Spring has almost sprung in the Bay Area, and you know what that means: prepare to fight for a plot on the beer-soaked, bohemian-smattered lawn of Dolores Park. But it doesn’t have to be so. Why not reconnect with nature in the beautiful and boundless Berkeley Marina?
The Marina, with its awesome views of the bay and endless recreational activities makes for the perfect (and FREE) daytime getaway. I suggest checking out Cesar Chavez State Park. Its 90 acres of trails and turf used to serve as a landfill. Charming. Anyway, here are some fun things you can do there:
1. Ride your bike: Traveling to the Berkeley Marina is an adventure in itself. You can navigate the many “bike boulevards (streets on which you are less likely to get destroyed by cars)” of West Berkeley using Google Maps. The most grueling part of the ride is the footbridge, which connects to Frontage Rd. (I-80) and University Ave., but as long as your legs aren’t sacks of pudding, you’ll have no problem. And if they ARE literally sacks of pudding, well, just plop yourself at the base of the bridge and grab a spoon. A word of caution: watch for wayward youngsters on the footbridge. They sometimes wander into the bike lane, and it would be a shame to sully your single speed with baby goo. Once you’re in the park, choose a trail to follow and see where it takes you.
2. Have a picnic: A little pot of gold awaits you at the end of the footbridge. The Sea Breeze Market and Deli is a one-stop shop for cheap snacks and homemade baked goods. Enjoy one of their tasty deli delicacies and outdoor seating while you watch the cluster of traffic navigate the seventh layer of hell that is University Avenue. Of course, you could (and should) do it the old-fashioned way and pack your lunch. There are even grills available for public use inside the park. Don’t forget to bring your red-checkered blanket so others know that you’re definitely having a picnic.
3. Fly a kite: Tell your friends, significant other, or mom, “Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest heights. Let’s go fly a kite and we’ll send it soar-ing.” They won’t be able to resist, because the conditions for kite flying at the Marina are perfect. It’s gusty, sunny, and there’s plenty of air space, so your line won’t get tangled with the jerk who’s flying that giant box-thing. That must be why the Berkeley Marina is home to the annual Kite Festival, which is evidently one of the biggest kite fests in North America. Shucks.
4. Walk your pooch: You won’t be able to contain your four-legged friend when he/she realizes that there’s much more to his/her little doggy world than back yards and city sidewalks. There is plenty of room for your dog to run free, meet other single dogs, and fulfill his/her Jack London fantasy. And if you’re dogless like me, get that oxytocin flowing by ogling or cooing at the dogs of strangers.
5. LARP – If you don’t know what LARPing is, then your ignorance has undoubtedly protected your reputation. I’m not going to ruin it now. As for the rest of us, I’ll see you on Sunday at 2pm. And yes, of course I’m just watching.
Cesar Chavez State Park
11 Spinnaker Way