Winter Picnics in California


Nobody knows exactly how many picnic tables there are in California, but we estimate there are hundreds of thousands of them are waiting to be enjoyed. Picnic Beach in Heisler Park, Laguna Beach, inspires people to “eat out” with a name that has “picnic” written all over it. If you need fresh air, a clear head, and inspiration, here are a few places you might consider going to have a winter picnic:

  • Wineries – One of the most popular wintering spots for picnics in California is the Napa wine country, where most vineyards provide picnic tables to snack cheeses, sandwiches & sip wines while you enjoy bucolic scenes. There are dozens of wine regions that offer picnicking and find winter actually the preferred time to enjoy the weather, which becomes a little too hot in the summer for many travelers’ tastes. One of our favorite spots on the Central Coast where you can sit on a hilltop is Lataetia Vineyard, overlooking the Santa Maria Valley. It is a breath-taking experiences that’s absolutely free!
  • Ski slopes – Skiers enjoying the mountain slopes know all about picnic tables and lunch. You can go into the lodge and take off all your stuff, locking it up, but often the easier choice so you don’t miss too much time on the slopes is lunch at the picnic tables on outdoor patios near the lodge. Walk up windows sell sandwiches, salads, soups and hot beverages to savor in the icy mountain air. Any other time people would say you were crazy sitting outside in snow having a picnic, but at the ski slopes it seems like the logical choice.
  • Beaches – From Mission Bay parks to Picnic Beach in Laguna Beach’s Heisler Park, winter may require bringing your own snack or meal as concessions sometimes are closed, yet the weather is ideal. Grab a sandwich or hamburger at a nearby drive through, walk-up window or take-out and enjoy watching the waves. What a perfect way to spend time eating and enjoying the scenery and people!
  • Public parks – 99% of California cities have public parks with picnic tables free to use. During the winter the parks are often overlooked and usually more quiet than summertime, offering a quiet place to enjoy the shade of a tree, a babbling brook, a lake scene, a beach, a mountain and even bird migrations nearby. If you want to take a break from the house, the kitchen or eating inside a restaurant, picnic tables are generally no more than a 5-10 minute drive away for visitors and residents. If you don’t know where to find one, just ask a local.


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