Spring has sprung! Nature is begging us to finally come outside again and there’s nothing more relaxing than grabbing the hand of springtime and experiencing a picnic with someone you love. Load up some sandwiches, grab an old blanket, bring a Frisbee and your favorite book (that would be a Kindle for you millennials) and enjoy a little downtime.
In case you’re struggling to think about where to spend the next Saturday afternoon this spring, we’ve included the 10 best places in Northern California to go on an unforgettable picnic.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now: https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nominate/
1. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park – Coloma
There are some definite pluses to this park. The American River runs freely through it, the California gold rush started here and there is a replica of James Marshall’s mill. Old buildings and knowledgeable docents are available to tell you about everything in the park to make it even more interesting. There are lots of places to pitch your picnic blanket under the spreading oak trees or down by the river. You might even want to try your hand at gold panning, in the same place that so many of the 49ers did so many years ago. Yes, there is still gold to be panned at this beautiful spot along the American River.
2. Sundial Bridge – Redding
Spread out a blanket or sit on benches that face the bridge while you eat your lunch. Not feeling it? Then step inside Turtle Bay Cafe and enjoy your picnic sans nature.
3. Ice House Reservoir – Pollock Pines
The area is part of the El Dorado National Forest, which stretches across the famed gold mining territory of the 1800s. Its climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean. Feeling adventurous? Head to Bassi Falls, which can be reached via a 1.2-mile hiking trail. The glorious waterfall cascades over a 109-foot granite cliff.
4. Anderson River Park – Anderson
At the 440 acre Anderson River Park you will find recreational facilities for softball/soccer, boating, fishing, tennis, softball, basketball, disc golf, bocce ball, picnic areas, wildlife viewing, hiking and equestrian trails. Kids will love the Kiddieland play area. Love to walk or hike? There are miles of trails through natural areas for walking, biking or horseback riding.
5. Kiva Beach at the Tallac Historic Site – South Lake Tahoe
Squirrels and chipmunks will keep you company during your picnic here. This beach is open to the public and located at the Tallac Historic Site. When you’re done with lunch, take a tour of one of the homes here. History buffs will love this picnic spot for sure!
6. Yountville – Pretty much anywhere!
Nestled in the heart of the Napa Valley among vineyards between the Mayacamas Mountains and the Napa River, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a tiny spot of beauty for a picnic.
7. Ft. Bragg
If you can’t find a spot to put out your chair and eat a sandwich here then you aren’t trying hard enough. But, we would suggest bringing a light jacket this time of year.
8. San Anselmo
There’s nothing saying you have to find a designated picnic area. Pull over on a secluded road and dig in. It’s all about taking in the beauty and enjoying a little silence. We double dog dare you.
9. Sharp Park Beach – Half Moon Bay
Grab a blanket and take a stroll on the beach. Picnics on the beach are definitely a thing.
The tiny Northern California town of Booneville has a host of lovely spots to catch a few Zs under a tree. Picnics should include a nap, don’t you think?
The best thing about a picnic is that you can’t find a terrible place – not in Northern California, anyway. And since you’re all so helpful at giving us lots of ideas, why don’t you share where YOU love to enjoy your very own picnic time in this gorgeous part of our state.