Bay Area Day Trips: Summer in Alameda County
Summer is approaching, the dangers of COVID in the Bay Area are happily receding and we are dreaming of a vacation. But if you’re not quite ready to head to the airport (or just looking for some fun on the weekends), fear not. The Hoodline Bay Area Day Trip Series will give you plenty of food for local fun this season. From little-known treasures to popular hot spots that may have vanished from your radar over the past year or so, we’re going to put together curated lists of some of our favorite destinations within reach of San Francisco, San José, and the rest of the world. bay. This week we are sharing some interesting getaways in Alameda County. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks, including beyond!
Bird-watch and explore the bay’s wetlands at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
At the southern end of San Francisco Bay, 30,000 acres of waterfront and wetlands are preserved for migratory birds, endangered wildlife and nature lovers in the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge. Kilometers of trails offer wonderful hiking and biking tours for all ages, kayaking and canoeing are permitted in the tributaries of the bay to the refuge, and fishing is permitted as well. (There’s even hunting in the fall and winter.) Explore the East Bay portion of the refuge, along the deserted waterfront of Fremont and Newark, to view and explore wildlife off the beaten path.
the Alameda Stream Regional Trail is an unknown gem that juts out into the bay along the north side of Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. Here you can spot great egrets, herons, cormorants, pintails, American avocets, black-necked stilts and many other birds and waterfowl. Or head to the south side of Coyote Hills to browse the old duck hunting grounds of the Newark portion of the Don Edwards Hut. A series of pretty wooden bridges and boardwalks make for a fun stroll along the water’s edge, or set off further from the shore to see salt ponds and the remains of ancient salt mines up close.
A solitary picnic table can be found at the end of the paved portion of the Alameda Creek Regional Trail. Photo: Laila Weir
Coyote Hills itself offers some nice hikes, picnics, and scenic views, but it’s hot, so look for a cooler day or stay near the waterfront. If you want to learn more about the area’s original inhabitants and their lifestyles in harmony with nature, call the Coyote Hills Visitor Center at (510) 544-3220 for information on Ohlone Shell Mound tours and Native American studies in the park.
If you love fishing – or want to try it out – peaceful Dumbarton Pier isn’t pretty, but its views are. In the shadow of the Dumbarton Bridge, this pier gives the impression of being opposite the traffic towards Silicon Valley, like a forgotten vestige of a quieter life. You can fish on a jetty without a license, so it is a good way for beginners to try the sport. Locals catch sharks, rays, crabs and all kinds of fish on this pier. Be sure to check the regulations for the types and sizes of fish you can keep, and make sure you know how to clean and cook them. Otherwise, it’s best to just grab and release (or just walk the pier and watch the action).
The Newark Slough Trail in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Photo: Laila Weir
Fremont is known for its great Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, so consider ending your day with an Afghan feast or Indian pizza. The very popular By Afghanan Kabob House serves authentic Afghan cuisine in a charming setting. Bombay Pizza House is one of a variety of casual options serving Indian style and regular pizzas, lassis, beer and more.
For more information and trail maps at Don Edwards Hut: www.fws.gov/refuge/Don_Edwards_San_Francisco_Bay/
Explore local history at Historic Ardenwood Farm and Patterson House
Also in Fremont, the Ardenwood Historic Farm is a popular attraction where visitors can experience what a family farm was like in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The East Bay Regional Park District operates the once private property as a fully functioning farm from the start. of the last century. Young and old alike will enjoy exploring the expansive grounds, formal Victorian gardens, the farmyard with sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, goats and cows, and the working smithy, among others. attractions. Note that advance reservations are currently required.
The beautiful Victorian farm, preserved as a window on a Victorian-era house, is not to be missed – look for a tour led by costumed guides. The house was closed to visits during COVID, but it has just reopened for partial visits to the guest lounge and family lounge on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. In ordinary summers, Ardenwood’s Railway museum staff and docents dressed in period costumes are also said to make train trips from Arden station, but trains have also been halted during the pandemic. However, the Railway Museum recently announced its reopening with historic wagon exhibits on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Patterson House at Ardenwood Historic Farm Photo: Maison Fremont Patterson / Facebook
On weekends, eat at the Farmyard Cafe, where you can order lunch, snacks, coffee, and a variety of locally made treats and treasures.
The historic Ardenwood Farm is located at 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont. The farm is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. Registration fee in advance: $ 2 / free under 4 years old. Please note: dogs are not allowed on the farm. Be sure to check the website or contact the farm for updates regarding restrictions and current updates. For more information: www.ebparks.org/parks/ardenwood, (510) 544-2797
Try water sports (or just swim in the bay) at Alameda’s Crown Memorial State Beach
For those of us used to Pacific beaches, the idea of being able to swim in salt water in Northern California may be a new concept. But for transplants from warmer climates and natives whose teeth may chatter at the prospect of entering the ocean without a 4mm wetsuit, Alameda Island, nestled in the bay just off Oakland , is a revelation. Alameda’s beaches and shallow waters provide surprisingly good swimming on a hot day. The 2.5 mile Memorial Crown State Beach, twice restored and protected from erosion, has plenty of space for sunbathing and picnicking, although it can get crowded on hot weekends.
It’s also a favorite spot for windsurfers and other water sports enthusiasts – and a great place to try any of these sports for the first time. California boardsports gives lessons in windsurfing, kitesurfing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, etc. for adults and children, in addition to renting equipment.
For a dose of local history, the self-guided “Memory Lane” trail winds through time, from the days of Native Californians to Victorian times and military history. For nature lovers, Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary is home to waterfowl and other salt marsh creatures, while Crab Cove (a family favorite) is a marine reserve where all the plant life and animal is protected. the Crab Cove Visitor Center also houses an aquarium showcasing all manner of life in SF Bay.
Boardsports California staff teach water sports lessons on Alameda Beach. Photo: Laila Weir
At the end of the day, explore the pretty downtown area of this unpretentious island that until recently housed a military base and military accommodation, and dine at one of the many local restaurants.
For more information and to get to Crown Memorial State Beach: www.ebparks.org/parks/crown_beach/, (510) 544-3175 / Toll free: 888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757), option 3, ext. 4522
Head for the heat in the swimming lakes of the East Bay Regional Park District
When temperatures heat up in the summer, we’re not big fans of inland hiking, but the eastern parts of Alameda County can provide perfect swimming conditions. If you dream of sunbathing and swimming, and the breezy bay beaches aren’t quite ideal, heading inland is the way to get your summer fix. The East Bay Regional Park District operates a number of swimming lakes and chlorinated swimming lagoons which are currently open with advance reservations – so plan ahead!
Under the current rules, everyone must be pre-registered to enter the swimming area, including infants. Reservations are available two weeks in advance for a given date.
A maximum of six people can register for a transaction, and all people participating in the same transaction must enter the swimming area together. At this point, Cull Canyon Regional Recreation Area in Castro Valley ($ 4 / $ 2 for ages 1-15 and 62 and over / free for children under 1), Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore (contact the park for fee) and Don Castro Regional Recreation Area in Hayward ($ 3 / $ 2 for ages 1-15 and 62 / free under 1; parking fee of $ 5) are all open.
Cull Canyon Swimming Lagoon in Years Past Photo: BERPD / Instagram
Swimming passes are valid from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., so pack a picnic, plenty of water, and sunscreen, and enjoy it for a day.
For more information and to reserve a swimming date: www.ebparks.org/activities/swimming/default.htm, (888) 327-2757, option 2
Bonus: Go to the water park (coming soon!)
If you are looking to have fun in the summer, Fremont’s Aqua Adventure Water Park should reopen on June 15th! Contact the park for more details as the date approaches. The park is located at 40500 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont. For information: goaquaadventure.com/, (510) 494-4426.