Jul 20, 2017
Picnicking at Presidio Picnic on the Main Parade Lawn at the Main Post.
You might already know the Presidio’s Main Parade Lawn (above) is home to the ultimate gathering – Presidio Picnic. Held on Sundays from spring to fall, Presidio Picnic features international food trucks and the chance to gather with hundreds of fellow park-lovers. The 7-acre lawn is also a great place to lay out a blanket for a small gathering with family and friends. If you forgot any of your picnic gear at home, drop into the nearby Presidio Visitor Center to pick up a folding cooler, blanket, collapsible wine glass, or reusable utensils.
The park also features a half dozen other stunning sites for picnicking – some with views, some with beaches, and some with perfect butterfly and bird watching nearby. Here are six great places to nosh in nature.
Immigrant Point provides beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, the Marin Headlands, and – on a clear day – Point Reyes National Seashore. The overlook has tables and limited parking so it’s also a wonderful spot for a little break…before heading off on an adventure on the Immigrant Point Connector Trail toward the Batteries to Bluffs Trail, or on to
Baker Beach and Marshall’s Beach.
Located in the heart of the Presidio’s Tennessee Hollow Watershed, El Polín Spring can be accessed off the Ecology Trail and is not far from Presidio Wall Playground. This is a wonderful place to learn about nature as well as the lives of some of the Presidio’s earliest residents. There are picnic tables, barbecues, and restrooms here – making it a nice place to gather with family and friends. Bring your binoculars. Thanks to a decade-long restoration project, you can enjoy birdwatching and it’s a great place to explore the Presidio’s native plant communities.
Pershing Square is located in the heart of the park across the street from the Presidio Officers’ Club, the park’s museum and cultural center. Spend the morning exploring the club’s fascinating exhibits and then unpack your picnic beneath the big flag pole. If you didn’t bring your lunch, grab some grub to go at Arguello restaurant (inside the Presidio Officers’ Club) or from the Palms Café. This is also the place to take in the view toward San Francisco Bay.
Baker Beach is one of the most epic beaches in the Bay. Here you’ll find a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Locals come here to bathe in the (occasional) sun, build sandcastles, and enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean. If you arrive early, you might be able to snag a BBQ grill and a table in the picnic area located up above the beach.
If you’re spending time at Crissy Field kite surfing, playing in the sand, or biking along the Golden Gate Promenade, East Beach is a great stop for a picnic. Here you’ll find restrooms, picnic tables, and grills. You’ll also be steps away from fantastic birdwatching at nearby Crissy Marsh and be in the perfect place to experience one of the park’s most beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
If you’re at the other end of Crissy Field, the spot for al fresco dining is the West Bluff Picnic Area. Here you’ll have views of the bridge on one side, Alcatraz straight ahead, and the San Francisco skyline on the horizon toward downtown. If you’re visiting the Gulf of the Farollones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center or Fort Point National Historic Site with the kids, this is where you can stop off and take a break. West Bluff has all the amenities – including BBQ pits, picnic tables, and restrooms. The Warming Hut is within arm’s reach for any additional picnic treats.