Spring is in full swing and we're dusting off our picnic baskets. These unique picnic destinations combine beautiful Bay Area scenery and activities that the whole family will love. Inviting little ones to help prepare and pack the picnic adds to the fun and will encourage even the pickiest of eaters to dig in when lunchtime rolls around. If you don't have a picnic basket, backpacks work just fine and letting children carry their own food offers a lesson in self-sufficiency and independence. For expert picnicking tips and recipe ideas visit A Little Yumminess: Picnic Time Collection.
The Sculpture Garden at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park is one of the loveliest settings for a spring picnic and a great place to soak in a little art even if a trip through the museum galleries is not in the plans. If you're meeting friends, the lily pond outside the entrance to the museum is a perfect rendezvous point where the kids can run a few circuits of the pond or look for turtles sunning on the rocks while waiting for everyone to arrive. And be sure to plan a few minutes to make a detour to the museum's Observation Tower with its spectacular 360 degree views of the city. [Both the observation tower and sculpture garden are open to the public and do not require paid admission to the museum.] The sculpture garden has superior picnic amenities: outdoor sculptures by Joan Miró, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, and Claes Oldenburg; plenty of grass; convenient restrooms; and a well stocked café for extras to augment food from home. Bring a sketchbook and a few drawing tools and you might just be inspired to make a little art of your own.
Native San Francisco Habitats
The Lobos Valley Overlook is an easily accessed and crowd-free picnic spot with views to the Pacific Ocean and the Richmond and Seacliff neighborhoods. Enter the Presidio through the gate at 14th Avenue and Lake Street and park in the guest parking area at the top of the hill. The Overlook's cement benches make for easy picnicking and the handicap accessible ramp offers a "thrilling, but not too thrilling" ride for small bikers or scooter riders. But the best feature of this picnic spot is that it's adjacent to the trail head for the wonderful, kid-friendly Lobos Creek Valley Trail. The Lobos Valley Creek Trail will give you the chance to experience a native dune habitat along San Francisco's last free flowing steam. Lobos Creek. It's a fun place to look for lizards as well as the birds and insects attracted to the native plants. The first short section of the trail is fine for kids, but is not particularly stroller friendly (doable if you are open to bumpy, hilly, off road strollering). The second section of trail is along a boardwalk for easy walking, although it can be a bit slippery when wet.
Bay Views and Whirligigs
When fog blankets San Francisco, make the short trek to the sunshine and explore the stretch of the Bay Trail sandwiched between Ryder Court Park and Seal Point Park. An easy place for bike riding and strollers, this section of trail also features a unique path called the Wind Walk. As the name implies, you'll often catch strong winds coming off the Bay, making this a popular windsurfing destination but these winds power a collection of whimsical kinetic sculptures that will delight kids and adults alike. Along the trail you'll also be rewarded with a views of the Bay bookmarked by the Bay and San Mateo Bridges. There are plenty of benches where you can stop for a picnic, or plan a less windy post-stroll picnic at Ryder Court Park which has excellent picnic facilities, tricked out play structures, restrooms, and a water splash area for hot days.
Stacie Dong and Simran Singh are the two San Francisco Bay Area moms behind A Little Yumminess, a family food blog that features spiced-up recipes and kid-friendly food adventures. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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