Image used under Creative Commons license from Cecil Sanders
Dining al fresco on a restaurant patio is one of our favorite summer activities, but sometimes nothing hits the spot like packing up your own lunch and heading out to a stretch of greenery to relax. With tons of daylight and nearly endless open space, Alaska has plenty of options for picnic seekers. To save you time on picking the perfect patch of grass, we’ve rounded up a few top spots for a good old-fashioned picnic. Eat your heart out!
Anchorage – Town Square Park
In the middle of a bustling downtown cityscape, Town Square Park is just a short walk from the Anchorage Westmark Hotel. In the winter this park is home to beautiful ice sculptures made by local artists and an open-air ice rink. In summer months it’s overflowing with colorful gardens and a water fountain, where street vendors flock to sell delicious reindeer sausage hot dogs. The chosen venue of a regular concert series, festivals and more, this happening urban park is the perfect space to enjoy a meal on a free afternoon.
Dawson City – Commissioner’s Residence
Once referred to as “The Paris of the North,” Dawson City is rich with Gold Rush history and the Commissioner’s Residence (a Parks Canada historic site) is a fun and interactive window to the past. The house and grounds are restored to look just like they did in the early 1900s and are filled with traditional costumes of the era’s heyday. A knowledgeable staff is onsite and always ready to interact and answer questions, or simply leave you alone with your lunch and imagination.
Fairbanks – Pioneer Park
Visitors to Alaska’s Interior city of Fairbanks can visit the state’s only historic theme park, free to the public and open year round. In the summer, the park features historical-themed shops as well as a carousel, square dance hall, miniature golf and a miniature passenger train. After a picnic, get some ice cream from one of the storefronts and explore an old train car — there’s even a renovated riverboat on site with a museum inside!
Juneau – Capital School Park
Juneau recently earned the title of Alaska’s second-largest city, and the downtown area of this capital town is quaint as can be and tons of fun to explore. A picnic in Capital School Park is the perfect jumping-off point for an afternoon around town. The area has grassy fields, a basketball court, a playground, picnic benches and even public use grills if you’re feeling especially ambitious.
Sitka – Whale Park
Southeast Alaska’s picturesque community of Sitka has plenty of scenic spots to snack. Whale Park has full-size whale statues to play on, plus a boardwalk that trails around the park, plenty of lookout points and gazebos with incredible coastal views. Need we say more?
For many of these picnic areas there is a nearby Westmark property with all of the lodging amenities you might require. Next time you plan a trip to Alaska or Canada, make sure you take some time out of your itinerary to relax at a few of these destinations, with or without your picnic basket!