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These five spots will have you wanting to eat all your meals outside
1. Crissy Field
Why? World-class views, great people-watching, proximity to shoreline walks or bike rides, lawn, beach, picnic tables. Ideal location for kite flying.
How? Get a cracked crab or some cooked bay shrimp from Fisherman’s Wharf or the grocery store. Add a salad, some Levain bread—what a picnic!
Details? 1199 E. Beach St., San Francisco, www.parksconservancy.org/visit/park-sites/crissy-field.html
2. Stern Grove
Why? The outdoor amphitheater kicks off its free concert season in June.
How? Pick your favorite concert in this year’s lineup. Then arrive early to set up your picnic blanket; the place gets packed.
Details? 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco, www.sterngrove.org
3. Tilden Park
Why? This jewel of the East Bay Regional Park District has a picnic area for everybody, whether you want a lake view, a spacious lawn to throw the Frisbee or proximity to its classic carousel.
How? Go to https://apm.activecommunities.com/ebparks/Facility_Search and search for Tilden Regional Park picnic areas, dialing in the particular amenities you want. Reserve online to secure your spot. Or look for one of the park’s many first-come, first-served picnic sites, which are usually a table or two and a barbecue grill (without a formal site name posted). Just throwing down a blanket for a picnic is also enjoyable throughout the park, including on the beach at Lake Anza.
Details? Entrances to the park are off Wildcat Canyon Road and Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley, www.ebparks.org/parks/tilden.
4. Bay Trail at Fort Baker
Why? Spot seals, sea lions and maybe even some harbor porpoises.
How? From the Bay Area Discovery Museum, follow the well-marked Bay Trail to shoreline cliffs for up-close ocean views. The Bay Trail becomes a dirt road, and then wooden stairs head up to paved East Road. At the top of those stairs are picnic tables overlooking Angel Island and the bay.
Details? Northeast of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin (take the Alexander Avenue exit from Highway 101 north, or the Sausalito exit from Highway 101 south, and turn right on Alexander Avenue), www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/upload/goga-folder-web2.pdf
5. Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve
Why? So close and yet so refreshingly far, this is some of the prettiest terrain in the Bay Area, and yet it’s easy to get to from Palo Alto and other cities and towns on the Peninsula.
How? Picnic tables overlook Horseshoe Lake, which offers an easy—and somewhat shaded—1-mile hike that’s suitable for strollers and wheelchairs.
Details? Park entrance is located 1 mile south of the intersection of Page Mill Road/Alpine Road and Skyline Boulevard in San Mateo County, www.openspace.org/preserves/pr_skyline_ridge.asp.
Food Safety Tips
- Keep cold food at 40 degrees or below. Store in waterproof containers that can be buried in the ice in your cooler. Put beverages in one cooler and cold food in another; that way, perishable foods won’t be exposed to warm air every time someone wants a drink.
- Warm food should be kept above 140 degrees. Wrap it well, and put it in an insulated container. Or wrap in towels, then newspaper, and place in a box or heavy paper bag.
- No food should sit out for more than two hours, or more than one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees.
- Bring extra plates and utensils so you don’t serve cooked food with the same plate and utensils as raw food.
Sources: foodsafety.gov, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, North California State University Cooperative Extension