Bay Area Barbecue Grills - Mount Diablo - Fort Miley - Battery Wallace


BBQ with a View

Recipe for a banner October afternoon: combine fall weather with panoramic views, add friends and family, sift out the crowds, and fire up the grill. Voila! The perfect October feast.  

BBQ Mount Diablo Round Top Picnic Grill

Devil May Care

Prime picnic and barbecue spots speckle Summit Road on Mount Diablo; The Pines, Sunset, and Blue Oak are three favorites. But the sweetest spot of all has just one bench and one grill, under one live oak, with one gorgeous view of Livermore Valley and the distant Oakland Hills. This is Toyon's Round Top picnic spot, and the view from 2,600 feet adds some extra seasoning to the mix. (Most motorists blow right on by this delicious destination on their way to the summit.) Need a little more room? Lookout Point has two barbecue spots, one of which has big southern views. Wherever you light your fire on Diablo, at this time of year, grillers are rare and the temperatures are usually just right. Hot dog!

Look for the mentioned picnic spots on Summit Rd. just after its junction with North Gate Rd. To reach Round Top, look for the Toyon picnic sign (after The Pines); make an immediate left after entering. There is a $10 entrance fee. Dog-friendly!

Fort Miley San Francisco Barbecue Grill

Grill of Your Dreams

Here's a little piece of grilling heaven—right in the city. Perched on a grassy expanse nearly the size of a soccer field, Fort Miley is a geographic slice of gastronomic delight hidden behind Lands End. To reach its three picnic tables, and solo grill, make a short climb up a road through a dense forest, then emerge onto a private plateau with giant views of Ocean Beach all the way down Sloat Boulevard. This is a truly secluded playground, so bring the bocce, the burgers, and your best suds and buds. While there, explore the WWII military structures and stroll north up a little path that leads to a fresh, stellar view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Fort Miley grill is often available for walk-ins, especially on weekdays. Or you can reserve the space through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (details below). We're actually a little sorry to give such a sweet spot away. Maybe we can keep this secret just between us?

ALTERNATIVE: If Fort Miley is booked, a good nearby alternative is China Beach.

Park at the Fort Miley parking lot at Point Lobos Ave. and 48 Ave. (map) Look for the West Fort Miley picnic area sign on the right side. Walk up the road five minutes to the picnic spot. Reserve the picnic area for $50; get more info by calling 415-561-4374. Or use it first-come, first-served for no fee. Dog-friendly!

Marin Headlands Battery Wallace Barbecue Grill

Full Frontal

High in the hills of the Marin Headlands, well past the throngs of tourists along Conzelman Drive, Battery Wallace picnic area is a crown jewel of the region. Located close to the Point Bonita Lighthouse, the four tables and grills in this wide-open spot overlook the Golden Gate Bridge, with sea-to-sky views of the Pacific, San Francisco in the background, and beach coves sculpting the coastal landscape. Battery Wallace is exposed, so the best time to 'cue it up is…now! Park your buns here for a few hours or a full day. Ladies and gentlemen, start your briquettes!

From Hwy. 101 take Alexander Ave. exit. Turn left on the Marin Headlands Tunnel Route (aka Bunker Rd.). Follow Bunker Rd. nearly to the end; make a left on Field Rd. going up to the Visitor Center. Go past the Nike Site and make your first left. This takes you to one-way Conzelman Rd., where you'll turn right and reach Battery Wallace. Click here for a PDF map of the area. No dogs.

Your Timing Is Perfect

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