6 Great Places to Picnic in the Presidio
You might already know about Presidio Picnic, held on Sundays from spring to fall, featuring international food trucks in partnership with Off the Grid. Even when Presidio Picnic is on hiatus (the season is usually mid-March through late October), the Main Parade Ground's lawn on the Presidio's Main Post is always a favorite spot to gather with fellow park-lovers or lay out a blanket with your small gathering of friends. The Presidio also features other sites that are perfect locations for picnicking in the park—some with views, some near beaches, and some ideal for observing nature. Here are six perfect locations for a picnic in the Presidio.
Immigrant Point provides beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, the Marin Headlands, and (on clear days) Point Reyes National Seashore. The overlook has tables and limited parking, so it's a wonderful spot for a little break before heading off on an adventure along the Immigrant Point Connector Trail toward the Battery to Bluffs Trail, or on to Baker Beach and Marshall's Beach. Learn more about Immigrant Point here.
El Polin Spring
Located in the heart of the Presidio's Tennessee Hollow Watershed, El Polin Spring can be accessed off the Ecology Trail and is not far from Julius Kahn 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 binoculars! Thanks to a decade-long restoration project, you can enjoy bird watching at El Polin Spring. It's also a great place to explore the Presidio's native plant communities. Learn more about El Polin Spring here.
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, check out the menus at Arguello restaurant (inside the Presidio Officers' Club) or from the Palms Cafe. This is also the perfect spot from which to take in the view of San Francisco Bay. Learn more about Pershing Square here.
Baker Beach is one of the most epic beaches in the Bay Area. Here, you'll find a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Locals come here to bask 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. Learn more about Baker Beach here.
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 place to 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 March, and be in the perfect place to experience one of the park's most beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Learn more about Crissy Field and East Beach here.
West Bluff Picnic Area
If you're at the other end of Crissy Field, the spot for al fresco dining is the West Bluff Picnic Area. You'll find views of the Golden Gate Bridge on one side, Alcatraz straight ahead, and the San Francisco skyline on the other. If you're visiting the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center or Fort Point National Historic Site with the kids, this is where you can stop and take a break. West Bluff has all the amenities you'll need, including BBQ pits, picnic tables and restrooms. The Warming Hut is also within arm's reach for any additional picnic treats and a fortifying cup of coffee. Learn more about West Bluff Picnic Area here.
Don't worry if you forgot any of your picnic gear at home. Drop into the Presidio Visitor Center (open daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., except major holidays) to pick up a folding cooler, blanket, collapsible wine glass or reusable utensils.
The Presidio is easily accessible via the free PresidiGo Shuttle from the Embarcadero or San Francisco's Muni system. For more information on activities, dining, and recreation in the Presidio, please visit the Presidio online at Presidio.gov.
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