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Best Picnic Spots in Marin

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Above: Ring Mountain

Posted in Blogging Marin on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 by MCVB Staff

By Megan Eileen McDonough

 

Time to get your picnic baskets at the ready. Spring is here and we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite picnic spots to celebrate the changing of seasons. From historic landmarks to 360-degree vistas, here are five of Marin’s best picnic spots.

 

China Camp State Park

 

For stunning views of San Pablo Bay, China Camp State Park is a must-see. There are several picnic spots located throughout the park, many of which are set up along Point San Pedro Road. Packing is easy, as there are picnic tables, charcoal grills and restrooms nearby. Alternatively, eat your lunch in China Camp Village for a walk down memory lane...literally! The place looks exactly like it did back in the 1930s, so it might just feel like you've wandered back in time. Plus, there are several historic exhibits, a snack bar (for those last-minute picnic packers) and a small beach.

 

Bear Valley, Point Reyes National Seashore

 

There's plenty to see and do in Bear Valley, including a visitor's center and hiking trails for every fitness level. Come lunchtime, there is a spacious area complete with tables, charcoal grills, bathrooms and drinking water. If on a time crunch, consider hiking the Earthquake Trail, as it's just over half a mile and begins at the southeast section of the Bear Valley Picnic Area. Don't worry, earthquakes are not on the itinerary! There's also the Kule Loklo Trail, which leads hikers to a replica of a Coast Miwok Indian village. At 0.8 miles, the trail is just long enough to work up an appetite for lunch.

 

Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

 

With more than 150 miles of hiking trails and 80 miles of shoreline, the picnic possibilities in Point Reyes National Seashore are truly endless. In addition to Bear Valley, Drakes Beach is a popular picnic spot for locals and tourists alike. There are several picnic benches near the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center and charcoal grills nearby. Otherwise, pack a blanket and pick a spot on the beach. Fun fact: Erosion has revealed that the sand here dates back to 10-13 million years ago.

 

Angel Island State Park

 

Even though Angel Island State Park is the largest natural island in the San Francisco Bay, it sometimes gets overlooked, and that’s a shame! This hidden gem offers some of the most stunning views of the Bay Area, not to mention hiking trails and a slew of outdoor recreational activities. The main picnic area is a short walk from the ferry dock and tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. That said, if you're planning a visit with a large group (35 to 200), you can reserve ahead of time. Wood fires aren't allowed here but guests can bring their own stove or charcoal grill.

 

Marin Headlands

 

Last but certainly not least are the picturesque Marin Headlands. There's something for every interest here, whether climbing to the top of the Point Bonita Lighthouse or sleeping under the star-filled sky at the campgrounds. Speaking of the sky, be on the lookout for owls, egrets, grebes and more. Once you've worked up an appetite, find a picnic spot at Battery Wallace near the Point Bonita Trailhead. The view is amazing and charcoal grills make cooking easy.

 

For all you need to plan your Marin County vacation, visit the Marin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website or Facebook page, or download the mobile app.

More information on featured attractions:

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China Camp State Park

This 1,648-acre bayside park just outside of San Rafael, acquired its name from a Chinese fishing village that once flourished there. Visitors may view a preserved fisherman’s cottage...[Learn More]

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Bear Valley Visitors Center

Before exploring the Point Reyes National Seashore, a visit to the Bear Valley Visitors Center is in order. The Center provides an orientation to the park’s roads, trails...[Learn More]

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Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore was established to preserve and protect wilderness, natural eco-systems, and cultural resources along the diminishing undeveloped coastline of the western United States. Located just...[Learn More]

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Angel Island State Park

Angel Island State Park is a 740-acre mountainous island in the San Francisco Bay offering a variety of activities including hiking, biking, camping, picnicking, and tram tours. It...[Learn More]

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Marin Headlands

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) offers two hide-in and two walk-in campgrounds in the Marin Headlands, located at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge....[Learn More]

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Point Bonita Lighthouse

This active lighthouse dates from 1877 and sits on top of a rugged outcropping overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Access to the lighthouse is from the Golden Gate National...[Learn More]