Labor Day weekend, summer's last official hurrah, is this weekend. If you don't already have plans, consider a picnic with family or friends. Hampton Roads offers plenty of beaches and parks where you can spread a blanket and enjoy the day. For a complete list, go to dailypress.com/livinghere.
In this special edition of The DP List, here are five places that offer great views and plenty of family-friendly amenities perfect for a summer outing.
Huntington Park – Newport News
Huntington Park, on a bluff overlooking the James River, makes for an ideal family picnic location, in large part because it offers something for everyone. Start with Fort Fun, the 14,000-square-foot playground that has things to climb on, slide down and roll around in. Simply put, young children will have a blast here.
For the older kids and adults, the picnic shelters near Fort Fun are within easy walking distance of a small but pleasant beach, fishing piers for adults and kids, tennis courts ($4 per hour during the daytime, $5 per hour after the lights come on), a landscaped rose garden with a gazebo, and a concession stand that sells sno-cones, ice cream and other treats. It's a great way for the family to spend the day outdoors.
Make sure your picnic lasts until sunset – the view across the river is lovely at dusk.
Location: At the intersection of Mercury and Warwick boulevards, adjacent to the Newport News YMCA
Public restrooms: Yes
Barbecue grills: Yes
Pets: Dogs are allowed but must be on leashes.
Alcoholic beverages: Not allowed
Shelters: Several shelters available for rental. Cost is $35 from 9:30 a.m. sundown. Add $10 for a shelter with electricity, and $5 for a shelter with water.
More information or reservations: 757-888-3333 or 757-886-7912
Bluebird Gap Farm – Hampton
Bluebird Gap Farm in Hampton brings the country to the city and is well-suited for a family outing. The 60-acre farm has about 150 domestic and wild animals, including farm animals, a raccoon, birds of prey, whitetail deer, tortoises and peacocks.
In addition to the shelter, other picnic tables are placed throughout the farm. There are also snack and drink vending machines in the antique display barn. Animal feed machines (bring quarters) are in several locations for approved feeding of various animals. The farm is also home to a large playground, a nature trail, and a stage with seating for special events.
Location: 60 Pine Chapel Road, Hampton, just off Interstate 64.
Public restrooms: Yes
Barbecue grills: A 2- by 2-feet charcoal grill is available; bring your own charcoal.
Pets: Not allowed