Lakeside BBQ & Picnic Spots: Where to Spend Memorial Day Weekend
May 24, 2024

Lakeside BBQ & Picnic Spots: Where to Spend Memorial Day Weekend

Is the idea of sun and sand calling to you? No need to travel all the way to the coast for a day at the beach. There are plenty of spots closer to home where you can relax on the sand, including places right here in Sacramento. Sure, you might not have the crashing waves as a backdrop, but you also won’t have to spend hours stuck in Bay Area traffic.

Whether a lake or a river, the greater Sacramento region has several options for beach barbecues or picnics. Some places even have barbecue areas and rentals. Following are some of our favorite places for waterside barbecues and picnics in the Sacramento region.

Granite Bay and Beals Point, Folsom Lake

The Folsom Lake State Recreation Area encompasses miles of shoreline, numerous parks, dozens of hiking trails and various access points along the way. Two of the best are Granite Bay and Beals Point in Placer County, both of which have sandy beaches , designated swim areas, barbecue pits and snack bars. With large grassy expanses, there’s plenty of room to spread out. During the busy summer months, you can also rent kayaks, paddle boards, and rafts. 

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Henningsen Lotus Park, South Fork American River

Located along the South Fork of the American River in Lotus, this scenic community park is a great spot for a summertime barbecue. They have a day use area with a swimmable beach, picnic tables, and shade structures, plus you can bring your own grill. It’s also a popular launching-off point for paddlers and rafters as well. 

Nimbus Flat, Lake Natoma

Nimbus Flat lies along the shores of Lake Natoma, a stretch of the American River formed by Nimbus Dam. Nimbus Flat has a swimmable beach and is a popular area for kayaks and paddle boards. There are picnic tables and plenty of shade for warm (ok hot!) Sacramento afternoons. 

Sac State Aquatic Center, Lake Natoma

Adjacent to Nimbus Flat is the Sac State Aquatic Center, perhaps known best for its watersports and equipment rentals. But they also have a large beach area that can be reserved in advance. It’s an especially good choice for large parties; there are barbecues, picnic tables, and shade tents, and rentals include a designated lifeguard. 

Lake Berryessa, Yolo/Napa Counties

One of the largest lakes in California, Lake Berryessa straddles the Yolo County line near the town of Winters. On the western side, the Oak Shores Day Use Area has numerous picnic sites complete with tables and barbecue grills. There’s easy access to the water, ideal for swimming, paddling, fishing or boating. 

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Sand Cove Park, American River

This secluded spot in the Natomas neighborhood of Sacramento is a great place to kick back with a riverside picnic. There are no facilities here, but you can bring your own popup tent, watch the kids play in the sand, and cool off with a dip in the water.

Rollins Lake, Colfax

Popular for camping and boating, Rollins Lake is a scenic reservoir located between Grass Valley and Colfax. There’s a day use area at Orchard Springs Campground with sandy beaches that are perfect for waterside picnics. There’s also a boat launch and store nearby.

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Sly Park Recreation Area, Jenkinson Lake

More commonly known as Sly Park Lake, this shaded mountain lake in Pollock Pines has everything you need for summer recreation: campgrounds, hiking trails, boating, and fishing. On shore, they have first-come, first-served picnic areas complete with picnic tables and grills. You can also bring your own BBQ. 

With plenty of recreational opportunities within the Sacramento area, there’s little need to go much further afield this summer to get your beach fix. In fact, there’s nothing better than relaxing by a lake or river to keep cool when the weather warms up. 

Category Auburn, Davis, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Neighborhood Guides, Placerville, Roseville, Sacramento

Lyon Real Estate

With the Lyon Local blog, Lyon strives to deliver the most valuable information to both home buyers and sellers while highlighting our favorite local gems that make Sacramento the best place to live in California.