If the Missouri weather decides to be reliable for once, then I will officially declare a slur of 70-degree Saturdays in our futures. Springtime is peeking around the corner, and it's accompanied by numerous outdoor activities that go with warmer temperatures.
Picnics combine two activities that are too appealing to say no to -- eating and soaking up the sun. And Columbia features all the resources necessary to have the perfect picnic. No matter what kind of picnic you're looking for, we've got all the key factors to this leisurely activity. Whether you're looking for romance on a checkered blanket or you just want to ride solo with Mother Nature, we've picked out the best spots for picnicking.
If it's date night (or day) with bae
Go to: The Big Tree
Why it's special: It's a Columbia staple, and the perfect spot for an Instagram pic
Munch on: Appetizers and a bottle of wine from Room 38
Don't forget: A thick blanket or something to curl up on while you're sitting under the branches -- the ground can get uncomfortable
If you want to live in color
Go to: Shelter Gardens
Why it's special: It's a five-acre botanical garden -- complete with 300 different kinds of trees and over 15,000 perennials, plus a waterfall and rock garden
Munch on: A tasty creation from Cafe Berlin's brunch menu
Don't forget: A book, since the park is known for its tranquility and you won't want to leave
If you're all about the #fitlife
Go to: The Pinnacles
Why it's special: The trail allows you to climb up to the top of a rock shelf with a scenic view
Munch on: A certified organic sandwich from Main Squeeze
Don't forget: Your water bottle; the hike isn't easy, but it is beautiful and fun
If you're bored downtown
Go to: The Columns
Why it's special: They're an MU icon, and surrounded by the grassy Francis Quadrangle
Munch on: Chipotle. It's the second-closest one to any football college campus in the U.S. so...duh?
Don't forget: Your ENO Hammock to stretch out between the pillars
If you like to explore
Go to: Stephens Lake Park
Why it's special: The park has numerous amenities scattered throughout, including a swimming beach, pavilions, an art sculpture, Discovery Garden, trails, hills, an amphitheater, two waterfalls and pavilions with picnic tables set up
Munch on: Pizza and salads from Shakespeare's while relaxing under one of the picnic shelters. There's a spectacular view of the lake from one of them.
Don't forget: Your phone -- there's even free WiFi