Did you get out to the Marin Headlands last week, the weather here has been epic. It’s such a funny spot over there, someplace that we stare at constantly from the city but rarely ever venture to and really worth exploring a bit. I had the opportunity to work there for a year, and although it can be a bit of a drive it was by far one of the most amazing places to work and spend some time. I would strongly encourage you to take some time and visit, even on a cloudy day.
This week’s adventure is a little more relaxed. It’s been far too long since we’ve done this trip, but I’m excited to go try it again. Years ago the kids and I took a picnic to the annual Kite Festival (which took place back in July) a few years back and had a wonderful day. Admittedly we have only seen part of the marina, but after doing a bit of research there seems to be quite a bit more to check out. Plus the weather is finally going to cool down a little, yet it should still be a pretty nice weekend out.
We find ourselves going to the Berkeley Marina after a quick stop on 4th Street to pick up some extra goodies for our picnic. The marina is just a bit north of the Bay Bridge and has spectacular views, a nice open space (but also not a lot of shade), and is a good spot to try and get a kite up in the air. Should be a nice relaxing day out with some fun options.
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Chief Happiness Officer at kiddiewalks.com
1-2-3 Things — Visit the Berkeley Marina
QUICK INSPIRATION FOR A DAY OUT WITH THE KIDS AROUND THE SF BAY AREA
Pack some picnic basics and head over to 4th street in Berkeley to pick up a couple of tasty treats to enhance your lunch
Drive over to the Berkley Marina, throw down a picnic blanket and try to get a kite in the air
Stop off at the Berkeley Adventure Playground
4TH STREET IN BERKELEY
This is a lovely little shopping district not far from the Marina, just opposite it over the I-80 freeway. You can find metered street parking here and have a nice little walk around, maybe grab a coffee if you got an early start. This is a good opportunity to pick up some extra’s for your picnic, or if you are really going at the last minute - the picnic itself. And if you need a picnic blanket, REI is just north of here off Gillman and you can probably find something there.
We loved stopping in at The Pasta Shop to pick up some cold drinks and charcuterie. There are a lot of cool little shops here, it’s worth a quick stop on your way to the Marina, or even on your way out to get a tasty treat before the ride back home.
PICNIC AT THE BERKELEY MARINA
It’s quite common to find people flying kites out here, you get a good breeze on a regular basis. There is also a wonderful view of the city here too. A lot of people tend to overlook this spot as there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on west of the freeway. Parking seems to be pretty easy as long as there isn’t some giant event going on. However as with anywhere near the water on a nice day, you should try and get there early to find good parking.
The Municipal Pier seems to be closed now because of structural concerns, no word on a re-opening date.
Having only recently discovered this place, we are really curious to check it out. Seems like it can get pretty crowded on weekends, and unlike other playgrounds you need to stay engaged with your kids while they visit (especially the younger ones). Don’t just check out on your mobile device, go play with the kids, help others out. They are open weekends, and close on rainy days. Entrance seems to be free, but this fall they plan to start charging a small entrance fee. Groups should make reservations and do have to pay an entrance, check the website for details. There is a waiver to fill out when you enter. Check the website for more details and warnings for kids under 7.
If you don’t have a kite, stop by Highline Kites over by Cesar Chaves Park and see if you can pick something up. http://www.highlinekites.com/
Unfortunately this isn’t a dollar day weekend, but Golden Gate Fields is just up the road. On selected Sunday’s during racing season your whole family can have a pretty fun day out. Racing and gambling might seem more like an adult activity, but it’s actually a fun day out with the kids. You get to go watch the horses parade around before the race, let the kids pick one and go place a $2 bet, then go cheer for it as it races around the track. It’s pretty exciting and on dollar day’s it’s pretty affordable.