August 5, 2013
Five South Coast Picnic Areas!
It’s slowing getting close to the end of summer. Before we know it the leaves will begin to change colors, pools will be closed, and beaches will be deserted. But don’t worry, there are still many chances to spend quality time with the kids before they are off to school. What could be better than spending a weekend going out for a relaxing picnic? Why not take a few days off from worrying about back to school outfits or supplies to simply enjoy the completely undisturbed time you have left as a family?
The South Coast has many areas that are perfect for picnicking with its beautiful beaches and green scenery. Picnics are a perfect opportunity to communicate and build stronger bonds together with not only the kids, but also siblings, or that aunt you haven’t seen in a while. Invite the entire family! All generations included! Here are my top five choices for the best places to picnic:
Buttonwood Park is located right in between New Bedford and Dartmouth, making it a great spot to access a bunch of restaurants, retail stores, and other attractions. If you plan on continuing the day after your picnic, only five minutes away is the North Dartmouth Mall filled with stores with something for everyone. The park is the perfect place for a picnic with the kids to ride the swings, seesaws, and jungle gyms that are surrounded by trees, ponds, and all around greenery. It is home to many ducks and geese who like to wander around the park and say hello to visitors. There are two opened fields mostly used for baseball, soccer or football that would be a perfect for playing catch with the kids; or just relax and gaze up at the sky. Feel free to bring along the family pet, since Buttonwood is well known for its trails and walking areas. Buttonwood Park is also home to the Buttonwood Park Zoo, an absolutely perfect place to bring the kids after a full stomach! See the biggest attractions (in every sense of the word), two Asian Elephants named Emily and Ruth. Give a special hello to Ruth, who is over 50 years old!
Another great choice for a picnic is Fort Phoenix. It is an adventurous beach area with rocks and hills to climb and is filled with great American history. Fort Phoenix is located right on the corner of Fairhaven, surrounded by beautiful houses and peaceful neighborhoods. The Fort has many grassy areas to sit down and eat and benches if you don’t want to get dirty. There are also tennis courts if the family is up for a game of casual sports. The park is the perfect place to fly a kite with its breezy winds and calming tides. Of course, Fort Phoenix is also a beach, so feel free to walk down the shoreline with your family or set up a nice beach picnic on the sand. When you’re done eating, be sure to take a walk around the shore. Fort Phoenix, from my experience, is also a perfect place to find sea glass and start a new hobby of collecting beach treasures! You can’t forget about the cliff walk- a beautiful short trail to our local hurricane barrier! Just around the corner are two great breakfast shops; Pumpernickels and Margaret’s, if you head out early enough. The Fairhaven City Hall and Library is on site if you feel like taking a quick tour to get familiar with Fairhaven history.
Located in Dartmouth, Demarest Lloyd State Park has many grassy picnic areas that are waiting to be used! It is a perfect area for children since the Buzzards Bay surf is calm and shallow. You will see intricate wildlife birds such as; herons, egrets and terns. Parking hours are between 10am to 6pm on weekdays, and 8am to 6pm on weekends and holidays. There are a few rules to keep in mind; no pets, kite surfing, skim boards, boogie boards or any other flotation devices are allowed on the beach. But, the park has many other recreational opportunities like kayaking and fishing. There are also great walking trails to check out with the family after a satisfying lunch. If you stay the entire day, don’t forget take pictures of the breathtaking sunset view!
Freetown-Fall River State Forest
Another great picnic area only fifteen minutes away from New Bedford is the Freetown-Fall River State Forest. Covering over 5,000 acres of land between Fall River and Assonet, this forest land is the perfect family fun spot for an adventurous day full of activities. Picnic areas are conventionally located right near the main entrance, fully equipped with playing fields and restrooms. There is also a wading pool that is perfect if you have small children since it’s not too deep and completely fenced in so parents can breathe easily while the children enjoy the refreshing water. If you are feeling adventurous then be sure to check out the trails. You may want to bring some hiking gear, bikes, or an off- road vehicle, since the forest has more than 50 miles of unpaved roads. Don’t forget to also check out the beautiful and historical areas- like Profile Rock!
Another great historical site that is perfect for picnicking is Fort Taber, located at Clark’s Point in New Bedford. It is a great park that is surrounded by the harbor and Buzzards Bay. Fort Taber has open fields perfect for a nice grassy picnic with a playground for the kids. The pier is another perfect spot for fishing or taking a nice stroll along the water! The park has a bike trail, cafe, and a museum with free admission if you or the kids become restless and would like to learn more about American history. A visitor’s pass is needed for parking and costs $1 per vehicle for New Bedford residents and $15 per vehicle for non-residents. The Fort is open every day from dawn till dusk and hosts many events including; the Civil War reenactment and dedication ceremonies.
Well there you go, folks! Five great spots all guaranteed to create a perfect family experience filled with laughter and joy. Now get that basket and blanket and start making the egg salad! Don’t forget to check in with the New Bedford Travel Guide for more family fun spots to take the kids while summer is still here!
By: Corinne Pavao
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