San Vicente Mountain Park

Best Picnics With A View, August 2004

About a quarter mile off Mulholland Drive, accessible only by foot on an unpaved road, is a vantage point at  San Vicente Mountain Park  with 360-degree views. Work up an appetite on the hike, then satisfy yourself with vistas of the ocean, the San Gabriel Mountains, the San Fernando Valley, and the downtown skyline. 17500 Mulholland Dr., Encino.


The sea cliffs at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center , at this end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, offer sensational eyefuls of the coastline, Point Vicente Lighthouse, and on a clear day, Catalina Island. Bring your binoculars: This is a prime position for witnessing the whale migrations from December to March. 31501  Palos Verdes Dr. West, Rancho Palos Verdes.


The 380-acre Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area offers a quick excursion for those unable to get out of the city. You have your choice of 100 picnic tables, most of which have adjacent fire pits. If the functioning oil drills don’t bother you, the panorama will have you falling in love with L.A. all over again.  4100 S. La Cienega Blvd., Baldwin Hills.


Your picnic on the bluff above El Matador State Beach is accompanied by sea breezes and the sound of waves. Dine above the ocean and look for kelp forests and reefs, then climb down for a constitutional amid the shallow caves along the barely populated white-sand beach. Pacific Coast Hwy. and Encinal Canyon Rd., Malibu.


Save  Millard Canyon  one for an all-day trip. A canopy of trees shades picnic tables, plants and flowers adorn the setting, and wildlife may approach for a closer whiff of your sandwich. Follow the creek bed deeper into this sylvan sanctuary to discover the 50-foot Millard Falls.