Year-round sunshine makes most months perfect for playing in the park. Pack your basket (or find a nearby sandwich spot) and bring the family to one of the best places for a picnic in Phoenix:

 

Encanto Park

Encanto Park has been named one of America’s Best City Parks by Forbes, and with good reason. Rent a paddle boat, run around the giant play structure or head to Enchanted Island Amusement Park for some serious fun. Though the onsite amusement park is aimed at kids ages 2-10, the park has something for everyone in the family.

Where to eat:

Hit up Hob Nobs Cafe on the way for your pick of the picnic crop: The selection of pizzas, artisan sandwiches, wraps and salads include favorites such as Dr. Sky's Pastrami Sandwich and a secret-recipe Voodoo Chicken salad.

Encanto ParkEncanto Park. Photo via Tyler Bolken/flickr

 

Steele Indian School Park

Situated in the heart of Central Phoenix, Steele Indian School Park boasts acres of green grass, a massive bird-shaped lake stocked for fishing and a taste of local history: Walk around the Circle of Life cistern in the middle of the park for a glimpse of three historic buildings and interpretive columns on the history of the Phoenix Indian School.

Where to eat:

The edge-less sandwiches at Zookz (just north of the park) skip the crust, but not the flavor, in their warmly toasted, neatly sealed pockets. Go for a savory thin-sliced meat and cheese option, or sweet fillings including peanut butter and nutella. 

 

Freestone Park

This 120-acre park is at the center of Gilbert and a landmark in the growing town. There are two lakes, a skate park, sand volleyball courts, basketball courts, softball fields, several playgrounds and plenty of room for the kids to run around. Don’t miss the train that circles the park all weekend long.

Where to eat:

Less than two miles from Freestone is a Gilbert classic: Joe’s Real BBQ. Try the pulled pork sandwich, ribs, mac ‘n’ cheese, cole slaw or any of their other homemade dishes and sides.

 

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Located in the heart of Scottsdale, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park has a bit of everything for kids and kids at heart. There is an antique carousel, museum and a few options for snacks and sweets nestled between the playgrounds, ramadas and green grass. Don’t forget to bring a couple bucks to ride the train and see the McCormick Historical Railroad Exhibit.

Where to eat:

Stop at DeFalco’s Deli on the way for classic Italian subs.

McCormick Stillman RailroadMcCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. Photo via Facebook


 

Desert Horizon Park

Desert Horizon Park is especially unique because it offers plenty of picnic space, playgrounds and an outdoor fitness center. Placed throughout the one-mile jogging course are several stations designed to increase flexibility and muscle strength.

Where to eat: 

For a wide variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, beer and vegetarian and kid-friendly options, check out the The Grotto Café, located just a couple miles north of Desert Willow Park.

 

Sahauro Ranch Park

This historic park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has activities for the whole family (including your dog). It houses four softball fields, soccer fields and volleyball courts found throughout the 80-acre park. Bring your little ones to one of the many playgrounds and EVOS park, which is a unique suspended playground for kids ages 5 and older. The off-leash dog recreation park allows your pup to run around and socialize, while you socialize with other pet owners.

Where to eat: 

Less than 10 minutes away is Rocket Burger, a West Valley favorite for burgers, subs and hot dogs. Make it a combo and wash your meal down with one of their famous bottled sodas.

Sahuaro Ranch Park
Rose garden at Sahuaro Ranch Park. Photo via City of Glendale Facebook