Best Picnic Spots In Knoxville & Beyond


Picnic season is upon us! The warmer weather has arrived and dining al fresco just feels right. Knoxville Moms polled our contributors, family and friends for the best picnic spots in Knoxville and beyond. Boy, did they deliver! They revealed some best-kept secrets and shared why their families love these picnic locations. Whether you pack a picnic at home or stop for your provisions on the way, Knoxville Moms hopes this list can help you find the perfect spot for your family to enjoy. Bon appétit!

Best Picnic Spots in Knoxville & Beyond
©Anton Ostapenko from Getty Images on

Best Picnic Spots in Knoxville & Beyond


Ijams Nature Center
2915 Island Home Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37920
(865) 577-4717

Part of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, Ijams is just minutes from downtown. It has a long list of activities perfect for families, including a Nature Center, storybook trail and special events aimed at kids. There are plenty of spots to spread out a blanket and enjoy nature and each other. 

Lakeshore Park
5930 Lyons View Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 215-1722

There are spectacular views of Fort Loudoun Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains making this a perfect spot for picnicking, running, walking and more. Children will love the Hank Rappe Playground and the new Huie Woodland Playground. The Lakeshore Park Conservancy puts on a special event called “The Lakeshore Park Picnic.” Guests purchase a curated picnic basket from local restaurants to enjoy and the proceeds go back to the park.

Seven Islands State Birding Park
2809 Kelly Lane
Kodak, TN 37764
(865) 407-8335

Tennessee’s first birding state park offers more than eight miles of natural trails and rolling hills. You can find a few benches for a picnic, but you may want to bring a blanket to spread out. You may even want to pack a pair of binoculars to see some of the wide range of birds that call Seven Islands home. 

Suttree Landing Park
1001 Waterfront Drive
Knoxville, TN 37920
(865) 215-4248

Visit one of Knoxville’s newest parks for your family picnic. The eight-acre park runs along the Tennessee River and has a great view of downtown. It features picnic tables, a pavilion and a playground. There is also open space perfect for kites, Frisbees and more. If you don’t want to pack a picnic, you could pick up food from nearby South Coast Pizza

World’s Fair Park
963 World’s Fair Park Drive
Knoxville, TN 37916
(865) 215-8160

This perfect picnic spot is in the heart of downtown Knoxville. The expansive event lawn is the perfect place to toss a Frisbee or fly a kite. The splash pad and playground are perennial kid favorites. Bathrooms are nearby if you need a quick trip. You’re also just a short walk or drive to the new Fort Kid playground. You could even go up in the Sunsphere or at least get a picture with the icon of the Knoxville skyline.


The Cove at Concord Park
11808 S. Northshore Drive
Knoxville, TN 37922
(865) 215-6600

Pack your picnic and your beach gear to enjoy this lakefront park. There is a picnic pavilion and 14 additional picnic tables, but you could always bring a blanket for the swimming beach and dine in the sand. 

Founder’s Park at Campbell Station
405 N. Campbell Station Road
Farragut, TN 37934
(865) 966-7057

A nice, shady park with two picnic pavilions and plenty of benches. Let the kids try and catch tadpoles in the creek or stop in the Knox County Farragut Library Branch to cool off. 

Anderson County

Melton Lake Park
Melton Lake Drive
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
(865) 425-3450

The pavilion is the ideal picnic spot. It’s located right on the river, has a playground, sand volleyball court and miles of paved bicycle trail for your enjoyment. 

Norris Dam State Park
125 Village Green Circle
Rocky Top, TN 37769
(865) 425-4500

Only 30-minutes from downtown Knoxville, Norris Dam State Park is a wonderful change of scenery. There are pavilions and picnic shelters throughout the 4,000-acre park. As you might guess, it’s on Norris Lake and has 800-miles of shoreline and nearly 90-miles of hiking trails. 

Loudon County

Lenoir City Park
6707 City Park Drive
Lenoir City, TN 37772
(865) 986-1223

This 33-acre park stretches along the shores of Fort Loudoun Lake. There are seven picnic shelters and additional picnic tables. Kids will love playing on both of the playgrounds at the park. Be sure to bring quarters to feed the ducks and geese. There are also two restroom facilities on site. 

Monroe County

Indian Boundary Recreation Area
205 Ranger Station Road
Tellico Plains, TN 37385
(423) 253-8400

Scenic views abound at Indian Boundary located just off Cherohala Skyway. Day use facilities include a swim beach, fishing pier and a hike/bike trail around the 96-acre lake. There are bathrooms and a general store for any items you may have forgotten.

Union County

Big Ridge State Park
1015 Big Ridge Park Road
Maynardville, TN 37807
(865) 992-5523

Just a short ride from Knoxville, Big Ridge State Park offers plenty of fun for the family. It’s located on Norris Lake and has a swimming beach along with plenty of pavilions and picnic tables to enjoy. There are also 15-miles of hiking trails, too.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove Picnic Area
It can be tough to snag a picnic table at this popular spot but it’s worth the wait! Situated between Abrams Creek and Green Branch Creek, it’s located at the entrance/exit to Cades Cove. Bring bathing suits, towels and water shoes to let the kids play in the creek. There is a bathroom on site as well.

Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area
With 122 picnic sites and a pavilion, there is plenty of seating (and a bathroom!) at this picturesque spot along the Little Pigeon River. Metcalf Bottoms is located between Gatlinburg and Townsend. It’s also close to Elkmont and an ideal location to access trails and historic buildings.

Townsend Wye
You can find this gem where Lamar Alexander Parkway intersects with Little River Road just inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a popular swimming hole with locals but word has definitely gotten out. There is parking but it can be tough to snag a spot in peak summer months. If you plan to swim, there are shallow spots perfect for wading (and little kids) and deeper spots as well. For that reason, you may want to consider bringing a life jacket. 

Did your family’s favorite picnic spot make the list? If not, please share!


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