We’ve all heard of the San Francisco Bay Trail – but what about some of the lesser-known shoreline parks along it? One of the absolute best is Marina Bay Park, on Richmond’s waterfront. Not only is it squeaky-clean and perfectly maintained, it’s the greatest place from which to watch Richmond’s Fourth of July (held July 3) fireworks!

When to go: Head there in the summertime/early fall if you’re planning to picnic.

Travel time: Richmond is a 17 mile drive from downtown San Francisco.

What to do/see: With its little yacht harbor, gorgeous views across the bay, lush green lawns for a game of Frisbee or tag, picnic areas and paved paths to walk/bike/trike/scoot along, there’s plenty to do and see (oh, and it’s a bird-lovers favorite, too).

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Where to have lunch: Pack your own eats and enjoy them al fresco. Amble along the Bay Trail a bit to Barbara and Jay Vincent Park, which has a fun play structure. Or, you can bike up the Bay Trail to the Boilerhouse restaurant, housed in a reclaimed industrial building. The Sunday brunch is usually a hit with kids.

How to dress: Take along an extra layer for that sea breeze.

Bonus: On Sunday July 3, Oakland’s East Bay Symphony will give a concert and there’ll be spectacular fireworks over the Bay – all for FREE.

Cost of trip: Inexpensive.

Online: www.rcvb-ca.com/marinabay.htm and www.oebs.org

—Annie Sheldon