Yes, the Berkeley Marina has the bay views and all of the lovely white sailboats you’d expect. But it also holds enough adventures to keep you busy for an entire day, and with a distinctly Berkeley twist. Jutting out into the bay from Eastshore State Park, the grassy hump of César Chávez Park features views of the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge, and nearly always a sky full of colorful kites. Locals love to come here to toss Frisbees, play catch, go for a jog, and have great big family picnics. It can get blustery, especially when the fog rolls in during summer, so be sure to pack a light jacket or windbreaker.
If you’ve got kids, be sure to head for a walk around the harbor filled with boat berths. There you’ll discover Adventure Playground, where, since the 1970s, staff has handed out hammers, saws, and buckets of paint to children and encouraged them to build their own forts and hideouts out of scrap wood and other bits of leftover materials. It may sound like a disaster waiting to happen, but in fact it’s magical. Kids can let their imaginations and creative streaks run wild, while you get to enjoy an epic view of San Francisco Bay.
Or, get out on the water yourself. Berkeley Marina’s OCSC Sailing (which stands for Olympic Circle Sailing Club) is home to the largest fleet of sailboats on the West Coast and offers a variety of day trip options, like skippered charters or picnic-based trips to Angel Island. Start learning how to become the skipper yourself with its two-hour class on the San Francisco Bay.