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9 of the Prettiest Picnic Spots in Northern California

9 of the Prettiest Picnic Spots in Northern California

These are the 9 prettiest places to go in Northern California to spread out a blanket and have an awesome picnic.

Natasha Kouyoumjian


4 min read

April 17, 2023

Did anyone say picnic? Summertime is here, and our picnic fever’s peaking. Warm weather, fresh blooms, and green grass begging to be brushed by the soft fabric of the silky sundresses. If you're a NorCal resident looking for the best picnic spots in the Bay Area, welcome aboard. With the sun shining outside our windows, it's hard not to stare at the emerald meadows. The fresh air is calling our names, and going on a picnic – whether with friends or a significant other – is always a good idea.

The color palette of Navarro River Redwoods State Park is a romantic story waiting to happen.

1. Navarro River Redwoods State Park 

A picnic by the river? Why not! If you’re a fan of rivers and don’t mind having your Pocahontas moment, this is the picnic spot for you. Be sure to book your kayak tour beforehand for a nice trip down the icy current and make your way through the sky-high trees. Park your car at the inn near the state park, and leave the packed goodies for after the crazy adventure.

Take a stroll down the shore of crystal clear waters with your partner’s hand intertwined.

2. Kiva Beach Tallac Historic Site, South of Lake Tahoe

If you’re craving a beach-time adventure, this picnic spot is all you need to quench that thirst. Enjoy the most romantic and soothing experience on the shore of Kiva Beach. Don’t shy away from dipping your feet in the fresh waters. Slip off your flip-flops and scrub your toes on the sandy texture. Embrace the calming sound of the waves coming in and going out, and enjoy the perks of lake beaches in the Golden state. Make sure to take a tour of the beachside houses and take in the view of the mysterious forest backdrop behind you. Finally, make sure to pack snacks for when the chipmunks and squirrels come to greet you.

Mission Dolores Park flags the American dream!

3. Mission Dolores Park, San Francisco

Dreamy picnic spots aren’t hard to find. Green grass, palm trees, fountains, and sunshine, Dolores had a mission indeed! It’s time to take that floral dress out of the closet, fill the basket with some fresh lemonade, and head down to Mission Dolores Park. Surprise your partner with a relaxing day out while exploring one of the best parks in the Bay Area.

The American river runs freely in this park full of culture, nature, and art.

4. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma

As one of the best picnic spots Sacramento has to offer, history buffs are going to love this picnic place. The American river flowing through it, the loud wilderness, old buildings, and a replica of the namesake’s mill. Famous for its gold discoveries, be ready to get your hands dirty when you locate the gold panning spot next to the free-running river. Though entirely different from a conventional picnic, this will be a memorable one. Choose a spot of your liking to lay out your blanket and soak up the purifying fragrance of the oak trees. Snap a selfie with the James Marshall statue and squirrel away the day at one of San Francisco's finest state parks.

Get swayed away by the angelic magnetism of this canvas.

5. Mount Diablo

From the gardens of the Golden Gates to this picnic spot, the devil must have caught your tongue. Gravity ceases to exist when this divinity cascade reveals itself. Explore the weirdest rock formations and pitch your blanket to bask in the warmth of the sun. Let the magic of Mount Diablo mesmerize you with the opening views of Lassen Peak and the Sierra Nevadas.

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6. Shark Park Beach, Half Moon Bay

If you’re planning that romantic picnic but cannot find the perfect destination, there’s no need to go too far!. Simplicity is key, and sometimes it's only $10. Shark Park Beach is the ideal picnic spot you need. Grab a blanket and head down to the shore. Swoon your partner with the magical ingredients of nature while leaving your heart in San Francisco

No need to go looking for magic when it’s staring right at you.

7. Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park

Forget your champagne problems, tea fixes everything. Though it's not the regular basket-blanket picnic park type, this garden’s picnic spots are simply epic. Bathing your eyes in one of San Francisco’s most unique places is another form of a picnic. Lounge in the calming experience of the tea house and visit the gift shop to collect souvenirs. The place is open year-round, so make sure to visit while you’re there. If you’re keen on having a traditional picnic, there are nearby gardens in San Francisco where you can relax. Remember, pups are not allowed at the tea garden so leave your furry friends at home!

Memories are waiting to be made at this enchanted lagoon at Foothills Park.

8. Foothills Park, Palo Alto

Filled with green meadows and a dozen picnic sites, this is one of the best picnic spots in the Bay Area. If you’re on the chase for hidden gems, better keep this place on your radar. This picnic spot is the ultimate destination for a daytime picnic with the family or springtime fun with friends. After a day well spent at Foothills Park, you can twist on your picnic from day to night. Remember to bring your tent along, for a nice Camping bash at this friendly park. Have your gear ready to go fishing the next day for a venture into fun activities.

9. Lands End, San Francisco

If you long for quality time with the family, these picnic spots will blow your mind. Gather your loved ones, pick your picnic blanket, pack up your basket, and head as far as possible. Known as one of the best hiking trails in San Francisco, this trail leads you straight to the Sutro Baths ruins and beaches. Enjoy a family bonding time underneath the palm trees and check out the local gift shop for a little background story about the area. Feel the cozy atmosphere with the coastline view and the Golden Gate Bridge wrapping you around them like a fuzzy blanket.

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