I have a few specific things I look for when qualifying a place as the perfect picnic spot. A picnic table, followed by scenery and proximity to water, shade, and relative privacy.
Here are my top recommendations so you can start planning your own picnic. I’d love to hear about your favorite spots in the comments below.
Start with a specific picnic area:
I’ve provided Google map links to each picnic table location. Please keep in mind tables can be moved, or even removed. It is my wholehearted intent to get you as close as possible to the right place.
City of Rochester
1. Port of Rochester
Like many of the parks, there are a few picnic tables spread throughout Ontario Beach Park, with many more under the pavilions. I like this one on the riverside closer to the Port Of Rochester restaurants, with a great view of interesting boat traffic at the mouth of the Genesee.
2. Granite Mills Commons
High Falls, Rochester
This public seating area is right next to the pedestrian bridge on the west side of the river.
3. Highland Park
This is probably the best known picnic table in Highland Park. Perfectly placed beneath the largest Katsura tree in New York, it’s an easy walk from Highland Drive.
4. Eastman Museum
There are a few picnic tables near the University Ave. side of the mansion to enjoy seasonal changes around the formal garden.
5. Genesee Valley Park
There are a handful of picnic sprinkled around Genesee Valley Park, with many more under pavilions. I particularly like this one by the Roundhouse.
Monroe County Picnic Spots
6. Brighton Town Park
Picnic tables can be found all along the water’s edge.
7. North Ponds Park
There are several picnic tables around each of the ponds.
8. Rotary Park
Enjoy the swift current of Honeoye Creek running through the park.
9. Black Creek Park
There are a few picnic tables scattered around the pond at Black Creek Park.
Erie Canal Picnic Spots
10. Kennelley Park
11. Port of Pittsford Park
Most people spend their time across the Erie Canal at Schoen Place. I enjoy the opposite side, relaxing with a good book from the library and watching the Sam Patch and Colonial Belle navigate the water alongside smaller canal boats and kayaks.
12. Lock 32 State Canal Park
Not only a fabulous picnic table in the shade but a great spot to watch the canal boats lock through. I’ve spend many a summer lunchtime here at this table.
13. Holley Canal Park
Another lovely spot on the Erie Canal when, with a nice flow of boat traffic, you can watch the lift bridge in action.
14. Holley Canal Falls
Although part of the same Holley Canal Park, the canal is not viewable here at the base of the falls and it feels like a whole new place.
Picnic Spots on Lake Ontario
15. B. Forman Park
This picnic table has great shade and a wide-open view of Lake Ontario.
In case you are curious, as was I, the park is named for Benjamin Forman, originator of B. Formans’ department store. A Wikipedia fun fact, “Once the largest store of its kind between New York and Chicago, the company, founded by Benjamin Forman in the first decade of the twentieth century, closed in 1994. B. Forman Co., along with McCurdy & Co., created Rochester’s Midtown Plaza, one of the first enclosed downtown malls in the United States.”
Things you can think about while enjoying your picnic!
16. Hamlin Beach State Park
Hamlin Beach offers an overwhelming amount of picnic tables under shady trees. Some are closer to the beach, while others are along the walkways throughout the park.
17. Golden Hill State Park
This particular picnic table is behind the lighthouse so it’s pretty secluded with a great view of Lake Ontario.
Finger Lakes Picnic Spots
18. Honeoye Lake Overlook
This is a popular stopping point on US-20A with a great view of Honeoye Lake.
NOTE: In July, the hillside is covered in Wild Parsnip. It looks like a yellow Queen Anne’s Lace, yet is a highly poisonous, invasive species. The plant produces a compound that causes intense, localized burning, rash, severe blistering, and discoloration on contact with the skin on sunny days. This is not an allergic reaction, it is a chemical burn brought on by an increase in the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Do not attempt to make a bouquet with it! Things to think about as you enjoy your picnic.
19. Canandaigua Lake Overlook
Another popular overlook on CR-12 with an unobstructed view of Canandaigua Lake’s south end.
20. Long Point Park
Conesus Lake, Geneseo
A picnic table and a swimming beach is a great combination! Located on the west side of Conesus Lake.
21. Vitale Park
Conesus Lake, Lakeville
There are a few picnic tables throughout Vitale Park offering great views of Conesus Lake’s north end.
22. Seneca Lake State Park
The Seneca Lake north shore is lined with picnic tables and shade trees.
More Greater Rochester Picnic Spots
To find this picnic table, follow the Trail of Peace to the furthest point with a lovely view overlooking Victor.
24. Papermill Falls
Papermill offers a picnic table next to a waterfall on a country road.
25. Griffis Sculpture Park
There are several picnic tables throughout the park, but I like this one in particular near the pond.
26. Gannett Hill
Gannett Hill is part of Ontario County Park with an expansive view of the Canandaigua Lake valley. This is also where you’ll find the Jump Off Trail.
27. Moss Lake
Moss Lake is a National Natural Landmark, so no boating or swimming here. Just a quiet picnic spot with an abundance of aquatic life, including the sphagnum moss mat and thousands of bullhead fish.
A note about the directions. Google does not have this area street-mapped. Just know when you pull in to the parking lot, you’ll see the lake and the picnic table is right there.
28. Darien Lakes State Park
The aptly named Picnic Island on Harlow Lake is a perfect spot to spend a few leisurely hours. Also popular for fishing.
29. Silver Lake State Park
There are a few shaded picnic tables near the marina which makes for a great spot to watch the boats come and go.
30. Letchworth State Park
Arguably there are hundreds of picnic tables throughout Letchworth that are all are worthy of mention! But this area near Wolf Creek is my favorite, with these stone tables at Eddie’s Overlook.
And I promise you, these picnic tables won’t move!
These paved pathways and boardwalks are ideal for folks using strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, or managing other mobility challenges.
Where are your favorite picnic spots around Rochester?
Please share your thoughts and stories with us in the comments. Your insight and experience are invaluable!