Enjoying a beer while BBQing in a San Diego park

The Best BBQ Parks in San Diego

The best parks in San Diego for BBQ

San Diego is full of great parks for BBQing. In fact, there are so many that people new to the area sometimes don’t know where to start. We asked a  few of our team members where they like to go when it’s time to break out the grill and picked a few of our favorites to share.

1. Kate O’Sessions Park – Pacific Beach

Kate O'Session Park in Pacific Beach, San Diego is great for BBQ

This is a 79-acre Park that offers residents and tourists some of the most beautiful and breathtaking views of San Diego! It is also a perfect location for picnics, kite flying, family BBQs, ultimate Frisbee and other outdoor activities. Heck, even bring your dog with you to run around, but you may have to keep him leashed or around your picnic area and don’t forget to bring dog bags to pick up the you know what!

2. Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a great place to barbecue


The place to set up the picnic is by the Lily Pond with its floating pink-and-white lotus flowers, the green lawns on either side of the Balboa Park Botanical Gardens are a good place to sit and admire the structure’s molded redwood dome. The lawns are among the few areas in the park where alcohol can be legally consumed and you can visit the Botanical Gardens for free! If you are a resident of San Diego you are allowed to visit these museums for FREE, it’s called Resident Free Tuesdays.

3. Miramar Overlook Park- Scripps Ranch

Miramar Overlook Park in Scripps Ranch, northern San diego

Nice piece of playground equipment, but the park itself is very small. There are covered picnic tables and a short path and that is about it. As the name suggests, a great view of Lake Miramar can be found and on very clear days you can see downtown San Diego and Tijuana as well. There is a sand area, shady areas, parking, bike paths, picnic tables, and bathrooms.

4. Ellen Browning Scripps Park- La Jolla Cove

Ellen Browning Scripps Park- La Jolla Cove

Alcohol is still allowed in Ellen Browning Scripps Park from noon to 8 p.m.

If any park shows the good life in San Diego, Ellen Browning Scripps Park may very well be it. Located in La Jolla, overlooking La Jolla Cove, this patch of grass is the most photographed spot in San Diego. With the surf and sand below, ocean breezes above, and the scenic beauty all around, this picnic spot is ideal to just set out a blanket and soak in the scenery. Usually crowded especially on weekends, it’s a great place to people watch.

5. Presidio Park

Presidio Park, north of Old Town San Diego

Presidio Park, above Old Town, has some wonderful, hilly, grassy areas where you can throw down a blanket and enjoy the solitude. But there’s one great little area that’s perfect for picnics, at the top of the winding road leading into the park. Called the Arbor, it’s a little triangle slice of grass just before you head into the Mission Hills neighborhood. A few picnic tables are about the only amenities, but it’s such a peaceful area that you can’t help but feel stress free after having a picnic here.

6. Rohr Park – Bonita

Rohr Park in Bonita with playground equipment

Rohr Park is one of those large, recreational parks with all the amenities: picnic areas, walking trails, playgrounds, softball fields and a miniature railroad. Located in Bonita, next to the Chula Vista Golf Course, Rohr Park is a popular picnic site. If you’re having a large gathering, or need a facility that has lots of recreational space, Rohr Park is a great choice.

7.  Chollas Lake – Oak Park

Chollas Lake – Oak Park. A lesser known BBQ park in San Diego

Unless you live in the surrounding neighborhoods around Oak Park, you probably don’t know about Chollas Lake Park. This idyllic spot is in the middle of the city’s urban core it’s a great place for a family picnic. The 16-acre lake, surrounded by groves of eucalyptus trees, is especially for kids: the fishing is free for kids under 15, there are playground areas, a basketball court, hiking trails, and an .8-mile walking path around the lake. Picnic tables and barbecues are scattered all around the lake, making for a perfect spot for an all-day picnic.

8.  Tidelands Park – Coronado

Tidelands Park in Coronado, CA

The largest San Diego Bay park, Tidelands Park, offers a small beach, recreational fields, picnic areas and plenty of open space for a variety of outdoor activities. A scenic bike path extends from the Silver Strand to the Old Ferry Landing. Located just at the foot of the Coronado Bay Bridge, the park offers a large grassy area for picnics and games, and there’s even a small beach for a dip into the warm San Diego Bay.

9.  Model Yacht Pond – Mission Bay Park

Model Yacht Pond on Vacation Isle in Mission Bay Park is a great place to barbeque

The entire Mission Bay Park is ideal for picnics, but if you’re looking for an out-of-the-way spot in the middle of all the recreation going on, the area around the Model Yacht Pond is your place. Located on Vacation Isle near the Paradise Point Resort, this usually quiet spot is nice for just chilling, reading a book, and enjoying the sun. The added bonus is the model yacht pond, where hobbyists race their sail and powered model boats. Lots of grass, trees, picnic tables, and beach access – just a nice spot.

10. Pioneer Park – Mission Hills

Pioneer Park – Mission Hills is a great place for a large grilling party

If you’re looking for a nice, neighborhood park, then Pioneer Park is where you want to have your picnic. Also known as Mission Hills Park, this clean grassy spot goes back to the 1800’s. Located in the lovely neighborhood of Mission Hills, Pioneer Park is also known for one unique characteristic: it is also the location of one of the first cemeteries in San Diego, hence the “pioneers.” A playground area makes it great for families.

Alcohol Policies for Parks in San Diego

Enjoying a beer at a park in San Diego that allows alcohol

Which Parks in San Diego Don’t Allow Alcohol?

All city beaches and bays in City Council Districts 1 and 2, along the coast from Point Loma to the Del Mar city limits. Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and associated piers, boardwalks and sea walls are affected, as well as the beaches and shoreline of La Jolla. Mission Bay Park (includes Fiesta Island, Robb Field and Dusty Rhodes Park in Ocean Beach), Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, Tourmaline Surfing Park and all coastal parks south of Tourmaline no longer allow alcohol.

Which Parks in San Diego Allow Alcohol?

Ellen Browning Scripps Park: from 12pm-8 p.m.

Calumet Park

Hermosa Terrace Park

La Jolla Strand Park

Nicholson’s Point Park

Windansea Park

Did We Miss Your Favorite Park in San Diego for Grilling?

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