Nothing beats a lazy day in the grass with a few good snacks. The next time you head out to a field of grass (or a great picnic table!) why not take a whole picnic lunch with you? This month Fraser Valley Pulse brings you 5 Great Picnic Spots in the Fraser Valley to help get you started on escaping the hustle and bustle, if only for one picnic lunch at a time! Plus, to help make things even easier on you, we’ve also included a few helpful picnic pointers.
Alouette (South Beach) Area
Fern Crescent, Maple Ridge MAP
One of the largest provincial parks in all of BC, this great picnic area offers lots to choose from! From excellent hiking and walking trails, to plenty of picnic areas (easy access and remote) Golden Ears Provincial Park has something for everyone. Use the charcoal BBQ’s to grill hamburgers without having to lug a portable BBQ around (but remember the charcoal!). Once you’re finished with your meal, pack everything up and venture to another area within Golden Ears for a change of scenery. With all of the space that this park covers, we can guarantee you’ll need more than a day to explore it all!
68th Avenue & 238 St, Langley MAP
Originally a retirement destination for Dr. Don Williams of UBC, Williams Park is a place where families can visit to enjoy nature at its best. With spectacular walking trails, shady trees and serene green space overlooking the Salmon River, there are plenty of great picnic spots here! The covered picnic area can easily accommodate a larger group of people, making it perfect for multi-family gatherings. Nearby children’s play areas are great for little ones and parents alike, and are usually shaded to keep things cool.
Entrance Bay or Maple Bay
Columbia Bay Highway, Chilliwack MAP
A true picnic destination area, Cultus Lake Provincial Park boasts the perfect mixture of sand and grass with plenty of shady trees to have a nap under. We recommend continuing on past Main Beach to get to Entrance or Maple Bay areas for better picnic table selections (some even have BBQ stands for your hibachi!). Cold-water taps for cooking (and cleaning) are available throughout the day use areas as well, which comes in handy when your hands get dirty. If you are bringing a four-legged friend, they do have pet friendly designated areas at both bay’s, but make sure to look for the signs. Since September of 2010, pay parking has been cancelled so no need to bring your change jar (yippee)!
5th Avenue, Mission MAP
An easily accessible picnic destination, the Fraser River Heritage Park is a great alternative to picnicking in the heart of a provincial park. Not only does this heritage park offer incredible views of the Fraser Valley and Mt. Baker (on clear days), it is also home to many exciting events throughout the year! Designated picnic areas can be found throughout the park (some with shelter and some without) and portable propane BBQs are welcome! If the weather is a little chilly, head into the nearby Blackberry Kitchen for a freshly brewed cup of coffee, hot chocolate or other signature beverage to warm up after your meal.
Bear Creek Park
13750 88th Ave, Surrey MAP
A mixture of beautiful gardens, green space and stroller/wheelchair friendly walk-ways, Bear Creek Park is a great place to take busy children! Like the other picnic destinations, Bear Creek Park has picnic tables available for basket-toters throughout the park. After lunch, consider taking a ride on the miniature train, running around on the playground or through the waterpark! If you plan on going on an especially hot day – come prepared with flotation devices and jump into the outdoor swimming pool (just make sure it’s an hour after you eat!).
Helpful Picnic Pointers
- Try to plan out your main foods as much as you can. The more planning and prep you do beforehand, the more you can relax when you arrive at your picnic destination.
- Pasta and/or Greek salads are great “make ahead” picnic dishes that get better with a bit of marinating. By the time you get set up and ready to eat, your salads will be full of flavour!
- Don’t forget to bring a few older blankets, just in case you need them. They work great if you can’t find a picnic table, if the picnic table is dirty or if you get chilly!
- If you are bringing chicken to grill, mix chicken and marinade/sauce in Ziploc bags the morning of your adventure. Make sure the bags are properly sealed and toss in the cooler – all ready for grilling! When you’re done, toss the bags in the garbage to eliminate mess!
- Bring wet-naps. You don’t want to be running off to the washroom everytime you get sauce or mustard on your hands! Or go jump in the nearest lake to clean off and cool off at the same time.
Where is your favourite spot to picnic in the Fraser Valley? There are so many beautiful parks, beaches, lakes and fields – we bet you will have some fabulous suggestions!
Be sure to also check out 5 Great Picnic Spots in Metro Vancouver!