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5 Best Bay Area Picnic Spots (Updated 2024)

Planning the ultimate picnic in the Bay Area? From breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge to serene escapes like Angel Island, we’ve got you covered with the top 5 spots for a memorable alfresco feast. As we dive into the picturesque details, remember to think about what tasty lunch you’re going to pack as we explore some of the best spots in Northern California.

Views over the Golden Gate Bridge

1) Rodeo Beach

First up, picture-perfect Rodeo Beach. Nestled between rugged cliffs and the rolling hills of Marin Headlands, this spot is a must-visit for any San Francisco itinerary. Whether you’re soaking in the panoramic Pacific Ocean vistas or exploring the hiking trails, Rodeo Beach offers the ideal setting for a seaside picnic spot in the Bay Area. With plenty of picnic benches overlooking the beach, you can savor your meal while listening to the soothing sound of waves crashing on the shore.

Rodeo Beach in the afternoon

There are plenty of places to picnic overlooking the beach, complete with picnic benches that are often available.  After all, the best picnic spot is undoubtedly on the beach itself.

Rodeo Beach, California

Plan a Picnic in San Francisco: Want a picnic closer to town? These are some of the best picnic spots in San Francisco.

beach at pink sunset

The facilities at Rodeo Beach are basic, but you’ll find bathrooms adjacent to the parking lot if you need them.

2) Angel Island State Park

Feeling adventurous? Angel Island beckons with promises of hidden gems and panoramic bay views. We love that they have an easy ferry ride that can transport us to this secluded paradise where we can lay out our blanket in Ayala Cove and dine amidst nature’s beauty. And if DIY isn’t your thing, fret not – a cozy cafe and cantina await to cater to our culinary desires.

camp reynolds California

Camp Reynolds is just a stone’s throw from the ferry! Fancy a beach picnic or a tram tour for some killer 360 views of the bay? Oh, and don’t forget the island’s fascinating historical sites! Before we dive into our picnic goodies, let’s swing by the historic Immigration Centre. It’s going to be a blast!

a deer in angel island state park

Check the Angel Island website for ferry times and tickets and events or to pre-order a lunch box.

3) Sonoma County Winery Picnic

You know Sonoma County for its world-class wineries, but did you know it’s also a picnic paradise? While there are a variety of wineries to try, J Vineyards and Winery is our favorite – it welcomed us with its rustic charm, offering shaded patios and quaint picnic tables along the creek.

vineyard  in California

Pairing our picnic with a tasting of their renowned wines set the stage for a perfect afternoon in wine country. The lawn area was our favorite spot, making for a gorgeous and delicious picnic setting.

winery in Sonoma California

If you are looking for a tasty picnic lunch to bring in, stop by Journeyman Meat Company for sandwiches and Village Bakery for pastries, and you’ll be all set for the perfect afternoon in Sonoma.

4) Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve

For an enchanting picnic experience, Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve is calling our names. Surrounded by towering redwoods and serenity, we indulged in a meal amidst nature’s tranquility.

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve
Armstrong Redwood State Natural Preserve

With hiking trails to explore and rustic picnic tables to enjoy, it’s a slice of paradise nestled in Northern California.

Our favorite trail in the park is the East Ridge and Pool Ridge Short Loop, as it allows for an easy but enjoyable hike amongst the beautiful redwood trees.

The trees provide lovely shade on hot days and plenty to see – The tallest tree is over 300 feet tall and the oldest over 1400 years old.

Redwood trees in California

After working up an appetite, stop for a refreshing picnic at one of the many rustic picnic tables and benches located around the main paths. BBQs are also available for use.

5) Vasona Lake County Park

Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos is truly a hidden gem for us picnic enthusiasts. With multiple picnic areas and scenic trails, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy a day in the sun.

Vasona Lake County Park

Whether we’re riding the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad or lounging lakeside with our picnic spread, Vasona offers something for everyone.

With its multiple picnic spots, scenic trails, and beautiful lakeside views. Relaxing by the water and exploring the park’s amenities makes Vasona Park one ofthe top places for a picnic in the Bay Area.