Sunny spring days have us in the mood for some outside time. And when we say “outside time” we’re not talking about a quick lunch break or a short hike, we mean a full on day of frolicking, relaxing, and picnicking in the great outdoors. Here are 3 of our picks for spring picnic adventures.

For Animal Lovers

Goats at Carl Sandburg's Home

The Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site has trails of various difficulties, beautiful views, and a goat barn that’s accessible to the public.

We recommend starting with a visit to see the newborn kids (currently 9 and counting).  If you’re a poetry buff or just need an escape from inclement weather, a 30 minute tour of the Sandburg home is well worth your time.  The grounds around the main home offer plenty of peaceful picnic locations. Alternately, you can head down the hill to one of the lakefront picnic tables or benches.

If you’re feeling adventurous, the 3-mile hike to the top of Big Glassy Mountain and back offers unparalleled views. This trail is short but steep, so be sure to wear proper footwear and consider bringing a pair of trekking poles.

Not in the mood to pack your own lunch? Local favorite, Flat Rock Bakery makes exceptionally good wood-fired breads and pastries, and is a great place to pick up a sandwich to take with you.

The All-Day Hang

View on the Trail, Courtesy of

From trails to wide open spaces, Pink Bed’s Picnic Area in Pisgah National Forest has a little something for everyone. We recommend starting with a  hike of Pink Beds Loop – a rolling five mile trail featuring rare local flora.

Post-hike, the wide open field is the perfect place for throwing a frisbee, kicking a soccer ball, or just hanging out. There’s even a sizable picnic shelter, complete with grills. If you want to be sure you’ll have the place to yourself, be sure to reserve it for the day.

Unobstructed Views

View from Max Patch in Winter

If 360 degree views are your thing, it doesn’t get much better than a picnic on top of Max Patch. A quick half mile hike will take you to the top of this scenic bald that offers long range views of Tennessee and Western North Carolina. This trail is along the AT, so if you visit in the spring, think about bringing a few extra snacks to offer a little “trail magic” to tired thru-hikers.

If a hike up Max Patch doesn’t quench your thirst for adventure, head back through Hot Springs for another short hike up Lover’s Leap or a soak in the town’s namesake hot springs.