Kind Reader, San Diego has plenty of stunning picnic spots, but if you’re looking for a secluded and peaceful spot to enjoy a meal or simply relax, then hidden picnic spots San Diego is the perfect option for you. San Diego is abundant with picture-perfect picnic locations, ranging from well-known beaches to hidden parks. We’ve gathered a list of hidden picnic spots in San Diego that are worth checking out for anyone who wants to escape the crowded spots and enjoy nature in a quiet, cozy environment.
Best Hidden Picnic Spots in San Diego for Nature Lovers
San Diego is a perfect destination for anyone fond of nature and outdoor recreation. Apart from its beautiful golden beaches, San Diego offers numerous hidden picnic spots that are off the beaten path and offer breathtaking views of the city’s natural landscapes. If you’re looking for a peaceful spot to relax and unwind or to enjoy some quality time with your significant other, family, or friends, these hidden picnic spots will cater to all your desires.
Ah-Ha! Bamboo Grove at Balboa Park
Balboa Park is an evergreen picnic spot favorite for tourists and locals alike. But, there is a hidden secret picnic spot at Balboa Park that most people don’t know about- Ah-Ha! Bamboo Grove. Tucked away in a quiet part of Palm Canyon, this spot offers serenity and breathtaking beauty. With bamboo trees swaying romantically and gentle waterfalls creating a peaceful aura, this picnic spot is an ultimate hideout spot for a quiet picnic with your loved ones.
Cabrillo National Monument
If you’re looking for a hidden picnic spot where you can watch the waves break and ships sailing by, Cabrillo National Monument is your perfect spot. Here you can enjoy a majestic view of the bay without any distractions, and you’ll come away feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
Best Hidden Picnic Spots in San Diego for Adventure Lovers
San Diego is a nature lover’s paradise, and for those adventure enthusiasts who love the thrill of outdoor activities, the city has a plethora of hidden gems. These are some of the best-hidden picnic spots in San Diego for outdoor enthusiasts:
Torrey Pines State Reserve
For an adventurous day trip and hidden picnic spot in San Diego, head to Torrey Pines State Reserve. This spot is a haven for hikers, offering stunning views of the ocean and Torrey Pines State Reserve. Along with jaw-dropping views, there are different hiking paths, and a chance to see the magnificent Torrey pine trees up close.
Lake Murray Reservoir
If you enjoy kayaking, hiking, and fishing, Lake Murray Reservoir is the perfect adventure for you. This hidden picnic spot offers a great chance to unwind and experience unique scenery away from the city’s hustle and bustle. The picturesque view coupled with outdoor activities and a relaxing picnic is an unbeatable combination making it a perfect day out for adventure lovers.
Hidden Picnic Spots in San Diego with Ocean View
If you want to enjoy the view of the Pacific Ocean while having a picnic, here are some of the hidden spots in San Diego:
Torre Pines State Beach
Torre Pines State Beach is one of the hidden gems of San Diego. It is located at the bottom of a 300-foot high cliff, which provides a breathtaking view of the ocean. You can find picnic tables and grills to cook on, as well as clean restrooms and outdoor showers to rinse off.
La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove is a small, picturesque cove located in the northern part of San Diego. It is surrounded by cliffs and crystal-clear waters. Its beauty and tranquility make it a perfect place for a picnic or a sunset dinner. You can bring a picnic blanket, food, and drinks, and relax while watching the waves.
Hidden Picnic Spots in San Diego with Nature View
If you want to enjoy nature while having a picnic, here are some of the hidden spots in San Diego:
Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center
Tecolote Canyon Natural Park and Nature Center is a hidden oasis in San Diego. It is located in the middle of the city and surrounded by lush vegetation, trees, and wildlife. You can find picnic tables, BBQ grills, and play areas for kids. It’s a perfect spot for a family picnic or a romantic lunch under the trees.
Balboa Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, covering 1,200 acres. It is home to a botanical garden, a zoo, multiple museums, and several park areas. You can find secluded picnic spots under the trees, by the lily pond, or near the rose garden. You can also bring a blanket and have a picnic on the lawn.
|1||La Jolla Cove||La Jolla||Cliffs, ocean views, seals|
|2||Cuyamaca Rancho State Park||East County||Oak trees, meadows, fishing|
|3||Presidio Park||Old Town||Historic site, city views, park benches|
|4||Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve||North County||Waterfall, shaded areas, hiking trails|
|5||Cabrillo National Monument||Point Loma||Lighthouse, tide pools, whale watching|
The Best Hidden Picnic Spots in San Diego with Amazing Views
San Diego is a beautiful city and has some of the best-kept picnic spots you can find. While most of these picnic locations are well within reach, there are some hidden picnic spots that only the lucky few know.
1. Tecolote Canyon Natural Park
The Tecolote Canyon Natural Park is located in the Clairemont area of San Diego and boasts a park environment that’s natural and almost wild. This location is perfect for hikers looking for a peaceful spot to enjoy a picnic with a fantastic view.
2. Marian Bear Memorial Park
To get to Marian Bear Memorial Park, you’ll need to pass the suburbs of La Jolla and University City. It’s a serene spot with picnic tables that will allow you to relax and enjoy beautiful flora, fauna, and wildlife.
3. Centennial Park
If you’re looking for a picnic that’s not too far from Downtown San Diego, Centennial Park is your go-to option. With a breath-taking view of the San Diego Bay, this picnic spot offers tourist attractions, bike trails, and a gorgeous view of the Coronado Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.
4. Kate Sessions Park
Located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, Kate Sessions Park is perfect for those who want to relax and enjoy a panoramic view of Mission Bay and Mount Soledad. It’s a beautiful location that offers plenty of green space, perfect for a nice picnic.
5. The Japanese Friendship Garden
The Japanese Friendship Garden is located in the lush Balboa Park and is one of the most breathtaking sights in San Diego. With its tranquil and serene environs, this picnic spot is perfect for nature lovers looking to unwind and enjoy stunning cherry blossom and Japanese architecture.
6. Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument is a wildlife park located at the Point Loma Peninsula’s southern tip on the way to Ocean Beach. It’s one of the most stunning landmarks in San Diego and offers an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean from the highest point of Southern California’s coast.
7. Seaport Village
Located Downtown, Seaport Village is a harbor town that’s perfect for families and couples looking for a unique picnic spot. With its lovely scenic views, you can enjoy the beautiful environment while indulging in a picnic. You can also walk, shop, and enjoy a selection of restaurants in this remarkable location.
Hidden Picnic Spots in San Diego’s Beaches
San Diego’s spectacular beaches offer more than just swimming and sunbathing opportunities. A myriad of hidden picnic spots in San Diego’s beaches is waiting for you. Imagine dining al fresco with a splendid view of the sea, sand, and sun, with just the sound of the waves and seagulls in the background.
Coronado Beach is known for its long expanse of soft, white sand, which is perfect for beach volleyball, frisbee, and of course, picnicking. Playgrounds, restrooms, showers, and fire pits are available. The beach is convenient and easy to get to, with close parking options and several nice hotels and restaurants nearby.
La Jolla Cove Beach
La Jolla Cove Beach boasts a picturesque setting, with turquoise waters, jagged coastline, and craggy cliffs. It is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking. The Ellen Browning Scripps Park, which is located near the beach, is a large grassy area that has ample picnic tables and trees for shade.
Pacific Beach is a great spot for families. Aside from the wide sandy beach, there is a boardwalk, grassy lawns, and a big playground. Lifeguards are also present during the day. There are many restaurants, bars, and shops nearby when picnickers want to take a break from food preparation.
Del Mar Beach
Del Mar Beach is a secluded beach with a peaceful ambiance. It is near Southern California racetracks and the lux Del Mar Plaza shopping mall. Although the beach is more challenging to access than other San Diego beaches, it is less crowded, and picnickers can choose a cliff or a beach blanket spot to sit and enjoy their meal.
Cardiff State Beach
Cardiff State Beach is ideal for families who want to teach their children how to surf, and at the same time appreciate a beautiful view of the coastline. The San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve nearby is another fantastic spot to have a picnic.
Ocean Beach is popular among surfers and dog lovers. It is a little less touristy than other San Diego beaches. The beach has a fishing pier and an observation deck where dolphins and whales are frequently spotted. There are plenty of great picnic tables available on the beach.
Solana Beach is situated between Del Mar Beach and Cardiff State Beach. It offers fabulous coastal views, stunning waves, and extensive tide pools. Picnickers who are lucky might be able to spot some marine life here. Fletcher Cove Park is a popular spot for a picnic in Solana Beach.
Hidden Picnic Spots in North County San Diego
San Diegoâ€™s North County is home to some of the most scenic hidden picnic spots in the area. Visitors can enjoy these natural settings surrounded by lush greenery, rolling hills, and sprawling vineyards. Here are some of the best picnic spots in North County San Diego:
Daley Ranch Preserve
The Daley Ranch Preserve is a great spot for those looking for a quiet and peaceful picnic. The park is located in Escondido and has over 3,000 acres of open space with trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Picnickers can enjoy the stunning views of the valley, hills and mountains. It is a perfect spot for those who want to escape the city and spend a day in nature.
San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve
The San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is a natural treasure nestled in the heart of Encinitas. The reserve offers a variety of spots for picnics, including a large grassy meadow with views of the ocean and the lagoon. Visitors can easily access the park by foot or bike and enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, or birdwatching.
|No||North County Hidden Picnic Spots|
|1||Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve|
|2||Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve|
|3||Buena Vista Audubon Society & Nature Center|
|4||Cottonwood Creek Park|
|5||Lake Hodges Overlook Park|
La Jolla Cove
If youâ€™re looking for a picturesque picnic spot, then head to La Jolla Cove! With its stunning ocean views and ample amount of grassy areas, this spot is perfect for romantic sunset picnics, family reunions, or a fun day out with friends. Thereâ€™s also a designated picnic area with tables and benches if you prefer a bit more structure to your picnic activities.
Sea lions and kayaking
While enjoying your picnic, you can watch the sea lions playing in the water. If youâ€™re feeling adventurous, you can rent a kayak and explore the nearby sea caves.
Lifeguards on duty
Itâ€™s important to note that there are lifeguards on duty at La Jolla Cove, making it a safe picnic spot for families with young children. However, it does get crowded during peak season, so arrive early to snag a good spot!
While many people head north when they are in search of hidden picnic spots, you really shouldn’t overlook San Diego’s South Bay, home to some of the best picnic areas in the city.
Chula Vista Bayfront Park
Chula Vista Bayfront Park is a popular spot for picnics and barbecues and offers stunning views of the bay. You can also enjoy some water sports or go for a walk on the beach. This park has plenty of tables and barbecue grills, as well as restrooms and a playground for children.
Imperial Beach is a less crowded spot than some of the other beaches in San Diego, making it an ideal location for a relaxed picnic. Here you can take in the stunning ocean views, fly a kite or just sit back and relax with your loved ones. This beautiful beach has an impressive pier and offers a lot of public picnic tables. You can also use one of the barbecue pits available in the park.
Hidden Picnic Spots San Diego: FAQ
Find answers to common questions about finding and enjoying hidden picnic spots in San Diego.
There are many hidden picnic spots in San Diego, some common ones include hiking trails, parks, and beaches along the coast. We’ve compiled a list of 25 hidden picnic spots in San Diego that are worth exploring!
2. What should I bring on a picnic to San Diego?
Be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, insect repellent, picnic blanket, and any food or drinks that you would like to enjoy during your picnic.
3. Can I bring alcohol to a picnic in San Diego?
Many picnic areas in San Diego allow alcohol, but be sure to check local laws and regulations beforehand.
4. Are there any restrictions on grilling or using fire in San Diego picnic areas?
Yes, in many parks and beaches in San Diego, open fires and barbecues are not allowed. Be sure to check beforehand, and bring a portable grill if you plan on cooking at your picnic spot.
5. Are there any picnic spots in San Diego that have a view?
Yes, there are many picnic spots in San Diego with breathtaking views, like the Mount Soledad National Veterans Memorial or the Torrey Pines State Reserve.
6. Can I reserve a picnic spot in San Diego?
Yes, many picnic areas in San Diego can be reserved in advance. Check with the specific location for details and fees.
7. What is the best time of day to have a picnic in San Diego?
The best time of day to have a picnic in San Diego is typically mid-morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. However, it ultimately depends on the location and whether you want to enjoy a sunrise or sunset picnic.
Yes, some picnic spots in San Diego like the Balboa Park or the La Jolla Cove have wheelchair accessibility.
9. Are dogs allowed at San Diego picnic spots?
Many parks and beaches in San Diego have designated areas for dogs, but be sure to check for specific rules and regulations beforehand.
10. Is it safe to have a picnic in San Diego during COVID-19?
It is generally safe to have a picnic in San Diego during COVID-19 if you practice social distancing, wear masks, and avoid crowded areas. Be sure to check for current guidelines and restrictions.
11. Are there shade options in San Diego picnic spots?
Yes, many San Diego picnic spots have shaded picnic areas, such as the Balboa Park or the Mission Bay Park.
12. What are some kid-friendly picnic spots in San Diego?
The Waterfront Park and the Ellen Browning Scripps Park are both great options for a family picnic in San Diego, with plenty of green space and recreational activities nearby.
13. What is the best time of year to have a picnic in San Diego?
San Diego has mild weather throughout the year, but spring and fall are typically the best times to have a picnic, with comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds.
14. Are there picnic spots in San Diego that are off the grid?
Yes, there are some hidden picnic spots in San Diego that are secluded and off the beaten path, such as the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve or the Mission Trails Regional Park.
15. What is the least crowded picnic spot in San Diego?
Some lesser-known picnic spots in San Diego like the Tecolote Canyon Natural Park or the Lindo Lake County Park offer a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere.
16. Are there any picnic spots in San Diego that are near public restrooms?
Most picnic spots in San Diego have public restrooms nearby, like the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park or the Lake Poway Recreational Area.
Some hidden picnic spots in San Diego are accessible only by hiking trails, so be sure to have proper gear and directions. Others are easily reachable by car or public transportation.
18. Can I bring a large group to a San Diego picnic spot?
Yes, many picnic spots in San Diego can accommodate large groups, but be sure to check reservation requirements and capacity limits.
19. What should I do if I encounter wildlife during my San Diego picnic?
Be sure to keep your distance from any wildlife that you encounter, and avoid feeding or approaching them.
20. Can I fly a drone at a San Diego picnic spot?
It depends on the specific location and local laws. Be sure to check beforehand and get proper permits if necessary.
21. Are there any picnic spots in San Diego that are near the ocean?
Yes, many San Diego picnic spots are located near the ocean, like the Coronado Beach or the Seaport Village.
Researching online and asking locals for recommendations are great ways to discover hidden picnic spots in San Diego. Also, there are many apps available to find parks and recreation areas in the city.
23. What should I do with my trash after a picnic in San Diego?
Be sure to take your trash with you and dispose of it properly. Do not leave it behind at the picnic spot.
24. Can I have a picnic in a San Diego campground?
Yes, many San Diego campgrounds have designated picnic areas, such as the San Elijo State Beach or the Campland on the Bay.
25. What is the most romantic picnic spot in San Diego?
The Sunset Cliffs Natural Park or the Calumet Beach are both popular romantic picnic spots in San Diego, with stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere.
Discover some hidden picnic spots in San Diego that offer beautiful scenery and a peaceful atmosphere for a perfect picnic.
Until Next Time, Kind Reader
As we come to the end of our journey discovering the hidden picnic spots in San Diego, we hope that you’ve found a few places that piqued your interest. May your next trip be filled with delicious food, beautiful scenery, and quality time spent with loved ones. Remember, these spots may be hidden, but they are waiting for you to discover them. Thank you for reading, and we can’t wait to see you again soon for more adventures. Take care!