Planning the perfect picnic

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

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