Burton W. Chace Park
13650 Mindanao Way
Marina del Rey, CA. 90292
This park holds special memories—my daughter’s first bike ride, a romantic stroll on Valentine’s Day, Shakespeare in the Park and plenty of picnics in between. Chace Park is located right in the marina, a great place to rent a paddleboat and oogle the enormous yachts cruising by. Bike paths cut through small grassy hills and follow the perimeter of the park. Plenty of picnic tables, barbecues and picnic shelters abound. A free summer concert series in the park is currently underway. What better excuse to pack up a picnic! Tip: for extra fun, try taking a water taxi from the other side of the marina.
Will Rogers State Historic Park
1501 Will Rogers Park Road
Will Rogers is a great place for families and friends to spend an afternoon having a picnic, playing soccer and relaxing on the grassy lawn. After lunch, you can take a leisurely hike to Inspiration Point, and the more adventurous hikers can hit Backbone Trail. Even though this is a popular destination for fitness gurus, don’t feel guilty for lying on your blanket and basking in the California sunshine (unless you’re not wearing sunscreen, of course). Beware: parking is $12!
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
6300 Hetzler Rd.
Culver City/Baldwin Hills
This new urban park offers visitors a killer stairway, breathtaking views from a 511 ft. peak, a hike through restored native habitat, and a state of the art visitor center. You can either drive up the hill and pay $6 (watch out for pedestrians!) or park on Jefferson and walk up the switchback trail and stairs. Be forewarned: these stairs are steep, as in heart attack steep, but it’s a great cardio workout and many seem to climb with ease (oh, how I envy them). The view at the top is spectacular – a panoramic view of the entire Los Angeles Basin. On clear days you can even see the ocean.
The small picnic area is just east of the top of the stairs. It can get windy and a bit chilly here, so bring a light jacket.