Family & Pets

Best Spots For Picnics In The North Bay

May 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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Drakes Bay Oyster Co. customers have picnic lunches with fresh oysters on April 16, 2014 in Inverness, CA (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. customers have picnic lunches with fresh oysters on April 16, 2014 in Inverness, CA (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

485123973 Best Spots For Picnics In The North BayInverness, CA (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The North Bay has some of the most picturesque spots in the Bay Area to enjoy a meal al fresco. For those who have already exhausted this list, here are a few more fantastic picnic spots. With everything from secluded nature preserves to busy city-surrounded squares, any family can enjoy a bite to eat in the fresh air. Pack a picnic lunch, grab a bottle of wine and hit the road to check out one of these North Bay picnic spots.

Marin Headlands
Fort Barry
Field and Bunker Roads
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-1540
www.nps.gov/goga/marin-headlands.htm

Towering majestically over the northern part of the San Francisco Bay, the Marin Headlands has a colorful history including everything from Native Americans to the U.S. Military. With extensive hiking trails and amazing views, the Headlands has a number of picnic sites. Check out the tables and barbecue grills at Battery Wallace for some of the best mealtime views. Restrooms are available at the Visitors Center, as well as near Rodeo Beach which is dog-friendly.

Bear Valley
Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
(415) 464-5100
www.nps.gov/pore

Part of the National Park Service, the Point Reyes National Seashore draws all manner of nature lovers. This large flora and fauna sanctuary is home to hiking and equestrian trails, as well as a number of hike-in campsites. The Bear Valley Visitors Center contains an interactive learning environment complete with auditorium and bookstore. Just outside the center are picnic areas with tables and charcoal-only barbecues. Several trailheads are located adjacent to the visitors center to provide families with some scenic post-lunch day hikes.

Sonoma Plaza
453 1st St. E.
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 996-1090
www.sonomavalley.com/sonoma

At the gateway to wine country, the Sonoma Plaza has a long and varied history and is a National Historic Landmark. The square Sonoma Plaza Park is surrounded by shops, art galleries, restaurants and wine tasting rooms. With picnic benches, and a duck pond and playground for the kids, the park is a popular spot to enjoy a nosh outdoors. Save a few bucks and pack a lunch, or splurge a little on some takeout from one of the nearby independent eateries.

Stafford Lake Plaza
3549 Novato Blvd.
Novato, CA 94947
(415) 897-0618
www.marincounty.org/Stafford-Lake

Stafford Lake Park is a picturesque 139-acre park nestled in the rolling hills around Stafford Lake. This peaceful spot has a variety of picnic and barbecue areas that can accommodate groups up to 500. With quiet nature trails, fishing and plenty of wildlife, visitors will enjoy a relaxing time away just outside of the hustle of the city. Also on site are a newly renovated disc golf course, horseshoes and volleyball. Drinking fountains and restrooms are available, and there is an entrance fee.

Finley Community Park
2060 W. College Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 543-3737
www.ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/FinleyCommunityPark.aspx

This 21-acre Santa Rosa park offers something for everyone. With plenty of reservable picnic and barbecue spots, there is also a large expanse of green area for more spur-of-the-moment picnicking. After an al-fresco meal, families can enjoy everything from horseshoes, tennis and basketball to a playground, sand volleyball and cruising the stroller-friendly paved trails. Restrooms are available.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com
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