Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

Buzzkills: 3 Places You Can't Picnic With Beer

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

There's no worse buzzkill than getting to a nice sunny picnic spot, laying out your stereotypical 1950s red-and-white checkered blanket, and cracking open a cold Mickey's big mouth... only to have Johnny Law step in and tell you to pour it out.

Summer is a great time to enjoy a nice refreshing beer (or another chilled alcoholic beverage of your choice). But here are three places where the law might harsh your buzz:

1. National Parks and Monuments.

Our federal government has the power to take land and make it into a national park, and federal regulations concerning alcohol consumption are the law of the land at several great picnic spots.

If you're planning to have a relaxing "beach day" at White Sands National Monument on Memorial Day, for example, you'd better leave the Tecate and Blue Moon at home because alcohol is verboten from February 1 to May 31.

According to a very detailed buzzkill memo from the National Parks Service, alcohol restrictions and bans like this one are due to obnoxious loud partying, drunken driving incidents, and glass bottle litter.

2. State Beaches.

If you're lucky enough to be in a coastal state, you may want to picnic along stretches of inviting sand and water. But you may need to think twice before packing your case of Heineken with the sunblock.

Many buzzkill states, like Virginia, only allow the possession or consumption of alcohol on private property, and not on public land without a permit.

But maybe you still want to have your special state-beach luau with some libations? You may be able to obtain a special event permit from your state's Alcoholic Beverage Control agency to allow you and your guests to legally imbibe for that day.

3. City Parks and Playgrounds.

On a hot summer day, who wouldn't love searing some kosher all-beef hot dogs over a grill, watching your kids play on the monkey bars, and drinking a nice cold pale ale?

But if you're planning to picnic in your local public park -- like San Francisco's famous intersection of culture and sun, Dolores Park -- not only will you need to fill out an application to picnic, but you won't be able to BBQ or have beer either.

Although the buzzkilling enforcement of these policies varies, your best bet is to check the rules and regulations of your next picnic destination -- or just save the beer for when you get home.

Related Resources:

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard