One of the awesome draws of Bay Area living is the accessibility to cool neighboring cities and towns—perfect for easy day trips and spontaneous adventures. Alameda, the largest island in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a short and scenic ferry ride from SF and a short drive from Oakland. With its well-maintained beaches, sprawling recreational areas, and picturesque shorelines, Alameda is an ideal destination for families looking to fill their sunny weekends with easy-on-the-budget (and big-on-the-FUN) activities. Below are a few suggestions to add to your list for an upcoming visit.

crab cove

Crab Cove
The Crab Cove Visitor Center, located at the north end of Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach, packs an aquatic educational punch for its modest size. Kids will learn about the local marine and shoreline life via an 800-gallon aquarium system, interactive learning stations, and the on-site docents. From birthday parties to scheduled nature walks and classes, this Alameda gem is fun for kids of all ages.


1252 McKay Ave.
Alameda, CA 94501
Online: ebparks.org/parks/vc/crab_cove

USS_Hornet_FB 2Courtesy of the USS Hornet Facebook Page

USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum
The USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum offers a wide variety of events and exhibits for you to experience throughout the year—including an awesome collection of over 15 historic aircraft. The famed USS Hornet served in World War II and Apollo recovery and is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Kids 6 and under are FREE. Check out their website for more info on tours and current exhibits.
707 W Hornet Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
Online: uss-hornet.org

mod pizza
MOD Pizza
Work up an appetite and head to the Alameda South Shore center for pizza made easy. The restaurant serves individual artisan-pizzas, made to order and made to please even the pickiest family member. The pizzas are cooked on-site and fast! Made to order salads are available too. This spot’s a no-brainer (and quite tasty, too).

2308 South Shore Center Dr.
Alameda, CA 94501
Online: modpizza.com

south shore playground

Alameda South Shore Playground 
This awesome new playground is a welcome addition to the South Shore Center. It’s an ideal stop for busy parents looking to entertain little ones in between errands or meals out. Soft and squishy flooring, a twisty slide, and towering flowers are on display and ready for little explorers to enjoy.

523 South Shore Center
West Alameda, CA 94501
Online: AlamedaSouthShoreCenter.com

loards

Loard’s Ice Cream
Top off your South Shore visit off with a trip to Loard’s and a heaping scoop of mint chip! The old-timey parlor boasts classic flavors and a 1950s soda shop vibe. Expect plentiful servings and the classics—shakes, malts, and sundaes. With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, Loard’s is accommodating for for groups of all sizes.

2265 South Shore Center
Alameda, CA 94501
Online: loards.com

Have any Alameda tips for fun family outings? We’d love to hear more in the comments below!

All images by the author unless noted.

–Sommer Naffz