Bay Area Parks

girl eating a picnic lunchThe Bay Area is fortunate to have a wealth of parks ranging from local playground parks to regional, undeveloped open spaces. What you look for in a park really depends on the ages and interests of your children.

In general, National and State parks tend to focus on natural features (plants, wildlife, and geology) or the historical significance of the park.

County and City parks are more likely to have facilities designed specifically for family fun, including playgrounds, paved walking paths, boat rentals, train rides, and carousels.

The following parks have several activities in one convenient location. Plan to spend most of the day and bring some extra spending money for the attractions.

Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
Art museums, aquarium, planetarium, arboretum, tea garden, play grounds, boat rentals, and even buffaloes! Main roads closed to auto traffic on Sundays to accomodate bicycling and skating.

Kelley Park – San Jose
Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, Historic Park, Japanese Friendship Garden, picnic areas, trains rides on some weekends.

Tilden Park – Berkeley
Picnic areas, pony rides, carousel, botanical garden, and swimming.

Vasona Park – Los Gatos
Picnic areas, playgrounds, boat rentals, and paved bicycle paths. Adjacent to Oak Meadow Park with train ride and carousel.

Listed below are other parks in the San Francisco Bay Area:

National Parks
Eugene O’Neil National Historic Site – Danville
Point Reyes National Seashore – Inverness
Golden Gate National Recreation Area – Marin
John Muir National Historic Site – Martinez
Muir Woods National Monument - Mill Valley
Alcatraz Island – San Francisco
Fort Point – San Franciso
Presidio Trust – San Francisco
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park & Historic Ships – San Francisco

State Parks
Forest of Nisene Marks – Aptos
Benicia State Recreation Area – Benicia
Big Basin State Park – Boulder Creek
San Bruno Mountain State Park - Brisbane
Bethany Reservoir State Recreation Area – Byron
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park – Calistoga
Mt. Diablo State Park – Clayton
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park – Felton
Armstrong Redwoods State Park – Guerneville
Austin Creek State Recreation Area – Guerneville
Salt Point State Park - Guerneville
Burleigh H. Murray Park – Half Moon Bay
Tomales Bay State Park – Inverness
Fort Ross State Historic Park – Jenner
Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve – Jenner
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park – Kenwood
Portola Redwoods State Park – La Honda
Carneige State Vehicle Recreation Area – Livermore
Lake Del Valle – Livermore
Castle Rock State Park – Los Gatos
Mt. Tamalpais State Park – Mill Valley
Point Montara State Park – Montaro
Henry W. Coe State Park – Morgan Hill
East Shore State Park – Oakland
Samuel P. Taylor State Park – Olema
Butano State Park – Pescadero
Angel Island State Park – San Francisco
Candlestick Point Recreation Area – San Francisco
China Camp State Park – San Rafael
Wilder Ranch State Park – Santa Cruz
Annadel State Park – Santa Rosa
All California State Parks
Virtual Parks Photo Gallery

State Beaches
Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach – Alameda
Sonoma Coast State Beach – Bodega Bay
New Brighton State Beach – Capitola
Half Moon Bay State Beach – Half Moon Bay
Gray Whale Cove State Beach – Montara
Montara State Beach – Montara
Pescadero State Beach – Montara
Pacifica State Beach- Pacifica
Pomponio State Beach – Pacifica
Ano Nuevo Reserve – Pescadero
Bean Hollow State Beach – Pescadero
Seacliff State Beach – Rio Del Mar
San Gregorio State Beach – San Gregorio
Lighthouse Field State Beach – Santa Cruz
Natural Bridges State Beach – Santa Cruz
Twin Lakes State Beach – Santa Cruz
Manresa State Beach – Watsonville
Sunset State Beach – Watsonville

State Historic Parks
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park- Benicia
Jack London State Historic Park – Glen Ellen
Marconi Conference Center State Historic Park – Marshall
Olompali State Historic Park – Novato
Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park – Petaluma
Pigeon Point Lighthouse State Historic Park – Pescadero
Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park – St. Helena
Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park – Santa Cruz
Sonoma State Historic Park – Sonoma

Regional Parks
East Bay Regional Park District
Hayward Area Park District
San Jose Regional Parks
Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness

County Parks
Alameda County – see East Bay Regional Park District
Contra Costa County – see East Bay Regional Park District
Marin County
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Santa Cruz County
Solano County
Sonoma County

Open Space
Bay Area Open Space Council

Trails
San Francisco Bay Trail
Iron Horse Regional Trail – San Ramon
Stevens Creek Trail – Mountain View
Los Gatos Creek Trail – Los Gatos

City Parks
Alameda
Antioch
Belmont
Benicia
Berkeley
Brentwood
Brisbane
Burlingame
Calistoga
Campbell
Concord
Cupertino
Daly City
DanvilleDixonDublin
El Cerrito
Emeryville
Fairfield
Foster City
Fremont
Gilroy
Half Moon Bay
Hayward
Healdsburg
Hercules
Lafayette
Larkspur
Livermore
Los Altos Hills
Los Gatos
Martinez
Menlo Park
Mill Valley
Millbrae
Milpitas
Monterey
Moraga
Morgan Hill
Mountain View
Napa
Newark
Novato
Oakland
Oakley
Orinda
Pacific Grove
Pacifica
Palo Alto
Petaluma
Piedmont
Pinole
Pittsburg
Small World Park
Pleasant Hill
Pleasanton
Portola Valley
Redwood City
Richmond
Rohnert Park
St. Helena
San Anselmo
San Bruno
San Carlos
San Francisco
San Jose
San Leandro
San Mateo
San Rafael
San Ramon
Santa Clara
Santa Cruz
Santa Rosa
Saratoga
Sausalito
South San Francisco
Suisun City
Sunnyvale
Union City
Vacaville
Walnut Creek
Watsonville
Windsor
Yountville