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Scenic Places to Go on a Picnic in California

Scenic Places to Go on a Picnic in California

Plan a gorgeous picnic at one of the many scenic locations to plan a picnic in California. Team


4 min read

December 11, 2023

Baskets filled with snacks and lemonades, rosy gardens and scenic views, crochet linens, and floppy sunhats, all conjoined by the leading ingredient –the sunny skies of California. It’s that time of year again, and we are thrilled. There’s something restorative about lying around on the grass and feeling the warmth of the sunrays infiltrate your skin. And the best news is – this can be done from anywhere in the state. Yes, northern, southern, or central, going for a picnic in California will be a festive affair to celebrate the planet’s perks.

UCSC Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Branching merely from eucalyptus plantations, the botanical garden of UCSC Arboretum was established in the 1960s. Today, the garden is home to 300 Mediterranean plant families and a hefty collection of rare plants on the verge of extinction. Meander around the garden pre-picnic, explore the arboretum to kick off your summer days and set you in the right mood to lavish on the best spots for a picnic in California. A luxuriously green oasis awaits with picnic tables governed by the shades of the redwood groves, suggesting a scenic view of the Australian garden. Bask in the tunes of the birdsongs, and sighs of leaves, as the wind makes its way through the Narrow Leave Peppermint trees.

Crissy Field’s West Bluff Picnic Area Beach

Granted, it's hard to beat the gardens of Golden Gate Park. But on the northern shore of San Francisco’s peninsula, fanning close-up views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the West Bluff Picnic Area beach invites you for a seaside picnic in California. Crissy Field has a spot for everyone. Flare your checkered linen on the grassy greens and connect with the grounding energy of the meadows, or sit at the tables with a pitcher of some lemonade with your bare feet soaking up the lusciousness of the ground. For waterfront enthusiasts, a picnic by the beach is the ultimate way to fully embrace in this magnificent Bay Area escape. Pack your beach blanket and some famous San Franciscan sourdough, and enjoy a fine picnic in California.

Crissy Field offers some of the best views in the Bay Area.

Avalon Beach

While a weekend getaway cannot be enough to feast on the beauty of this magical island, we recommend going there anyway. From the best picnic spots in San Diego, we recommend this exotic island. With a port looking like Italy’s Portofino, you can almost hear Andrea Bocelli’s voice ringing in your ears. Planning on picnic spots from San Diego? Daily departures from San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point to Avalon Beach are available. Hop on the ferry and head to Avalon Beach for a shoreside picnic in California's hidden gem. With a boat trip around the island, the European feels swooping in, and the dramatic views of the waves crashing on the docks, you’ll feel right at home on the grounds of the best picnic spots in Orange County.

There's no shortage of gorgeous beaches in California and Avalon Beach is no exception.

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Angel Island Conservancy

A short walk from the ferry dock, you’ll end up on the lawn in front of the visitor center in Ayala Cove. The largest natural island in San Franciso Bay, Angel Island is the perfect destination for a picnic in California. Loll in the finest sights of the Bay Area from the rarest viewpoints of this hidden gem. Aside from being the prettiest picnic spot in Northern California, home to the earliest inhabitants and the hotspot of the seasonal hunting and gathering location of the native tribes, Angel Island offers a picnic in California like nowhere else. A true ride back in time, this place has hiking trails waiting for you. Baseball fields, biking routes, scooter tours, and even bird watching await. Picnic tables and charcoal barbecues are available for small groups on a first-come-first-served basis You’ll have to leave your pups at home for this trip, though, only trained dogs are allowed to step foot on this deck.

Grab your walkin' shoes and enjoy the great outdoors at Angel Island Conservancy.

Hollywood Bowl

Who would have thought there was such a simple answer for your picnic affairs? A concert hall in the Hollywood Hills is commonly discarded from the picnic agendas. Pack some light snacks and drinks and head to this amphitheater to catch a good show. Enjoy the company of friends or loved ones at this open-air stadium, which certainly makes up the best picnic spots in LA. According to Rolling Stones, this Hollywood concert hall ranked on the charts of the top 10 best venues, so check out the events before you head down there – as the arena hardly takes breaks. Whether screening old blockbuster movies or concerts, you’ll have a blast of a picnic in California vibes.

Regardless of the reason to go, visiting the Hollywood Bowl is an essential LA experience.

Death Valley State Park

Despite its grisly name, this valley is full of life and contradictions. A paradoxical area, that is full of extremes is what makes the valley so worthy of visiting and spending time in. Located on the sides of eastern California’s Mojave Desert – near the borders of Nevada, the valley is on a below-sea-level basin. Though on an extremely low threshold, the highest snow-covered peaks govern the valley’s grounds, while rampant wildflowers bloom, hinting at healthy signs of life and harmony. The Death Valley State Park would offer a lovely setting for a picnic in this unique area. Rove around the state park, and stop for a light snack while touring the majestic realm.

There's a unique beauty found within Death Valley State Park that offers a unique picnic destination in California.

Wilder Ranch State Park

Go big or go home can be the right expression when discussing this picnic spot. Unplug your phones, disconnect from the virtual world, and take a step back when you visit the Wilder Ranch State Park. Inviting you into its unique view of Victorian houses, Old barn structures, and a collection of full gardens, Wilder Ranch State Park is a great place for a picnic in California. Set up your picnic on the wooden tables sprinkled in the small apple orchard. Go on a spree watching the chickens in the coop, and admiring the farm animals next door, while they nibble on the green grass in their pen. This historic farm comes to life during Holidays with fun activities and farm demonstrations, it's worth squeezing in time for it.

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