Pack your picnic basket and head to one of these Bay Area picnic spots that offer gorgeous views, grass for days and spots to enjoy an afternoon of relaxation. From Marin to San Jose, enjoy our luxuriously long picnic season here in the Bay Area.MoreLess
Breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, a sandy beach, and a large grassy area splashed with picnic tables and grills make this San Francisco landmark one of the very best places for picnics ever. Be sure to bring a kite in case the wind picks up, and hats and SPF as there isn’t much shade.
This park checks all the picnic boxes—epic view, grassy spots and even a bonus swing to make you feel like you are touching the clouds. On a clear day you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge and all the way to East Bay hills. Park in the lot or on one of the side streets and follow the paths up to the top. It will take you about 20 minutes with tiny walkers so pack the jogging stroller if you think that will be an issue.
One of San Francisco’s most popular destinations for locals, Dolores Park is a perfect spot to drop a blanket and people watch. The spectacular view of the city is only matched by the festive atmosphere and gorgeous weather year round. A beautiful playground right at the top of the park will entertain kids for hours while you finish your treats in peace.
This stunning meadow is surrounded by trees and secluded from any wind. It also features a lovely playground and picnic tables. Families have plenty of space in the flat grassy area to play frisbee, soccer, or tag. After enjoying a snack, follow one of the paths located on the east or west sides to explore the beauty of Stow Lake.
Stunning views of the coastline and the Golden Gate Bridge, and a lot of history surround what many say is the best hike in San Francisco. Take the Lands End trail as far as you and your family can go, and lay a blanket down on one of the beaches below, or by the Sutro Baths ruins. Be sure to check out the visitor center and gift shop for books about the Sutro Baths and Cliff House.
Just across the Bay Bridge from SF is the spot with quite possibly the BEST view of the city that you can find. Treasure Island connects to the Bay Bridge via Yerba Buena Island and is home to the monthly TreasureFest Flea Market and also some perfect spots for picnics. Spread out your blanket on the Great Lawn and you'll have outstanding views and even a playground for kid climbing. Bring your kites as it's almost always windy here.
If your lazy weekend is so lazy you can’t be bothered to pack a picnic, head here. Hidden Cafe is actually within the park perimeter and offers coffee as well as inventive tacos, salads and baked goods. And as if that’s not enough, Phoenix Pastificio is just next door offering fresh pasta. There are a few picnic tables next to the creek in addition to a giant shady lawn that begs for picnic blankets.
Tilden Park is nestled in the hills above Berkeley. It offers many wonderful areas with picnic tables and beautiful spots to lay picnic blankets. Two handy spots for parents traveling with young kids are the benches located near the carousel and the spot near Indian Camp, where a tot lot is located. The steam train, merry-go-round and Little Farm are star attractions, making Tilden Nature Area a popular destination for families year round.
This spot hosts the yearly kite festival but it's a great spot to fly a kite any time of the year. Views of Alcatraz and both bridges makes for epic photos, there's 90 acres of grass to explore. Parking can get a little tight so get there early in the day or carpool!
Boasting two swimming beaches and picnic tables with barbecue grills, this Livermore gem is a fantastic summertime destination. Make advance reservations for a group picnic spot or just head out and grab an available table. Better yet, spread your blanket on the beach. Kids love splashing around and lifeguards are on duty, but a responsible adult still needs to supervise. There is a $6 parking fee through the main entrance.
The downside is that parking costs $10. The upside is that Francis Beach (the southernmost one) has lots of picnic tables (good for a birthday party), grass for frisbee and football, a campground, trails for cycling, amazing sunsets and of course A BEACH. There are even picnic tables off the sand so you can grill and go back and forth to the beach as much as you please. (Note: the beach is popular here but actual swimming can be dangerous due to strong rip currents.)
Plenty of picnic tables and play spaces make this an idyllic spot to dine al fresco with the littles. Located in downtown San Mateo, Central Park includes a playground, tennis courts, lawns and a children’s train ride. Take a stroll around the Japanese Tea Garden and make stops at the granite pagoda, bamboo grove and tea house. The koi pond is home to several big, colorful fish. Be there at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m., which is when they get fed. Talk about a frenzy!
When a tropical theme was chosen for Las Palmas, the park designers really followed through on that design, creating a large (non-swimmable) lagoon dotted with giant Easter Island moai heads. Then they surrounded the lagoon with palm trees and placed a big kid playground on an island in the middle. There are reservable and non-reservable picnic tables, making this Polynesian-themed oasis perfect for picnic and barbecue parties.
True, there are only a couple picnic tables here and no barbecue pits. However, why would you want a table when there’s a huge expanse of grass calling you to lay down a blanket? Pack some flip flops and towels for the kids’ feet because they’ll love walking in Matadero Creek. Afterwards follow the paved trail north to see if Bol Park’s famous donkey occupants, Perry and Niner, are visiting. (Insider tip: Sunday morning is the best time to spot them.)
The star attraction at this park is the playground that’s half fort, half maze. Plus there’s a gigantic grassy area that’s ideal for games, flying a kite or running around. One large picnic area is available with a reservation and includes 10 picnic tables, a counter prep area, two barbecues and a sink. Otherwise there are several other tables, each with its own barbecue, that are usually easy to claim upon arrival. Also check out the hiking trails, bowling alley and, of course, the beach.
Have a picnic and smell the roses at what is considered “America’s best rose garden” and one of the best picnic spots in the South Bay. Lay a blanket on the lush open grass field, walk through the endless rows of fragrant roses, play near the pergola and enjoy the sound of the water in the fountain.
This South Bay spot has miles of walking trails, creeks for exploring and loads of grass to spread out your picnic blanket. Park near Oak Meadow and you can enjoy the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and merry-go-round after your snack. Or, grab a spot near the Youth Science Institute and check out the animals that live there. Vasona also hosts a summer music series and movies under the stars. Parking is $6.
This park nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains has it all—an expansive lawn with picnic tables, redwood-shaded trails that can make you forget you’re in the middle of a blazing summer, a lovely creek, waterfalls, campgrounds, and—for the more adventurous—hiking paths all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Make your way to China Camp Village where you can picnic right next to the beach on San Pablo Bay and also visit a museum dedicated to the 1880s Chinese shrimp and fishing settlement that was once here. On the weekend there’s a snack shop offering food, beverages and ice cream. While at China Camp be sure to check out the hiking trails and wildlife watching, and if you’re more adventurous there’s camping, boating, windsurfing, and mountain biking.
This picnic spot might necessitate a little more planning than others but the views will make it absolutely worth it. Grab the ferry from SF or Tiburon and head to the island with your people and your picnic gear. Just up the hill from the dock area are tons of picnic tables that are open for the taking, or grab a patch of grass and spread out your blanket. After you eat, explore the island on foot or take the tram ride for a 360 degree view of the Bay Area.