(credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)(credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

With the arrival of warm weather and beautiful spring air, this is the best time of year to get out to enjoy a picnic with your family. After all, you’ve been trapped inside all winter long, so a slow, leisurely picnic is the perfect way to re-introduce the outdoors to your sensitive skin. There are lots of great picnic spots in Denver, each with their own charm and reasons to visit. Some are in surprising locations, nestled in parks that are found right in the middle of the biggest parts of the city, while others are a bit of a drive to the outskirts of town. No matter which you prefer, there is a perfect picnic spot for you.

Confluence Park
2200 15th St.
Denver, CO 80202

This little park is a bit of a surprise. It’s located right in the heart of downtown, so you might not expect to come across such a lovely spot for a picnic. It’s perfect for city dwellers who may not want to venture too far from home, or are looking for a quick spot to visit for an afternoon walk and picnic. It is actually a very historic spot in Denver, this is where gold was first discovered which helped to found the city of Denver. There is always something going on at Confluence Park too, so you’ll see plenty of opportunities for people watching or just lay out under a tree and enjoy each other’s company.

City Park
17th Ave. and Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80238

Another great park right in the middle of the city, City Park is best in the day time with lots of fun things to do and see. There are plenty of huge shade trees to spread out for a picnic, just watch out for the goose droppings, as the lake here has plenty of geese that call this park home. There are also lots of activities to enjoy on the lake and you can even rent a paddle boat for two at the pavilion. If you visit in the summer, make sure to drop by on Sunday evenings for City Park Jazz and you can enjoy a free jazz concert along with your picnic. It’s truly the perfect Sunday afternoon picnic spot.

Related: Top Colorado State Parks Near Denver

Sloan’s Lake Park
1700 S. Sheridan Blvd.
Denver, CO 80232

For a land-locked state, Colorado sure has some beautiful lakes to enjoy. Sloan’s Lake Park is another wonderful picnic spot just a few miles outside of Denver. With lots of big trees to spread your blanket and picnic, and plenty of walking and running trails, this park is always a popular spot for those who love the outdoors There are also tennis courts and paddle boats to rent with lots of public bathrooms (that are surprisingly clean, as far as park bathrooms go). This is another spot that the Colorado geese call home, so make sure to check the grass for droppings before you sit down. Parking can be a challenge here, since there aren’t a lot of actual parking lots, but there is plenty of street parking very close by that won’t make you carry your picnic basket too far.

Washington Park
S. Downing St. and E. Louisiana Ave.
Denver, CO 80209

Washington Park is probably one of the busiest parks in the city of Denver. People from the area flock to this beautiful park for volleyball, picnics, paddle boating and more. There is a great 2.5-mile loop around the lake which is perfect for those looking to work up an appetite before your picnic lunch, and plenty of restrooms are always nearby. During the summer, you’ll find lots of food carts and ice cream trucks near the park as many local entrepreneurs know just how popular Washington Park really is. You also will be very close to lots of restaurants and coffee shops, so you can easily pick up a few sandwiches and make the short walk from there to your picnic destination.

Related: Best Parks For Kids In Denver

Belleview Park
5001 S. Inca Drive
Englewood, CO 80120

The city of Englewood knows a thing or two about parks as well. This beautiful park is an expansive location with plenty of great places to spread out, relax and enjoy your picnic basket. The kids will love the playground, the train and the petting zoo, and the dogs will have a blast in the dog park area. During the spring and summer, you can watch some baseball or just take a wandering stroll along the picturesque stream. This is one of those picnic spots that is simply perfect for the whole family to enjoy. You can easily eat up an entire day finding your picnic spot, playing on the playground, riding the train and petting the animals in the petting zoo.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.