three other parks also offer responsibly distanced picnic tables and additional space.
Pro Tips: Some street parking is available near certain park areas, and public parking garages also are nearby. Park visitors are welcome to bring their own tables, chairs and blankets.
The Picnic Scene at rio
On the hillside overlooking rio’s lakefront in Gathersburg is the picnic scene. Social distancing circles are painted on the grass to ensure proper spacing for all visitors in this picnic park. Indulge in takeout from restaurants located along the boardwalk including Silver Diner, Copper Canyon Grill and Yard House, while watching the paddle boats float around the lake.
Pro Tips: Before picking up your food, make sure to check out the new interactive 3D artwork by Chalk Riot near Copper Canyon Grill, and window art by local artist, Luther Wright, in the storefront across from the Courtyard by Marriott.
Fireside Picnic in the C&O Canal National Historical Park
If you’re picnic involves roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire, consider booking an overnight stay in a historic Canal Quarters lockhouse, managed by the C&O Canal Trust, Located in the C&O Canal National Historical Park, four of the five lockhouses that are located in Montgomery County feature a fire ring and picnic table onsite. Once your meal is finished and the last ghost story is told, enjoy a restful evening while experiencing a piece of the canal’s history.
Pro Tips: There are three full amenity and two rustic style Canal Quarters lockhouses in Montgomery County. Each lockhouse is furnished and accessorized from different time periods, and each tells a unique story about the development of the C&O Canal. They book up quickly, particularly on weekends.
Looking for more places to enjoy a meal outdoors? Make sure to read our 15 Ways to Eat and Drink Outdoors post or take a scenic drive exploring local ice cream shops with Where to Get Your Ice Cream Fix in Montgomery County.