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Favorite Places to Picnic in the West

Big views, stunning sunsets, and spontaneous live music? Alfresco dining never tasted so good.

Skidmore Bluffs in Portland.

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"I love eating lunch on top of Marys Peak, outside Corvallis, Oregon, because it's incredible in any kind of weather. When it's clear, you can see forever. When it's foggy, it's like being in another world." —Rich Sandler

"When friends visit Boise from out of town, we take them to our favorite picnic spot: an outdoor table at the World Center for Birds of Prey. It's amazing to watch the birds stretch their wings and fly from roost to roost. We call it ‘lunch with the condors.' " —Beth Landis

"If you're looking for A-plus views and plenty of shade trees, I'd recommend heading to Council Crest Park in Portland. After all, where else can you picnic within sight of Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Hood?" —Lara Kierlin

"When I was growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, our family and neighbors loved going to Mount Madonna County Park in Watsonville, California. We would spend the day hiking the trails, stopping to eat along the peak's ridgeline overlooking Monterey Bay to the west." —Mike Ritchie

"Cradled between Broken Top and Mount Bachelor in central Oregon, Sparks Lake has spectacular scenery. We'll take our kayaks and paddle to a rocky outcrop for an evening picnic. Once the sun goes down, we float on the lake beSkidmore Bluffs in PortlandSkidmore Bluffs in Portlanneath the starry sky. Magical is an understatement." —Damian Fagan

"Tomales Bay Oyster Company in Northern California has the best oysters in the world! We'll stop by with a loaded basket, pick up a bag of oysters, then head to Marconi State Historic Park for an alfresco lunch. With wooded hills and views of the bay, it's paradise." —Andy Halvorsen

Editors' Pick: Looking west from the Skidmore Bluffs in Portland, you can see boats bobbing on the Willamette, with the vast green expanse of Forest Park in the background. If you're lucky, the soft strumming of a nearby guitar will provide the sound track.