The Bay Trail
The Bay Trail is the Bay Area's newest shining gem! It is the area's attempt at building a 500 mile continuous shoreline that connects 9 Counties, 47 cities, and spanning across 7 toll bridges. The plan was to make it more easily accessible for alternate modes of clean air transportation to be able to connect with each other, parks, schools, and open spaces. Already 350 miles of the Bay trail have been put into place.
I have been using the Bay trail for months now and not realizing that the paths I have been taking all connect to each other. Until I kept noticing the same sign: Bay Trail. Laughing at myself of how perceptive I am not sometimes.
My oldest daughter finally learned how to ride her big girl bike with no training wheels and we have been off riding on adventures ever since. We have traveled on the Bay Trail through Richmond, Oakland, San Leandro, and Hayward. The paths that we have rode on all have been pretty flat and easy for young riders to navigate. Here is a more comprehensive breakdown of the rides we have taken, you can click on their names to be connected to their individual pages on my website. Or you can also visit the Bay Trail website here.
Richmond Shoreline: The Richmond Shoreline may be my favorite ride, maybe. The reason I like it so much is that it has a built in playground rest stop. I always park near Point Isabel dog park (before Costco) and start the trail there. The path takes you along a beautiful ride along the Bay looking towards the South Bay. You are riding through marshes and waterways and can often spot geese, ducks, and we even saw a heron. After about two miles of riding you will end up at the "Barbara & Jay Vincent Park" (official name). This is a cute little playground on the waters edge complete with two play structures, swings, slides, bathrooms, a water fountain, and even a grassy area and picnic tables to eat a snack on. I like to let my girls off there and give them time to play, pee, and stretch. It has been our turn around point but there is plenty more path to explore wrapping around the Richmond Marina. Wind surfers, boats, and even jet skis can be seen cruising around the marina.
Oyster Bay: Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline is a true hidden gem in San Leandro! It is more or less hidden behind the industrial area and faces out towards the airport and sort of to the right of the San Leandro Marina- both of which you can see from the view of the shoreline. Oyster Bay has paved paths that wind around the Bay, past the airport, over by the Bart tracks and on into Oakland to the Martin Luther King Shoreline. Oyster Bay has paths that lead you directly next to the water overlooking the Oakland airport landing strip, so if your child likes to see planes up close this is a great chance to do so. There are also more trails that are not paved up through the grasslands that me and my husband took our pitbull and dirt bikes on. So lots to explore! There are beautifully manicured rolling lawns along the main paths. Perfect for running races on, playing fetch with your dog, or taking your shoes off and just kicking back in the grass in between rides.
San Leandro Marina: There is a particular section of the Bay Trail that goes through the San Leandro Marina overlooking the glistening Bay, it is a fun spot for a bike ride with children. The trail extends through the park, past both playgrounds, and to the left of the mile run. That trail extends past the dog park and keeps on going for what seems like miles. I suspect that it links up with the Bay trail to the Hayward shoreline which is also a nice ride. When we went it was really windy, which it often is near the Marina, it added an extra aspect of strength training as we had to fight to push against the wind to keep ourselves going. My daughter got very tired out by this factor but for me the wind helped keep me cool on an otherwise hot day. After our ride we parked our bikes by the playground and let the children play on the swings and structure. There are dolphins and whales that shoot out water in the Summer that our kids had fun playing in and cooling down in after the intense bike ride.
Hayward Shoreline: Living in the East Bay we have access to many miles of beautiful shoreline. You can find long stretches of walkable shoreline from Richmond, to Berkeley, to Emeryville, Alameda, and Oakland. The path lesser traveled though can take you right into the heart of Hayward. I don't think of Hayward as being the pinnacle of desirable walks in the East Bay but let us not discount the beautiful Hayward Shoreline, located beyond some of the warehouse district off Winton Ave. Hayward shoreline has a beautiful stretch of land right on the Bay that is perfect for a dog walk, kid walk, or bike ride. The parking lot at the entrance takes you down a long straight paved path that walks directly towards the Bay. The final destination for us is just reaching the water from the first paved path. When you make it to the end of the road you will hit the water and have beautiful views of the Bay on either sides. There is beach access especially if the tide is out. But be warned the beach has a lot of trash and glass on it! Not to safe for playing but ok for a little climb over the rocks. If you wish to continue on there are rocky trails going in either direction from there. Good for mountain bikes especially. We love a nice ride with pretty views and the ability to walk our dog off-leash.