Enjoy a Meal at These San Juan Capistrano Picnic Spots

June 15th, 2023 by

Gorgeous weather is coming to the San Juan Capistrano area of California, and it’s the ideal time to enjoy a picnic with your family or a date with that special someone. Here at Capistrano Volkswagen, we’ve compiled a guide to the best picnic spots in the locality.

Los Rios Park

The Los Rios district is said to be the oldest neighborhood in California, and the quaint Los Rios Park is at the heart of the community. As you enter the park, there’s a wall with historic black and white photographs from the area set into it. There’s even a pepper tree that dates back to the 19th century. This district is great for outdoor eating, with plenty of picnic tables shaded by a trellis covered with grape vines, along with other tree-shaded picnic areas. 

There’s a playground with a Western cowboy theme, a triple slide, climbing rocks, and a bark play surface to keep the kids amused. You can keep an eye on them from the picnic areas while they play. There are convenient restrooms, two sets of drinking fountains, and plenty of parking. The park also has a hiking trail nearby.   

Location: Paseo Adelanto, San Juan Capistrano.

Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset.

Salt Creek Beach Park

If you prefer to picnic by the ocean, Salt Creek Beach Park is a beautiful location. The beach is one of the most popular surfing areas. Other activities along the beach include swimming, body surfing, and fishing. You can explore the tide pools or just relax in the sunshine. Above the beach, there’s a lovely, large grassy park with picnic tables and shaded areas where you can enjoy your picnic away from the sand.

The park is family and dog-friendly and offers shelters, restrooms, and outside showers. A concession stand offers fast food and equipment rental in the spring and summer months. There’s also plenty of pay and display parking at just $1 per hour. Be aware that the park is on an incline, but the reward of a stunning sunset at the end of the day makes it worthwhile.

Location: 33333 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point.

Hours: 5 a.m. to midnight daily.

Lantern Bay Park

Located in an elevated position above Dana Point Harbor, Lantern Bay Park is close to the center of San Juan Capistrano. It’s a large, pretty grassy park with breathtaking views of Dana Point and the harbor, ocean, and mountains beyond. The park has wide open spaces with plenty of trees for shade, making it ideal for a picnic.

Spread a picnic blanket on the grass or take advantage of the many picnic tables. The park also offers water fountains, barbecues, and benches from which you can enjoy the amazing views. The small playground will help keep the little ones amused, and there’s even an open-air amphitheater. You’ll find a free parking lot at the bottom of the hill, with access to the park by the incredible staircase.

Location: 25111 Park Lantern, Dana Point.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Capistrano Beach Park

Capistrano Beach Park is a quiet and serene ocean-side location with spectacular views. It’s perfect if you want to escape the crowds and have a romantic picnic with your date. There’s plenty of room to spread out, and portable restrooms are available. You can try your hand at fishing or paddle boarding or go for a cooling swim.

If you’re feeling active, you can shoot some hoops on the basketball court, but this location is more suited to strolling through the surf at the water’s edge or just sitting and watching the surfers. The parking lot is closed, possibly permanently, but you can park on the main street and access the beach via a bridge over the train tracks. Note that dogs are not allowed on the beach from June 15 to Sept. 10.

Location: 35005 Beach Road, Capo Beach.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Pines Park

Pines Park is a beautiful clifftop leisure area with outstanding ocean views. The multitude of mature pine trees surrounding the grassy areas gives the park an intimate feel, ideal for bringing your date on a picnic. The four huge barbecue pits and many picnic tables are great for alfresco dining.

You’ll find water fountains and benches all around the park, and a paved trail meanders around the park’s rolling terrain. If you’re coming with family, the kids will love the futuristic playground and the superb climbing wall. Pines Park is another lovely spot to enjoy the region’s stunning sunsets. There’s plenty of free street parking around the park.

Location: 34901 Camino Capistrano, Dana Point.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Doheny State Beach

Doheny State Beach is another fabulous destination for a beach picnic. You can easily enjoy all this laid-back State Park has to offer, which is close to the harbor and center of San Juan Capistrano. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables at the top of the beach and in the five-acre grassy park area behind it. You’ll also find barbecues, fire pits, public restrooms, water fountains, equipment rental, a café, and wheelchair access to the beach.

Surfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding are available for the more active, along with volleyball courts on the beach. You can also use the token-operated hot showers. If you want to extend your visit, the beach’s southern end has campsites where you can watch the sun go down to the calming sound of the surf and the serenity of the beach. There’s plenty of parking, either hourly or with a day pass.

Location: 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive.

Day Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Are You Ready To Picnic in San Juan Capistrano?

These are the best picnic spots in the San Juan Capistrano area, according to the friendly team at Capistrano Volkswagen. And, if you need a quality ride to get you to your next favorite picnic spot, Capistrano Volkswagen has got you covered. With a wide variety of new and used cars, you’re sure to find the car, truck, or SUV that fits your lifestyle needs and can pack up all your picnic essentials. If you’re ready, feel free to contact us to get started.



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