If your little one dreams of kick flips, mastering the 50-50 grind and dropping in to a massive bowl, then you likely have a skater on your hands. While this distinctly California hobby has been around since our childhood, these days there are more sweet spots than ever to practice sick tricks. We’ve narrowed down our favorites below. So gear up your grom with a helmet, knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards and say L8TR SK8TR!

photo: Chris Goldberg via flickr

San Francisco

Playland at 43rd Ave. 
This teeny community-built skatepark is the perfect spot for little ones, and also features a community garden and play space. It’s maintained by neighbors who pitch in to perform everything from routine maintenace to paint new murals, making it a real gem.

1360 43rd Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
Online: groundplaysf.org

SoMa West Skate Park
Skateboard legend Tony Hawk helped to build this park (score!), with plenty of opps for (literally) dropping in, or just hanging out to watch.

Beneath the Central Freeway, Valencia and Duboce Streets
San Francisco, Ca
Online: sfrecpark.org

Hilltop Park
When you’ve reached the giant 70-foot sundial, you’ll know you’re there. This is the city’s first public skateboard park, with a large skating bowl, hilltop views, and even cement slides (so bring the cardboard).

La Salle & Whitney Young Cir.
San Francisco, Ca
Online: sfrecpark.org

photo: latteda via flickr

Balboa Skatepark
This newer, all wooden skate park in Mission Terrace is calling all kiddos to get off the screens and skate into full-action mode.

San Jose Ave and Ocean Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
Online: balboaskate.org

La Raza Park /Potrero del Sol
As San Francisco’s largest skate park, this is the place to be. It has a Greek-style temple and colorful murals, and the weekend mornings draws lots of parents and younger kids.

Utah Streets
San Francisco, Ca
Online: sfparksalliance.org

photo: Thomas Park via flickr

East Bay

City View Skate Park
This park has the coolest setting of the old Alameda Navy Base—plus miles of beautiful water views.  Big bonus (more for you than them): lots of antique flea market shopping nearby.

1177 W Redline Ave.
Alameda, CA
Online: alamedaskate.ca.us

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Braille House and Skatepark 
On weekdays, the Braille House functions as a studio for filming YouTube videos but come spring, summer and winter break they open the doors for skate camps. Private lessons are also available on select weekends and occasionally the crew opens the door for open skate.

14684 Washington Ave, San Leandro
Online: brailleskateboarding.com

Fremont Skate Park
A spacious park means there’s everything from stairs to rails to benches. Lots of options here for kids to practice popping those ollies.

40500 Paseo Padre Pkwy.
Fremont, CA
Online: fremontskate.gov

Kennelly Skate Park
From ramps to classes, this park can take the kiddos from newbie to full-fledged skater. Even BMX riders can use the park on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3–4:30 p.m., and Sundays from 1–2:30 p.m.

898 Red Rock Rd.
Piedmont, CA
Online: kennellyskate.ca.us

photo: Kelly O. via yelp

Berkeley Skate Park
Get ready for massive: 18,000-square-feet, complete with beginner-friendly areas plus classes, a skate club—and even scholarships. Park closed during events and rainy days.

Harrison St. (skatepark is located at Harrison Park)
Berkeley, CA
Online: berkeleyskate.ca.us

Joseph Emery Skate Spot
Located behind a CVS between Park and 45th Street, this park is also famously situated just outside Pixar Studios. The park is narrow, but spans the length of two city blocks and features plenty of skateable paths for little ones, mini ramps and a bowl for advanced skaters.

Off of San Pablo Avenue between 45th Street and Park Avenue
Emeryville, CA

Jack Holland Skate Park
This skate park may be small but it’s varying ramps and rails offer tons of potential, espeically for beginners. The park features shaded, stadium seating and a restroom. Bonus: It’s located right next to a playground just incase every little member of your family isn’t into allies (yet).

16301 E 14th St.
San Leandro, CA

San Ramon Central Park
This park is especially perfect for the youngest skaters. On weekends the priority usage is reserved for kids 11 and under. There’s also 40 more acres surrounding the skate park to explore, including a maze of water features, lots of trails, and picnicking galore.

12501 Alcosta Blvd.
San Ramon, CA
Online: sanramonpark.ca.us

photo: Victor Salanoy via flickr

Peninsula/South Bay

Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park
This one wins the award for largest skate park in California with some of the biggest and bestest features in the world (read: world’s biggest cradle, tallest vert wall, and largest full pipe . . . how cool is that?!). Also check out their birthday packages, lessons, rentals, camps and live music in the summer.

2305 S. White Rd.
San Jose, CA
Online: sjactionsports.com

Greer Skate Park
Greer is a 70’s style bowl park with fast flowing lines and a rounded lip that allows for fast and easy rollins/outs. The volcano in the center of the medium bowl has rough grindable lip.

1098 Armarillo Ave.
Palo Alto, CA
Online: cityofpaloalto.org

photo: Mae Respicio

Marin

Mill Valley Skate Park
Recently totally renovated in Spring 2019 and sitting adjacent to the Bay Trail and Mill Valley Middle School, this pristine new skatepark already has a loyal following amongst Mill Valley’s young skaters. The upgraded park features smooth, new concrete and plenty of ramps for beginners to advanced (though local residents urge parents to limit use to actual skateboarders and not little tikes on scooters). Most weekends you’ll find Hot Diggity food cart serving up snacks, drinks and hot dogs.

425 Sycamore Avenue (Mill Valley Middle School)
Mill Valley, CA

McInnis County Skate Park
You haven’t experienced a skate park until you’ve seen this gigantic sea of bowls, ramps, and half-pipes, and all surrounded by a beautiful landscape of rolling hills. Scooters are allowed in the park each day until 1 p.m. and there are lots of hiking trails for before and after.

10 Smith Ranch Rd.
San Rafael, CA
Online: mcinnisskate.org

Proof Lab
Easy means one-stop shop! They have gear, indoor ramp time, art, and even a cool cafe. Here’s their list of local instructors (check with Proof Lab for the most updated indoor ramp hours): prooflab.com/surf-skate-lessons

54/244 Shoreline Hwy.
Mill Valley, CA
415-380-8900
Online: prooflab.com

Corte Madera Skatepark
This one’s not the biggest, baddest of the bunch, but because of its sweet size it’s for the mini-shredders in your life. Bonus: ice cream truck on hot days, and a huge playground right next door.

Tamalpais Dr. and Pixley Ave.
Corte Madera, CA
Online: cortemaderaskatepark.com

—Chantal Lamers, Sonia Gandiaga and Mae Respicio

Featured photo: Bob_Dmyt via pixabay

 

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