Five Redwoods Picnic Spots for Cinco de Mayo

Find a welcoming picnic spot, like this one at the Grove of the Old Trees, for a fiesta with friends or family.
Find a welcoming picnic spot, like this one at the Grove of the Old Trees, for a fiesta with friends or family.

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Are you doing anything to celebrate Mexican culture today? Festivities for this holiday (which is actually more popular in the United States than in Mexico) often include traditional folklórico dancing, mariachi music and, of course, delicious Mexican comida!

According to the California Avocado Commission, Americans consume more than 81 million avocados on Cinco de Mayo. This year, take your friends and family out of the city for a Cinco de Mayo picnic in the redwoods. Here are our cinco mejores (five favorite) picnic spots. Don’t forget the guacamole!

5. High on a ridgetop in Occidental, the Grove of the Old Trees is open to the public every day of the year. There is no visitor center or restrooms, but you can picnic among magnificent old redwoods here because the families that once owned the grove spared it from logging to use as a gathering place.

4. During a logging boom in the 1850s, Samuel P. Taylor built the Pacific Coast’s first paper mill in a canyon just 30 miles north of San Francisco. Luckily, some of the redwood groves were spared. Samuel P. Taylor State Park’s beautiful picnic area is in a shady, second-growth redwood grove along Lagunitas Creek. For a leisurely walk that everyone can enjoy, try the Pioneer Tree Trail.

3. Nestled among the stunning Santa Cruz Mountains, Portola Redwoods State Park is just five miles north of Big Basin. In 2012, Save the Redwoods League, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and the Portola and Castle Rock Foundation joined forces to help keep Portola Redwoods open. Your gifts helped fund numerous enhancements, including rebuilding a large picnic shelter near the visitor center.

2. Located in beautiful Sonoma County, Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve is just 75 miles from San Francisco, but it feels like a real getaway. Picnic areas near the Pool Ride Trail Head include tables, a barbecue pit, grills and nearby restrooms. If you want to go exploring, look for the small waterfall close by!

1. In November of 2010, the League and California State Parks  completed great improvements at Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve. The projects included new signage, improved parking facilities, new accessible restrooms and picnic tables under the giant trees. The work resulted from an extensive environmental design and review process to make the reserve more accessible while reducing impacts to the trees, creek and the forest landscape. Picnic here for incredible beauty in a remote part of Mendocino County.

Where are your favorite gathering places in the redwoods? Tell us in the comments section below!


About the author

Jennifer joined Save the Redwoods League in 2007 as the Director of Outreach and is now the League's Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. A Bay Area native, Jennifer brings several years of journalism, marketing communications and media relations experience in the public and private sectors to her work. Jennifer is charged with leading the organization's marketing communications and outreach efforts to connect people to the peace and beauty of the redwood forests.

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