7 Picnic Spots Perfect for Takeout Meals in Mammoth Lakes

When the weather is warm enough (or if you’re willing to bundle up on a chilly night) an outdoor picnic is the perfect way to connect and enjoy a meal and maybe even a stellar sunset with family and friends after a day out adventuring.

Grab takeout from your favorite local restaurant (nearly every restaurant in town offers takeout, especially with limited seating due to COVID-19) and a couple of crowlers or to-go cocktails and post up at one of these picnic spots in Mammoth Lakes.

BEFORE YOU VISIT: The town of Mammoth Lakes and its businesses are doing their part to keep guests, workers and the local community safe. Our community also asks that guests do their part to keep our community safe in return by adhering to all travel and recreation guidelines as you begin to return to your favorite wild places in Mammoth Lakes. 

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Scenic Picnic Spots in Mammoth Lakes

Minaret Vista

The ever-popular Minaret Vista is a year-round favorite for picnics. (Seriously, you can even have a winter picnic here on a guided snowcat tour!) But warmer months are prime time for being able to stay out late enough to catch the sunset over a picnic dinner and drinks. With views of the classic Mammoth Lakes skyline—Mammoth Mountain, the Minarets, Ritter and Banner peaks—Minaret Vista is the kind of place you’ll want to return to on every trip to Mammoth Lakes.

READ MORE: 8 Ways to Leave No Trace in the Mountains

The vista is pretty popular, so plan to head up with your dinner on the early end to grab a picnic table. Or since you can see the view from the parking area, enjoy a tailgate picnic instead.

Sherwins Vista on the Town Loop

For a less crowded option, head to the Town Loop. A short walk or bike ride along the paved multi-use path will bring you to Sherwins Vista. From the vista, you can see the full expanse of the Sherwins, plus the Mammoth Crest, Mammoth Mountain and Ritter and Banner peaks. The vista has one picnic table, but there are also plenty of benches perfectly placed for scenic views as well. 

Anywhere in the Mammoth Lakes Basin

The Mammoth Lakes Basin is packed with lakeside spots perfect for bringing your takeout dinner to enjoy on the shore. There are picnic tables at a number of outlooks throughout the basin. Or bring a picnic blanket to enjoy your meal on the shore of one of the lakes. If you’re headed up to the Mammoth Lakes Basin with lunch or an early dinner, you could even rent kayaks, a paddleboard or a boat to have your meal on the water.

READ MORE: How to Leave No Trace When Recreating Near Water


Parks with Picnic Areas in Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Creek Park

Mammoth Creek Park is an easy-access picnic option right in town. You can even walk to Mammoth Creek Park from restaurants on Old Mammoth Road. The main park has picnic tables, but you can also wander along the creek toward the Hayden Cabin and find picnic tables tucked in the trees or shady spots along the shore of the creek where you can spread out.

Shady Rest Park

Shady Rest Park, near Old Shady Rest and New Shady Rest campgrounds, has picnic tables and a shaded pavilion for outdoor dining. While it’s a bit more of a walk from town compared to Mammoth Creek Park, Shady Rest has more room to spread out from other groups, with plenty of grassy areas for families to play. There is also plenty of parking if you choose to drive.

READ MORE: How to Leave No Trace Around Town


Scenic Picnic Spots Just Outside of Mammoth Lakes

Convict Lake

Just south of town, Convict Lake is another great option for dining outside when you order takeout in Mammoth Lakes. Whether you enjoy a sunny afternoon on the shore of the lake or catch the last light on the colorful slopes of Laurel Mountain on the backside of the lake, a picnic at Convict Lake never disappoints.

Hot Creek Geologic Site

Hot Creek Geologic Site is also just south of Mammoth Lakes close to the Mammoth Yosemite Airport. Walk along the paved path near the geologic site for a closer look at this unique geothermal creek. And then have your dinner while taking in the views from the main parking area.

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