Berkeley, California, is known for being a top destination for high school grads and college students who are interested in studying at the University of California, Berkeley. But, there’s more to the city than college parties, sorority gatherings, and campus tours.
For those who love the water, the Berkeley Marina is a great place to spend your time while visiting the city.
With over 100 acres of park space, you have endless opportunities to picnic with family, spend time walking your dog on the 7-acre, off-leash dog area, enjoy learning about the area in the Shorebird Park Nature Center, see countless birds during bird-watching season, or soak up the sun while on a boat ride or by laying out in the beautiful Berkeley weather. But the fun doesn’t stop there.
Berkeley Marina – Adventure Playground
Noted in National Geographic as one of the country’s best playgrounds, Adventure Playground is a great place to bring children who are not worried about getting down and dirty with hand painting, playing in the dirt, or soaring through the skyline on a zip line.
One of the most popular attractions that Adventure Playground offers is a hand-made climbing structure that uses repurposed materials and scrap lumber that can be enjoyed by the public all year.
With the Berkeley weather allowing for year-round opportunities for fun in the sun and the Berkeley Marina boasting endless opportunities for family-friendly fun, it’s no wonder Berkeley is recognized not only as a great place to raise a family, but also as a popular tourist destination.
Berkeley Marina – Water Activities
When the Berkeley weather cooperates, it’s hard not to want to spend a day on the water and with so many options, it’s easier than ever to enjoy kayaking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), or canoeing.
Water activities are a great way to get your daily dose of exercise without going indoors to a gym. While there are many psychological and physical benefits of being on the water, here are the top 5 reasons you should consider spending a day paddling in the bay.
Builds Stamina – For runners or other athletes who may be recovering from an injury and can’t get to the gym or into their normal workout routines just yet, leisurely paddling provides an alternative.
Core Strength Workout – Stand up paddleboards are exactly as their name suggests; you stand up and paddle yourself to where you want to go. Whether standing on a board or sitting in a canoe or kayak, you are using your core muscle strength to get you from point A to point B. Not only is your core getting a workout, but your arms, shoulders, back, and neck muscles are as well.
Joint Stability – As you maneuver your board, canoe or kayak, you’re having to use your feet and legs for stability, which resembles the way a physical therapist would have you rebuild joint stability after you have an injury in your feet, lower legs, or knees.
Vitamin D – Getting vitamin D is crucial to our bone strength, and the best way to get that is by spending 10 or more minutes in the sun.
Stress Reduction – Being on the water and immersing yourself in nature provides a natural stress reduction that benefits your mental well-being.
There are a number of rental shops in Berkeley for locals and tourists who are wanting to get outdoors and enjoy the water. You can also take lessons to learn more about SUP, and all of the equipment is provided to you. From sailing adventures to rentals, here are a few of the more popular places to contact:
Berkeley Marina – Restaurants/Shopping
When most people think of spending a day at the marina, they typically think of sun tanning, boating, kayaking, or even jet skiing, but the Berkeley Marina allows for non-water involvement activities as well – including great dining options. So, regardless of what age you are or what the Berkeley weather decides to do, there’s fun for everyone!
Hana Japan – Enjoy a delicious teppanyaki steak or seafood at the Hana Japan restaurant conveniently located right off the Berkeley Marina.
Skates on the Bay – If you’re looking for fresh seafood on the bay, Skates on the Bay is where you need to go. It offers quick options or those who stop by after work and want something on the fly, and fresh shellfish and sushi meals for those who have more time to enjoy a sit-down lunch or dinner.
Bay Grille and Bar – Located in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Bay Grille and Bar gives those who are staying with them a chance to enjoy views of the bay while eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant openly welcomes everyone, so off-property guests can dine here as well. When the Berkeley weather offers cloudless skies, you can enjoy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline during your meal.
Highline Kites – While the Berkeley Kite Festival only happens once a year, Highline Kites knew others would enjoy the fun and magic of year-round kite flying. Highline Kites offers locals and those who are visiting a chance to purchase various shapes, sizes, and styles of kites to fly along the marina.
Highline Kites also offers free kite-creation classes for those who are into crafts and DIY projects or anyone who just wants to have a fun, kite-making experience with their friends and family.
Not interested in spending the day on the marina? No problem – Berkeley has a solution. Fourth Street is a shy two-block walk from the marina and has tons of great shopping, hotels, cafes and restaurants. The most notable shopping spots include:
- Amazon 4-Star Store – They do exist! While there are just a small handful of Amazon 4-Star Stores, Berkeley is fortunate to have one of these on Fourth Street. Find an array of in-store products that receive 4-stars by consumers on Amazon.com.
- Apple – Another popular shopping spot is the Apple Store located on Fourth Street. If you forgot your iPad at home or find yourself with a broken iPhone charger, you can easily grab one while you’re vacationing in the area.
- Makeup – For those of you who tend to forget makeup products or run out and don’t have a spare, Sephora, MAC, and Bare Minerals are all waiting for your entry.
- Clothing – It never fails that somehow, during your travels you lost your favorite shirt, forgot your swimsuit, or need an extra summer dress or pair of shorts. That’s where Anthropologie, Five Little Monkeys, Convert, or Topdrawer come in handy. Browse through various clothing styles and budget choices in any of the clothing shops on Fourth Street.
Trails & Parks: Berkeley, California
Aside from Berkeley being a great place to visit or to raise a family, for those looking to travel to the city and enjoy outdoor adventure, there are three main parks and trails for families and singles to enjoy:
- Cesar Chavez Park – This park is a great year-round destination. With over 90 acres of land, this park boasts endless opportunities for adventure. Grab your baskets and blankets and head over to one of the many picnic areas and enjoy a fun day in the sun with friends, family, or loved ones.
Are picnics not your thing? No worries! Grab your hiking boots and get ready for a fun adventure on a 1.25-mile trek on the Dorothy Stegman Trail. Better yet, grab your fur family and bring them out for a day of leash-free play in one of the many designated leash-free pet areas. Cesar Chavez Park, is also home to Berkeley Kite Festival held in Late July.
Cesar Chavez Park is a great place to bring your entire family and with the Berkeley weather averaging in the mid-70s for most of the year, it’s hard to pass up free, year-long activities that the entire family can enjoy.
- Spinnaker Circle Vista Point – Something you may not realize about Berkeley is how close to San Francisco it is. The proximity will soon be appreciated, however, as soon as you visit Spinnaker Circle Vista Point and see the gorgeous panoramic city views, San Francisco skyline, Angel Island, and Mount Tam.
- Bay Trail – This historical trail has a lot to offer the people of Berkeley, California. This peaceful biking and walking path travels through Berkeley and around the San Francisco Bay with plans to have the project completed with a grand total of 500 miles through 47 cities.
Even though the trail is still in the works, it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies while being built. Instead, the trail is being formed one mile at a time and funded through various state and city grants. For those who are interested in helping with the development of the trail, check the bay trail website for info on how to help.
Today, the completed portion of the Bay Trail focuses on building awareness for restoration efforts, nature perseverance, and public access to many shorelines around the San Francisco and San Pablo Bay perimeter.
Tilden Park, Berkeley – Things to do!
When Berkeley weather is cool, the best way to escape into the outdoors is by going to Tilden Park.
Tilden Park offers an array of options for singles or families who want to spend a day at Tilden Park or camp for an overnight excursion. Activities you can do while in Tilden Park include visiting the botanic gardens, swimming, camping, fishing, golfing, hiking, biking, and having picnics.
The Botanic Gardens at Tilden Park – A beautiful, must-see place while you are at Tilden Park is the Botanic Gardens that are filled with various California plants and flowers.
Fishing – Fishing is a great activity for people of all ages. Teach your young children what it’s like to hook a worm, cast their fishing pole, or to cook their freshly caught fish from Lake Anza. Fishing is also a great way to skip out on buying groceries yet still enjoy a fresh meal.
Merry-Go-Round – Watch the sunset with your kids while riding one of the many fun animals on the merry-go-round.
Fur-Family Friendly – Tilden Park is an animal-friendly park, so there’s no need to keep your fur-family at home while you enjoy the many activities that Tilden Park offers. Take them for a swim or let them enjoy some free time in the many off-leash dog areas.
Golfing – The 6,294-yard Berkeley Golf Course at Tilden Park is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. Designed by the famous William Park Bell Jr., the Berkeley Golf Course is filled with lush greens, trees, and a natural park-like setting that helps you feel like you are a million miles away from civilization.
Tilden Park Camping
With so many great opportunities to make memories and enjoy the outdoors that Berkeley, California, has to offer, you can find various accommodation options in Tilden Park. Here are some of the prices to stay at Tilden Park and information on how you to make a reservation:
For those who like to camp in tents, prices start around $30 per night for those who do not wish to have any extra hookups. If you prefer to stay around other campers and have the opportunity to be close to an electrical hookup, prices start around $40 per night. For an additional $8 charge, you can reserve a spot in advance by calling 1-888-327-2757.
RVs are welcome at Tilden Park and spots come with access to water hookups, sewer, and electrical hookups with prices starting at $40 per night. Like tent camping, you can reserve your spot for $8 with a 5-day notice by calling 1-888-327-2757.
Groups of over 50 are also welcome to tent or RV camp at Tilden Park. These groups will need to call in advance to reserve spots and also pay a group deposit. For more information on group camping, contact the Regional Park District reservations center.
For long-term comfort, renting a cabin may be a better option than a tent. Cabin rates start at $100 per night and have a minimum 2-night stay between April and October with a 3-night stay requirement on Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends.
Berkely Kite Festival
Started back in 1986, the Berkeley Kite Festival is a free fun packed family kite festival held annually at Cesar E. Chavez Park at the northern end of the Berkeley Marina, San Francisco Bay.
This event is summer spectacular using held in late July. The perfect place for a young family, with plenty to do and a real sense of magic in the air. Activities include bounce houses, pony rides, face painting and even a petting zoo!
For more info, check out BEST U.S Kite Festivals .
With the Berkeley weather averaging temperatures in the 70s all year round, and an array of fun activities that people of all ages can enjoy, it’s no wonder this is a popular destination for tourists, retirees, and college grads.
If you’re planning your next trip and are interested in visiting California, be sure to add Berkeley to your list of places to go!
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