Six spots worth the detour to stop and spread a blanket
Friendship Fountain, Jacksonville, FL
The 10-story spewing fountain got a $3.1 million makeover last year. Secure a permit through the city ($35; requires 15 days notice).
Railroad Park, Birmingham, AL
Picnic for free or reserve under the pavilion (from $50) in this new, urban green space, surrounded by railroad tracks and brick-faced factory lofts.
Savannah Squares, Savannah, GA
Cherry-pick from the 21 historic squares, including the “crown jewels” along Bull Street. They’re open to the public, but a $250-$400 permit lets you claim one as your own for the day.
Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington, NC
Celebrate with a spread on the teak deck of a WWII battleship. Day rates start at $150.
Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg, WV
Reserve terrace space (from $300) or snag a patch of grass at this 1902 Greek Revival concert hall. Time your visit for the Thursday evening summer concert series.
Jefferson National Expansion Park, St. Louis, MO
The park spans 91 acres anchored by the Gateway Arch. To avoid the biggest crowds, go after midday.