Outdoor dining a Southern Nevada park perk

Updated January 8, 2019 - 10:39 pm

Food tastes better outdoors, and plenty of empty picnic tables are just waiting for you and your PB&J sandwich or homemade Dutch oven dinner or curbside pickup pasta and chicken feast.

Enough enjoyable Henderson-area picnic spots are out there for you to make al fresco dining plans for each week of 2019, but that’s a lot of pressure. So how about eating outdoors once a month? I’ll make a few recommendations, but a sensible approach would be starting with a park near your home and extending the adventure from there. The City of Henderson website has a map with 51 green dots marking parks and more than a dozen blue dots for future parks. The map may be found by clicking “Parks and Recreation Facilities” at cityofhenderson.com/gis/printable-maps.

Cornerstone Park (1600 Wigwam Parkway): There are five covered picnic tables that could give you the feel of dining privately under a gazebo at the end of a boat dock. While you won’t be gazing out at Lake Tahoe or South Carolina’s Intracoastal Waterway, you will spot the golds or greens of swaying reeds and count dozens of ducks and geese flying in and out to feed and rest in the 31-acre lake that’s the heart of this gravel-pit-turned-100-acre-park. If those top-choice picnic tables are already taken, the park has plenty more covered picnic tables. Park perks: The sense of being out in nature within the city; spotting birds and rabbits; walking, jogging and biking options along a more than 1-mile paved path circling the no-swim lake; volleyball in the sand; and lighted basketball courts.

Hidden Falls Park (281 W. Horizon Drive): This site has terrific picnic table views of rugged hills that are part of Henderson’s southern edge. It’s a quieter location to take a sandwich and side salad created from a recipe in an old-school cookbook that might otherwise wither in the shadow of recipe websites. My spirits are always lifted after eating lunch in the uncluttered open air of a park like this, and there’s a chipping away of some stress with time spent outdoors. Park perks: Easy access to hiking trails and imaginative playground equipment for little ones.

Equestrian Park (1298 Equestrian Drive): The grass and trees offer coolness and shade even on the hottest summer mornings at this park perched above the Mojave Desert floor. If heading here in the morning, pick up a breakfast burrito or coffee and doughnuts to enjoy on a bench or at a picnic table. If not pressed for time, a 1.8-mile winding paved path allows walkers and bikers to pass through creosote and mesquite. Park perks: Possibility of seeing horses and talking to riders, as well as access to the River Mountains Loop Trail for those with serious biking ambitions.

Acacia Park (50 Casa Del Fuego St.): Typically, this is a busy spot for picnicking and playing, but the park has an inspirational demonstration garden that makes it worthy of being added to your al fresco dining list. In March, April and May, you’ll find blooms in yellow, pink, white, orange and purple. Breathe deeply, especially if close to the grape bubble gum-scented violet blooms of the Texas Mountain Laurel. The garden’s cactuses, trees, bushes and perennial flowers are desert hearty, water-efficient and drought-tolerant, and they are on display for people seeking beauty tips for their landscaping. On many weekday afternoons, soccer and football teams practice here, and younger brothers and sisters play on the slides and monkey bars, so the main park is rarely a quiet zone. But a walk through the demonstration garden is generally peaceful, and some picnic tables are found near the garden and away from the crowds. Park perks: Access to Union Pacific Railroad Trail and irresistible water features for kids during warmer months.

Also worthy of your al fresco dining list are several Henderson parks farther west of U.S. Highway 95. Picnic tables along the shoreline of Lake Mead should be included, as well as Boulder City’s Hemenway Park, where there’s always a Lake Mead view and Bighorn sheep often are spotted from picnic tables. The City of Henderson website lists the amenities of each city park and details how to make reasonably priced reservations for group picnic sites.

Luckily, Henderson provides plenty of park space for those of us needing a nature fix but lacking the time to hit the trail for a half-day. Because meals taste better at picnic tables and being outdoors is good for the spirit, why not have a 2019 goal of eating a meal each month in a local park?

Natalie Burt, a former news reporter at the Review-Journal for 11 years, spends as much of her free time as possible enjoying Southern Nevada’s outdoors. She’s now a teacher and has lived in Henderson for 17 years. Email: nvburt@gmail.com.

Extreme weather closes Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon
High winds and flooding closed the Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area Thursday. Minor flooding across Highway 159 caused drivers to slow, but didn't close the road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists enjoy rain in downtown Las Vegas
Tourists break out the umbrellas. But Brian Herting of Lincoln, Nebraska, dons shorts and a T-shirt, as he makes his way through downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday. The National Weather Service.forecast called for a 50 percent chance of rain. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Time lapse video of fog covering the Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is shrouded in fog Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Tony Spilotro's Las Vegas home for sale — VIDEO
The former Las Vegas home of Chicago mob enforcer, Tony Spilotro, is now for sale. Spilotro, who was portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film Casino, is the original owner of the home at 4675 Balfour Drive, built in 1974. (Samia DeCubas/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffalo Drive And Mountains Edge Parkway Fatal
Las Vegas police and the Nevada Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal crash in the southwest valley on Saturday afternoon. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV's Joel Ntambwe on his play
UNLV forward Joel Ntambwe talks about his play at this point in the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Sam Schmidt chats about hectic off-season
IndyCar team owner Sam Schmidt and lead driver James Hinchcliffe chat about the hectic off-season at the SpeedVegas high-performance driving facility outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
R-J's Mark Anderson on UNLV's victory
Review-Journal sports reporter Mark Anderson recaps UNLV's victory at New Mexico. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
UNLV's Noah Robotham on the win at New Mexico
UNLV guard Noah Robotham talks about winning at New Mexico on Jan. 8, 2019. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV's Kris Clyburn on big 3 vs. New Mexico
UNLV guard Kris Clyburn talks about his key 3-pointer against New Mexico. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marvin Menzies on beating New Mexico
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about UNLV's win at New Mexico on January 8, 2019. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New HOV Ramp Scheduled to Open in March
New HOV ramp scheduled to open in March of 2019.
American Preparatory Academy part of charter school growth in Las Vegas
American Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas has a waiting list of students who want to attend. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Wheelchair tournament at UNLV
Cesar Robledo talks about wheelchair basketball and what it means for players to compete during the Wheelchair Basketball Division I-II Tournament at UNLV in Las Vegas, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Marvin Menzies on UNLV's trip to Hawaii
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about the upcoming trip to Hawaii. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Pinecrest Academy Horizon principal wins Milken Educator Award
Tony Sanchez on UNLV's recruiting class
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez talks about his early signing class. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Siegel Cares delivers bagels to families in need
Since Thanksgiving, Mark Lenoir of Siegel Cares, has been delivering leftover Bagelmania bagels to families staying at the Siegel Suites.
Dan Barnson steps down
Arbor View football coach Dan Barnson stepped down Friday after 12 seasons at the helm. Under Barnson, the Aggies won 104 games and became one of the top programs in Las Vegas. The Aggies went 12-2 in 2018 and won a region championship for the first time in program history. Barnson loves Friday nights, but said the 12-month commitment was getting exhausting.
NFR 2018 Highlights
NFR 2018 highlights from every round of this years rodeo.
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Joe Frost
NFR Bull Rider Joe Frost talks about the difference in bulls and his family legacy with Cassie Soto before the last round of the National Finals Rodeo.
Herm Edwards on LV Bowl loss
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards talks about the loss in the Las Vegas Bowl. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State linebacker George Helmuth after LV Bowl
Linebacker George Helmuth talks about Fresno State's turnaround. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Youth cancer survivor receives gift bat at Winter Meetings
Cancer survivor Steven Mondragon, baseball player at Los Altos High in Hacienda Heights, California, received a complimentary bamboo bat during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like