Best Picnic Spots in Southern California | KCET
Best Picnic Spots in Southern California
We love to be outside any chance we get. The beauty of living in Southern California is that you get chances to be outside A LOT. The cities sprawl far and wide, but there are gems sprinkled within them. You don't always have to wait for a well planned weekend to get out there and enjoy the abundant sunshine, and you don't need to travel far. An evening picnic is the perfect excuse to get out with your family or friends. Meet in the middle, share your favorite picnic recipes, start a fresh new soul nourishing routine. Here are some spectacular places to begin:
Wildflowers bloom in the springtime throughout Southern California. The exact peak dates for each location are mainly based on the elevation. One of our favorite locations is Anza Borrego State Park. It peaks fairly early, usually starting in February, which gives you a dose of excitement for what's to come for the rest of the season. Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park can both be incredible later in the season, towards the end of March and April. Around this time period, you can also plan a picnic at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. Endless fields blanketed in bright orange and yellow poppies are a satisfying background for a family picnic. Check out Desert USA Wildflower Reports to find your closest blooms and when they're expected to peak.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is one of the most iconic locations in the Los Angeles area. Many stars of the cinema are buried in this lovely location. You can stop by for a picnic on the grass anytime during the year, but summertime is an essential time to check it out. Movies are played outdoors on the lawn, which is a perfect activity to accompany a picnic. Bring your most adorable picnic basket, a good blanket and some candles, and impress your (many) fellow picnickers with your creative recipes. If you ride your bicycle in, you'll usually get priority standings in the entrance line, even if you haven't purchased a ticket on a sold out night.
Another great way to truly experience L.A. is by spending an evening watching live music
outdoors. The Hollywood Bowl is an amphitheater that's been around almost a century,
hosting bands such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. They encourage picnicking around the property before the show. Get there early to secure a spot at one of the many picnic tables, and bring a blanket just in case you can't. The blanket will be useful later in the evening if the weather is chilly. Shuttle services are available from surrounding areas, which will allow you to truly relax and enjoy the show.
It can be fun to incorporate freshly picked fruits into your picnic menu, and cherries go well with many things. From late May to July, different varieties of cherries are ripe and ready for picking in Leona Valley . The area is also known for growing wine grapes, and wine tasting is available at several places. Bring some limeade to muddle a few cherries into, or some chocolate fondue to create a picnic version of cherries cordial. And make sure to save some for pies when you get home.
If you're looking for an epic adventure that offers an incredible view for your picnic, take a hike up to the top of Cucamonga Peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. The trail is 12 miles round trip, so plan to leave early and stay all day. It should take you on average around 4 hours to get to the summit, which then opens up to a view of the entire Inland Empire valley below. There are plenty of comfortable areas to relax on a blanket, and eat your well deserved picnic lunch. Choose items like pressed sandwiches or wraps that will hold up in a backpack. This can be a dangerous hike in the winter, so wait until the ice and snow have melted away. The San Gabriels offer many beautiful hikes if you'd like one with a little less mileage. Icehouse Saddle is about halfway up on the way to Cucamonga Peak, and offers a lovely view and picnic area itself.
This is a special time of year for the seagulls on Anacapa Island, the largest breeding ground for the Western gull in the Western U.S. The blooming wildflowers on the island make for a romantic setting for mating season.
Downtown Los Angeles is a complex place where people from all walks of life cross paths and sometimes collide. The spaces featured in this photo essay highlight areas where people have died after interactions with the police.