San Diego’s best picnic spots
With one of the best climates in the nation, it’s rarely a bad day for a picnic in San Diego.
Throw in a wide range of terrain, picturesque views and plenty of outdoor space and you get a city that’s perfect for picnics. From Carlsbad and Vista to La Mesa and Chula Vista, there no shortage of parks, beaches and reservoirs across the county where you can enjoy an afternoon in the sun with friends and family.
So if you’re up for an adventure, grab a picnic basket and check out one of our favorite picnic spots in San Diego.
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Carlsbad State Beach
Getting there: A parking lot on Ocean Street offers close-to-the water spots, but can be a bit tight getting in and out. For less stress and more space, try one of the side streets off Highway 101, which offers lots of residential street parking. Just be aware that cars move quick on that highway, so don’t skip the crosswalks.
Brengle Terrace Park
Getting there: Take one of the two entrances on Vale Terrace Drive, which gets you to the main road that loops around the entire premises. Parking lots greet you at both entrances, with a few more located inside the park. Street parking is also allowed on Vale Terrace Drive, but watch out for fast cars.
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
Getting there: Two small parking lots are located along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, directly in front of the park. If you are able to snag one in the lot — and have a hatchback or truck bed — try backing into the spot and opening your truck for an ocean view picnic from the comfort of your own car. For busy days, plenty of parallel parking is available nearby.
Kate Sessions Park
Getting there: Take Soledad Road up the hill and turn into the entrance on Park Drive. The slow street, which runs through the park, has lots of parking spots. On busy days, turn around and parallel park along Soledad Road.
La Jolla Hermosa Park
Getting there: This hidden spot is easy to miss, so make sure you pay close attention to your GPS. The park has no parking lot, but you should be able to snag street parking along Chelsea Avenue or a side street in the residential area.
Trolley Barn Park
Getting there: There’s no parking lot, but you can park along Adams Avenue or another side street in the residential area of University Heights.
Grant Hill Neighborhood Park
Getting there: At the bottom of the hill, you’ll find lots of street parking in the quiet neighborhood.
Mt. Helix Park
Getting there: A narrow, one-way street takes you up the mountain, so follow signage and watch out for pedestrians. There is small lot by the kiosk with a handful of spots, as well as parallel parking along the street.
Getting there: Lake Murray is very large, with multiple entrances and areas to park. We recommend starting at the trail head on Kiowa Drive, which has a nearby parking lot and leads into the rest area.
Chula Vista Bayfront Park
Getting there: With the park directly in front of Chula Vista RV Resort, it can be tricky to find the entrance. Drive down Marina Way and turn left at the sign, where a roundabout leads you into a medium-sized parking lot. On busy days, you can also park on Marina Way and walk up to the park through the sidewalk along the marina.
Getting there: Tidelands Avenue takes you straight into the park, with a large lot on the south side that has plenty of parking spots.