Picnic with the Perfect Backdrop With breathtaking mountain views, lush greenery, trails and parks at every turn, Johnson City was made for dining al fresco! Taking a picnic with your family, grandkids, significant other or friend is a great activity to add to your weeknight or weekend! To help you decide where to set up your blanket, we’ve rounded up some of the best picnic spots and places to grab local fare to fill your basket. Where to go in Johnson City Willow Springs Park – This 36-acre retreat features gorgeous mountain views from anywhere in the park. There’s covered pavilions (perfect for picnicking), 2 miles of paved walking trails, trees for hammocks and a playground. Founders Park – Have a more urban picnic in the heart of Downtown Johnson City. This greenspace is surrounded by a walking art trail, a creek and plenty of benches. Find a shady spot under a tree or opt for eating by the water! Tip – if you’re in a time crunch, grab food from one of the many nearby local restaurants. Rotary Park – This is the best place to picnic with kids and let them burn off some energy. Rotary park features six covered picnic shelters, an inclusive boundless playground area and splash pad! Here you can spend a couple hours or a day! If you have a large group, you’ll want to reserve the picnic shelter in advance. Buffalo Mountain – This 725 acre park offers some of the best overlooks in all of Johnson City. Here you’ll find hiking for all skill levels. At the picnic area you can take an easy half mile hike to Huckleberry Knob for great views. For the more adventurous bunch, hike to Tip Top and see Johnson City from 3300 ft elevation. Nearby picnic spots Watauga Lake – The picnic area on the southern shore of Watauga Lake is surrounded by National Forest and rolling mountains. Large shade trees and grassy areas make the perfect place to enjoy a meal with friends or family. Roan Mountain – Picnic with the world’s largest natural Catawba Rhododendron garden each June or along the Appalachian Trail atop one of the balds with panoramic views. Park at Carver’s Gap near the NC/TN state line, a short ¾ mile hike will lead you to a perfect picnic destination, Round Bald. Here you can sit, relax and take it all in! Feel like hiking more? Keep hiking to Jane Bald and Grassy Ridge. You can explore all three balds in a five mile round-trip hike. Unaka Mountain – You can drive nearly the entire way up the mountain. A short hike leads you to The Beauty Spot…and it’s just that, beautiful! Soak in the breathtaking scenery from one of the southern Appalachia’s highest elevation mountain balds. Here you can hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail or set up a spot for a picnic among the grassy overlook. Grab your picnic to-go from one these local restaurants Short on time? Don’t want to go to the store? We found all these local restaurants have picnic appropriate options from a one-of-a-kind pizza to a brown bag hikers lunch – there’s something for everyone. Shamrock – local tobacco store with a great deli. Great sandwiches, salads, hotdogs and homemade lemonade Mona Lisa’s Gelato – known for their gelato but they also serve up salads, soups and sandwiches made on baked in house ciabatta rolls Boone Street Market – grab some local bread, meat and cheese and build your charcuterie board at the park Scratch Pizza – order a “trust” pizza and let your picnic meal be a surprise Southern Craft – known for their smoked meats and southern sides #FINDYOURJCPACE Don't settle for a one-size-fits-all expedition. Find your pace, share your journey, and connect with others.