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Monday, June 20, 2022

Best Picnic Spots in Orange County

June 20, 2022

We’ve collected a handy list of some of the best picnic spots in Orange County for you. A few perfect spots where you can celebrate the small, simple pleasures of life like the roar of ocean waves on a soft sand beach and the giggle of kids looking for shells, or picnicking in the shade at a scenic park, munching on homemade goodies or burgers you grabbed at your favorite drive-through.

Best Picnic Spots in Orange County

So pack your sandwiches, pour your iced tea into a travel bottle, and find your comfiest chair (or picnic blanket, if you’re going old-school).

Bluebird Park – Laguna

If you’re looking for an incredible park with great playground equipment and unique climbing structures, plus their own art installations, you want to come to Bluebird Park. Like so many of the parks we’re featuring, Bluebird is a hidden gem in Laguna Beach. Since Laguna Beach is an artist hangout, the mosaic turtle sculpture probably shouldn’t surprise you (but you’ll want to take pictures of the kids with it. Trust us.). And neither should the beautiful grass areas, plenty of picnic areas, or available BBQs. This park is so awesome, even the bathrooms are amazing! Located at 772 Cress St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Parking: Free
  • Playgrounds: There are two, one for small tots and one for big kids. The park is completely enclosed, so you don’t have to worry about the littles getting away.
  • Pro Tip: The park is walking distance from some tasty eateries in case you’d rather eat there than bring a picnic.
  • Local tip:  Local concerts are held here during the summer Concerts in the Park series.

Crescent Bay Point Park – Laguna Beach

First on our list is the amazing Crescent Bay Point. A small free park in Laguna Beach that’s perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, this peaceful place has absolutely stunning views of the coast, blue ocean, and artsy Laguna Beach itself. There’s a grass area available for picnicking where you’ll meet friendly residents walking their dogs, but the park is big enough for everyone to share. Located in Laguna Beach at the end of Crescent Bay Drive.

  • Beach Access: No
  • Wheelchair accessible: No. There are some stairs, so it’s not too wheel-friendly.
  • Parking: Metered spots are available on Main Street, or free in the residential area if you can find any.
  • Playgrounds: None
  • Pro Tip: Bring a camera… the views are incredible! There’s an easily-accessible scenic point you can take pictures from.
  • Local tip: Between the lighting and the scenery, this is a popular park for weddings, photo shoots, and the occasional yoga practitioner.

Edison Park & Gardens – Seal Beach

Edison Park is a community gathering space, with classes offered here and a community garden. The park is tucked in a residential area and borders the San Gabriel River offering easy access to the bike trail for those who wish to take a family ride. There is a small play area and plenty of green space to enjoy. Sports areas are available for volleyball, soccer, softball and basketball. If you prefer a table over picnicking in the grass, there are tables here for you. Located in College Park West at 99 College Drive, Seal Beach, CA 90740.

  • Beach Access: No
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Parking: Designated parking on site and in the neighborhood.
  • Playgrounds: Tot Lot
  • Pro Tip: Bring the bikes for a post picnic family ride along the bike trail.

Eisenhower Park and Lake – Orange

Eisenhower is another one of our hidden park recommendations because it has everything. Plenty of shady grass areas for picnics (and tables if you don’t want to sit on the grass. Which you might not because ducks aren’t potty-trained). Speaking of potties… there are two restrooms available. The paths are all stroller-friendly, and there are two playgrounds available, a beautiful stream to walk beside and fishing is available (catch and release only, please!) Located at 2864 N Tustin St, Orange, CA 92865.

  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Parking: Free
  • Playgrounds:  Yes, suitable for kids 2 years and older.
  • Local tip: There are plenty of BBQs available at the picnic areas if you want to really do lunch right.

Great Park – Irvine

The Great Park offers expansive green space to spread out and enjoy a day at the park with the family. Featuring a carousel and the popular orange Great Park Balloon, there is also a sports complex, multiple play areas to explore, paths connecting to neighboring communities, the Farm + Food Lab, Historic Hangar 244 dedicated to the history of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, which formerly occupied the area, and space for art and culture. Located at 8000 Great Park Blvd, Irvine, CA 92618.

  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Parking: Free and convenient
  • Playgrounds: Multiple
  • Pro Tip: Rent umbrellas and shade chairs for $5 on a first-come first serve basis.
  • Local tip: There is a Certified Farmers Market here every Sunday from 10 – 2 with fresh produce, local artisans, and gourmet food trucks.

Harriett Wieder Regional Park – Huntington Beach

Situated atop the bluffs overlooking the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and the beach, this is a favorite spot for many locals with unique play structures for all ages and newly installed fitness equipment. Kids love to explore the hidden trails around the perimeter of the park and there is plenty of grass to spread out on. Note that shade is limited here and restrooms are available. 19251 Seapoint Ave. Huntington Beach, CA 92648

  • Beach Access: No
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Parking: Free but limited
  • Playgrounds: Several unique structures
  • Pro Tip: Parking fills up on weekends so have a back-up just in case. Afternoons are not as crowded for parking.
  • Local tip: Squirrels can be a nuisance here so be alert and keep your food and bags closed.

Heisler Park – Laguna

If you’re looking for another gorgeous, peaceful park in Laguna Beach, Heisler is it. This park has it all… walking paths, plenty of benches to sit on and admire the view, and gorgeous sculptures to complement that amazing Pacific coast scenery (hey, Laguna Beach is an art colony, you know). The park is clean and easily accessible by the street. There are plenty of picnic tables to have your lunch at (and plenty of restrooms for afterward), and there’s even beach access via stairs (at high tide the stairs will be closed). Located at 375 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

  • Beach Access: Yes, and the tide pools are incredible.
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes, although beach access is via stairs and won’t be accessible.
  • Parking: Metered spots are available (they’ll take change, card, or app), or use the valet parking at Las Brisas restaurant. (After 7 PM, parking is free).
  • Playgrounds: None
  • Pro Tip: You’re going to hear this a lot for Laguna Beach parks… bring a camera! There’s even a gazebo for the perfect engagement photo shoot.
  • Local tip: Las Brisas restaurant is an awesome stop for lunch and an easy walk from the park.

Inspiration Point – Newport

A lovely little gem of a park in Newport Beach, Inspiration Point can be a little hard to find, but it’s totally worth it when you do. There’s a peaceful grass knoll overlooking the gorgeous turquoise ocean (great for picnics!) and walking trails that get you down to the beach. In fact, the walking trails are pretty extensive. So if you’re looking for a little adventure with your picnic, Inspiration Point is perfect. Located at Ocean Blvd & Heliotrope Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92663.

  • Beach Access: Yes
  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes, although the trails to the beach are steep coming back up, so it may not be feasible.
  • Parking: Free and convenient.
  • Playgrounds: None
  • Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for wildlife on the walking paths. There have been known to be snakes.
  • Local tip: This is a perfect stargazing spot at night. There’s also a hidden cave nearby.

Pitcher Park – Orange

Pitcher Park is a small pocket park in Orange, nestled in a residential neighborhood. The Pitcher family donated the land to the city and a replica of their homestead was built on the grounds. The small park features an array of flora and fauna, a fire museum, and an agricultural exhibit dedicated to the city’s history. While tours of the buildings are available by reservation only, the public is free to enjoy the botanical garden-like park any time. There are concrete picnic tables, some with a built in chess board for game time. Located at 204 N Cambridge St, Orange, CA 92866.

  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Parking: Free
  • Playgrounds: None
  • Pro Tip: Pack out your trash!
  • Local tip: Perfect spot for reading a book and seeing a bit of local history.

Tewinkle Park – Costa Mesa

Tewinkle is one of the hidden parks of Orange County, known mostly to local families. But it’s a great park for a day outside… full of everything you need to keep your young children happy. Ducks, geese, and turtles roam the ponds and squirrels zoom across the grassy areas, so there’s plenty of wildlife for your little one to look at. There are plenty of picnic tables and restrooms so you can make a day of it. The playground is huge and is the site of Angel’s Playground – one of the first accessible playgrounds in Orange County, near the Orange County Fairgrounds. Located at 970 Arlington Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Parking: Free
  • Playgrounds: Yes, and they’re partially covered, making play more comfortable during the summer.
  • Local tip: The local dog park is adjacent, so you’ll see plenty of furry friends… or maybe you’ll bring your own.
  • Bonus: If you have older kids tagging along (or are an avid skateboarder yourself), just across the street is the Volcom Skate Park.

Treasure Island Park – Laguna Beach

The clear, clean ocean around Laguna Beach is on full display here. There’s a park that overlooks the beach that’s available for picnics and the beach is utterly amazing, with fantastic tidepools and a rock archway to walk through. There are picnic tables along the pathway to the beach, so go eat your lunch with a view! Located at Wesley & Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

  • Beach Access: Yes
  • Wheelchair accessible: The grass area is, but beach access is by stairs.
  • Parking: There’s a parking garage available at $1.50 an hour with a 3-hour maximum, but it fills very quickly. Metered parking is available on the street.
  • Playgrounds: No
  • Pro Tip: Dogs are allowed on the beach, but not from 9am-6pm, June 15 to Sept 10.
  • Local tip: Arrive early for garage parking and be aware that the beach is part of the luxe Montage Hotel, so you’ll see guests on the sands. Do you blame them?

Veterans Park – Cypress

Veterans Park is a medium sized neighborhood park, but there is plenty of soft green grass to run in, a fun play structure with unique features, and a skate park, volleyball court, and basketball court. There are restrooms on site and a covered picnic area. Bring a blanket and spread out in the shade here, as there are plenty of shady areas throughout the park. Located at 4554 Avenida Granada, Cypress, CA 90630.

  • Wheelchair accessible: Yes
  • Parking: Designated parking lot on the residential side of the park.
  • Playgrounds: Yes
  • Pro Tip: Something for everyone with fun play equipment, a skate park, and plenty of green space.
  • Local tip: The inclusive playground is wheelchair accessible and has features for all abilities.

There you have it… our top picnic spots in Orange County. There are plenty more out there for you to discover. Keep calm and picnic on!

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