It's hard to think about picnics under stay-at-home orders. However, National Picnic Day is April 23, and it's looking like some of the best picnic spots in Oregon this year will be our backyards and balconies. Yes, it's healthy to still go out hiking and enjoy a picnic, but please make sure you use the trail user social distancing recommendations. If and when you do venture out, these are some of the best public places in Oregon to enjoy some fresh air and good picnic wine:
Astoria Column: This tower is a unique monument, and the 30-acre city park that surrounds it makes for a stellar picnic site. You can look down to the town of Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia River from Coxcomb Hill.
Bradley State Scenic Viewpoint: There are many superb views of the Columbia River Gorge, but this viewpoint west of Clatskanie is one of the best.
Hoyt Arboretum: Here you'll find 190 ridge-top acres, each more beautiful than the last. There are 12 miles of hiking trails here. One thing that really helps for Portlanders is that it's so close to downtown. It features trees and shrubs from six continents, so you really will find something here you can't find anywhere else in the state.
Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach: This area is popular with tourists and locals for a reason. It features a long stretch of gorgeous seashore. Make sure to stay warm as the ocean weather keeps it cool here year-round, and keep an eye out for the seagulls making off with whatever they can.
Lithia Park, Ashland: All of Ashland could count as a gigantic scenic area (really, all of Oregon could). Lithia Park is a beautiful feature in it. The 90-acre park features duck ponds, a Japanese garden, and a rose garden, among other features.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area: This protected area along the rugged Oregon coast features a number of awe-inspiring overlooks. The forested hills dive straight into the sea here in a world that feels straight out of fantasy.
These are truly the best picnic spots in Oregon, but you'll find some of your favorites tucked away in places both familiar and wild.
Whether you enjoy a picnic while following social distancing recommendations, or wait a bit, none of this prevents you from thinking about the future. Planning ahead can help sustain us through tough times. Imagine where you want to go when these days have passed, and imagine what you want to do, from drinking good picnic wine to your favorite hikes!