Top 10 Memorial Day Weekend picnic spots
Grab the family and celebrate the long weekend at these choice locations throughout the West
Family time: Hop on the historic Balboa Island Ferry to the Balboa Peninsula where you'll find Fun Zone. With a handful of carnival rides like a ferris wheel, bumper cars, and a carousel, as well as an arcade and laser tag, kids will stay entertained for hours. Newport's gorgeous beaches are also perfect for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. Or take a family bike ride along the oceanfront boardwalk.
Make it a weekend: Stay in one of Balboa's quaint hotels like the Balboa Inn, or hang with nature at one of the island's RV camping sites.
Family time: Kids are sure to love a tour on Time Bandit, a 1/3-scale replica of a Spanish galleon pirate ship. There's also the Alpine water slide, with unexpected twists and turns, and the zoo, Moonridge Animal Park. For older visitors, challenge yourself with one of the park's hiking trails. They range in difficulty and anywhere from 1 mile to 15 miles.
Family time: The Eldorado Springs Pool, which is fed by fresh spring water and heated naturally, is a perfect place to take the kids. Cruise down the old metal slide, sunbathe on elevated decks, or bring your picnic to tables overlooking South Boulder Creek. Afterward, walk it off on the Doudy Draw Trail--a dog-friendly 2.5 mile trail out and back.
Make it a weekend: Stay at the historic Hotel Boulderado in nearby Boulder, where you'll experience luxury and nostalgia.
Family time: Spend quality (and educational) time together at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Kids are sure to love the Mordecai Children's Garden where they can build forts, learn about plants and insects, and play in the stream. You'll also get a backstage look at horticulturists at work.
Make it a weekend: Relax at the chic and sophisticated Magnolia Hotel Denver. Equipped with a 24-hour fitness center, spa, and a Starbucks inside, you'll feel pampered after a long day of exploring.
Lay out your blanket: With iconic views of the San Francisco Bay, Crissy Field's shoreline provides beaches and picnic tables perfect for enjoying a meal together. Drop in the Warming Hut Café--an old army shed turned restaurant and bookstore--for delicious food and a refuge from the Golden Gate winds.
Family time: Although the wind can be bothersome at times, it can be a great opportunity at Crissy Field for kids to try their hands at kite flying. You can also legally fish or crab without a license at Torpedo Wharf at the west end. Don't miss the nearby Exploratorium science and art museum, with hudreds of explore-yourself-exhibits.
Make it a weekend: Stay in San Francisco's newest boutique hotel, Hotel des Arts, just 10 minutes away from Crissy Field. It's an interactive experience, as the hotel displays the contemporary work of local artists.
Family time: The museum at the heart of Turtle Bay features interesting, interactive exhibits and special exhibition galleries with play areas for the kids. Visit the Botanical Gardens and explore a climate display garden, medicinal garden, and a children's garden. And be sure to check out the Sundial bridge, that crosses the Sacramento River, and marvel at both its techinical and functional beauty.
Make it a weekend: Stay at the quaint Bridgehouse Bed & Breakfast for a unique experience. Only 5 minutes away from the park, you can explore all day, then come home to spacious rooms with private baths.
Family time: Little ones are sure to love the 300-foot interactive fountain with a playground of waterway arches at Lake Union, located just a little ways from the model boat pond. Give the family a history lesson with the historic ships wharf, featuring several vessels that have been awarded National Landmark Status.
Make it a weekend: Relax and enjoy the views at the Silver Cloud Inn on the south end of Lake Union. You'll receive a complimentary breakfast every morning and convenient shuttles to nearby downtown.
Family time: Forest Park lets you feel surrounded by wilderness while in a major city. Let the family explore various trails and bike paths, ranging from easy to strenuous, so even the kids have something they can manage.
Make it a weekend: Treat yourself to luxury after all day in the park at The Govenor Hotel. Conveniently located in downtown Portland near shops and restaurants, the hotel also offers complimentary wireless Internet access.
Family time: Discover the newly restored East Wetlands marshland and cotton woods on a 3-mile loop hike starting from the sandy shores of Gateway. Or, take the kids to nearby West Wetlands Park, where they can explore Hummingbird Garden and play on the castle-themed playground. For the older ones, try a segway tour through Yuma's historic landmarks.
Make it a weekend: Kick your feet up at the Best Western Coranado Motor Hotel, where you'll find gorgeous bougainvillea, native to the Southwest.
Family time: Paddle a kayak down the relaxing Rio Grande or take a bike ride along the Paseo del Bosque 16-mile trail. Give the kids a history lesson on a New Mexico Jeep Tour through private lands behind the Sandia Mountains and old abandoned ghost towns.
Make it a weekend: Rest in high-ceilinged, desert-themed rooms at the Hotel Parq Central. Located east of downtown, you can aslo opt for a private cottage with a walk-out patio.