Kids love picnics. We bet you’ve been invited to half a dozen pretend picnics and tea parties on your living room floor this week alone. So, why not head into the great outdoors to show your little ones what having a real-life picnic feels like? Here are 7 scenic spots around Los Angeles where you can kick off your shoes, unfold your blanket, and nosh on yummy finger foods under the clear blue sky of summer.
An expansive sprawl of green respite in an otherwise concrete jungle, Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills features eleven acres of space to play and picnic. Two large, sandy bottom playgrounds, one geared toward tiny tots, and the other designed for older children ages 5 and up, will keep kids active and entertained between bites. Plenty of picnic tables and park barbecues are available, but plopping down on a blanket on one of many shady patches of grass will make a picnic in this locale truly authentic and relaxing.
Will Rogers State Historic Park
Once the home of actor Will Rogers, his impressive estate now offers great views of downtown, short trails that are perfect for hiking (take the short walk to Inspiration Point), BBQ pits, and a grassy expanse for the kids to run around or fly kites. This park is popular with mountain bikers and other fitness gurus, but you’re sure to see your fair share of families laying out on blankets enjoying the sunny weather. Parking is a bit steep at $12 but totally worth it.
Will Rogers SHP
1501 Will Rogers Park Road - Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Parking $12.00 / Seniors parking $11.00
Malibu Bluffs Park
Having a picnic on the beach is a ball, but some tots aren’t keen on getting sand between their toes or between their ‘sand’wich bread. You can have your cake and eat it too, minus the seagull snatchers if you head to Malibu Bluffs Park. This six acre community park overlooks the Pacific Ocean; so you can still feel the ocean breeze and enjoy the gorgeous views. A playground for kids ages 2-12, a whale watching station, and plenty of picnic tables will round out your sunny party.
Malibu Bluffs Park Information
24250 Pacific Coast Highway
Phone: (310) 317-1364
Office Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, daily
Directions: Map to Malibu Bluffs Park
Burton W Chace Park
If your tots love boats and sea breezes, head to this picturesque park situated in Marina Del Rey. Gorgeous harbor views, grassy hills and $1 water bus rides around the marina will make this locale a hit with aspiring sailors. While there are no play structures here for the kiddos, there are 10 acres of lawn and trees — plenty of room to fly a kite. Bonus: There are also free summer concerts in this park on Thursday and Saturday nights from July through September.
Burton W. Chace Park Information
y 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, California 90292
Phone: (310) 305-9595
18 acres of respite and fun! Polliwog Park is the South Bay’s largest park. The designated picnic area has plenty of tables and six barbecues. After your picnic in this idyllic setting, which boasts a large pond bordered by a natural wildlife refuge, kids can let loose in the play area which features a light house structure, with several fun slides and misters. Babies will revel in the sand area and at the colorful climbing and exploratory equipment. Bring your pooch, because he’ll love playing in the 5,900 square foot Polliwog Park Dog Run located on the west end of the park.
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
For some of the most scenic views of the Los Angeles Basin, hike on up to the top of Baldwin Hills Overlook and take in the picturesque scenery. You can either drive up the hill and pay $6 or park on Jefferson and walk up the switchback trail and stairs. A word of warning: these stairs are often busy with runners, hikers, and other families, not to mention the act that they are very steep and uneven, so be prepared for a workout. The small picnic area is east of the top of the stairs. It can get windy on top of the hill, so make sure the kids wear layers.
The park’s main entrance is at 6300 Hetzler Rd. in Culver City off of Jefferson Blvd. The park is accessible via the 10 and 405 freeways. Parking is available at the top of the hill near the visitor center for $6.
If you would like to perform commercial or student filming or photography at the park, you need to contact the State Park film permit coordinator at 818-880-0358.
Also visit www.parks.ca.gov and view your many California State Parks in the Angeles District and across the state.
Exposition Park Rose Garden
Everything will literally be coming up roses at your picnic if you head to the Exposition Park Rose Garden. This vibrant floral setting will be a feast for the eyes as well! The roses are in full bloom during the summer months, so be sure to pack a camera for some beautiful photo ops. The fun may continue long after you finish your basket of goodies, since the rose garden neighbors the Natural History Museum, where you can behold the new Dinosaur Hall! Talk about a roaring good time!
Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
3990 S. Menlo Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90037
– Beth Shea
photo credit: Emran Kassim, jemsweb, & Ian Burt