A Picnic of a DayCesarEChavezPark

When you want to get the kids outside, but putting on a pair of hiking boots and trekking through the forest seems too big an excursion, there’s a happy medium out there. Cesar E. Chavez Park in the Berkeley Marina is paved all around, with gorgeous views of the city and the bay, and plenty of green hills to romp upon. Bring a jacket and a kite, because the wind likes it here, too, and you’ll often see decorated skies with colorful kite-tails flapping in anticipation of the annual festival in July.

While many other parks are off limits to dogs, Cesar E. Chavez Park welcomes the whole family, with extended off-leash areas for fetching and sprinting at full, four-legged speed. Your little (two-legged) climbers will enjoy huddles of trees to claim as their hideouts, that is, if they’re not busy throwing the Frisbee around or hunting for ladybugs.

Bring a picnic lunch then find a table where you can spread out and barbeque, or claim your spot in the grass to throw down a blanket. Another option is to head over to the Sea Breeze Market and Deli on University beforehand for munchies like seafood, sandwiches, snacks, or smoothies. This park makes for a low-maintenance outing with a full, I-Had-A-Great-Day-Outside-with-My-Kids feeling.

—Renee M. Rutledge