Sacramento’s perfect picnic places across the city will turn any lunchtime liaison into a picnickers paradise with activities for every outdoor enthusiast. From sports fields to rose gardens and playgrounds to bark parks, there is a little bit of everything in the five best places to bring a basket in Sacramento.
William Land Park
3800 Land Park Dr.
Sacramento, CA 95822
One of the biggest parks in the Capitol City, William Land offers 22 picnic areas, each with one to four barbecues for a minimum of 50 picnickers in each. Two lakes on the grounds offer fishing, and fields for baseball, softball, basketball and soccer make it a sportsman’s — or woman’s — dream. Adventure playgrounds and tot areas, a golf course, a rock garden, an amphitheater and a wading pool promise a great day for the whole family. Exclusive to William Land, families here also enjoy Fairytale Town, Funderland and the Sacramento Zoo. Celebrating 85 years, more than 600 animals and award-winning exhibits, the zoo is open 363 days a year, and offers free admission on Christmas Eve. Fairytale Town is open the same hours as the zoo and admission fees are from $4 to $5, depending on age and day of the week. Funderland hours vary with the weather and ride passes vary per event.
Paradise Beach on the American River Parkway
Carlson and Sandburg drives
Sacramento, CA 95814
For the perfect beach-like picnic without the drive to the shore, Paradise Beach on the American River Parkway is a great place to stop year round from sunup to sundown. While there is no traditional address, Paradise picnickers will find the beach on an oxbow bend in the Sacramento River popular with swimming families, area fishermen and young adults looking for a day out. The day’s picnic isn’t complete without a swim in the beautiful river. For those unfamiliar with the cove, it is just over the levee from Glen Hall Park.
Related: Best Playgrounds in Sacramento
Granite Regional Park
Sacramento, CA 95812
Granite is a picnickers paradise, especially if you’re the type to roll that basket in on wheels, as the park also boasts a standout skate park open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. amidst its five picnic/barbecue areas. After mining the park site, the land for the park was given to the city by Granite Construction Company and now touts 42 developed acres. The expansive park now offers sites that can accommodate 50 picnickers easily. When the sandwiches are eaten, there are plenty of other activities to top off the day’s outing, including a lake with wetlands and nature area, walking trails, five horseshoe pits, soccer fields, two ponds, a cross-country running trail and playtime for the pooch in the expanded Granite Dog Park.
601 Alhambra Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95816
Seven eating areas inside McKinley give picnickers a place to put their baskets, and each includes a large or small barbecue with facilities that can accommodate 50 picnickers. The nearly 32 developed acres of grounds pack in a multitude of park perks that include tot playgrounds, a .75-mile jogging trail, a swimming and wading pool, a lake, an arts center, and fields for softball, baseball, soccer, volleyball and tennis. Unique features to McKinley include the 1.5-acre rose garden and a public library. A popular place for weddings and other seasonal events, the McKinley Park Rose Garden was first developed in1928 and has blossomed more than 1,000 rose bushes, blooming annuals and tree roses, including its award-winning blooms. The art-deco style building that houses the library was built in 1936 and is open Tuesday to Saturday.
Del Paso Regional Park
3565 Auburn Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Pull out your picnic basket, pack up the family and head over to one of the seven picnic areas at Del Paso Regional Park. The sprawling park area boasts more than 83 developed acres with playground adventure areas, a sand volleyball court, a jogging trail, a wetlands area, a trap shoot, equestrian trails, natural habitat areas, three golf courses and a softball complex. Founded in 1951, the Discovery Museum also makes its home at Del Paso Park and hosts an interactive space, science and nature programs for children. No need to worry if your picnic basket runs empty, food vendors nearby serve up some tasty treats.
Jody Only is a freelance writer with credits on a variety of Internet and print publications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.