Picture-perfect picnic spots in the North Bay

Caroline Goodhart, Reporter

It is another beautiful day in the Bay Area. The smoke has finally cleared and people everywhere are itching to get out of the house for the human contact they have been deprived of all week. Bay Area parks have been packed ever since the pandemic struck, and picnicking has quickly risen in popularity. After picnicking around Marin all summer, here are the places that I have found to be the most enjoyable, rated on a scale from one to five.

Geese wander Crissy Field’s green grass at dusk.

Crissy Field – 4/5 

Crissy Field, located just across the Golden Gate Bridge, has a beautiful view of the bay, the bridge and downtown San Francisco. It is the perfect place for a picnic, with plenty of room to comfortably socially distance and let your dog run free. Its close proximity to the beach and bike path allows other fun activities such as biking, jogging and swimming. However, since there is no place to hide from the wind at Crissy Field, I would strongly recommend going on a calm day. Additionally, the constant noise of the nearby elevated highway can detract from the stunning view and harmonious beach. Overall, Crissy Field is the place to go if you are looking for a large space with a panoramic view.


Visitors enjoy the warm sun and fresh air at McNears Beach park on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

McNears Beach – 4.5/5

One of Marin’s hidden gems, McNears Beach is the ideal spot to get a group together and spend a relaxing day along the water. Because it is a County Park, McNears has a five dollar parking fee, however, the price is well worth it. There are plenty of spots to set up picnic blankets, shallow waters to wade in, a dock for fishing and an overall lovely atmosphere. Since McNears is tucked into a pocket of the Bay, it is rarely windy. In addition, there is a nice balance between sunny and shady spots due to the coverage of eucalyptus and palm trees. Although the Bay is not always the cleanest place to go swimming, McNears’ calm waters make the experience more enjoyable. If you do not feel comfortable swimming in the Bay, it is also a great spot to go kayaking or paddleboarding. All things considered, McNears is a picture-perfect picnic spot and one of my favorite places to be in the Bay Area. 


Paradise Beach Park – 5/5

Located on the backside of the Tiburon Peninsula along Paradise Cove, Paradise Beach Park is another delightful place to picnic. The park also has a five dollar parking fee, but once again, it is definitely worth it. Additionally, the park is along the popular bike route, Paradise Drive, and the ride is a shady and pleasant alternative to driving. The Park has plenty of picnic tables, a long dock and a staircase along the hillside that leads down to a serene beach. Its green rolling hills are the perfect place to set up a blanket and enjoy the view. However, I would not recommend this spot to students who just got their licenses, as the curvy road makes passing bikers on the blind turns difficult. But if you are comfortable driving, Paradise Beach Park is truly a sliver of paradise.

The hills of Paradise Beach Park in Tiburon are blanketed with beautiful green foliage.

Wherever you go this weekend, I would highly recommend picnicking. It is a great way to meet up with friends and family while staying socially distant. Spending the day at these spots always makes me feel happy and refreshed, especially after a long week of Zoom classes.