Our guest writer today is Clara Hogan, a writer based in the East Bay, and a mom to two young daughters. She enjoys strong coffee, braving restaurants with a baby and toddler, discovering new parks, and weekend trips around California with the family.
Situated in the heart of downtown Pinole, Fernandez Park is a family favorite of ours because it offers a little of everything: a fenced-in tot lot, a big kid playground with a large climbing structure, an expansive greenspace, a basketball court, and baseball field, as well as plenty of paved trails for walking, biking, or scooting. My three-year-old daughter’s favorite feature, though, is the creek with ducks who are always reliably there, earning it the nickname, “the duck park” in our household.
Another bonus: there are plenty of options for breakfast or lunch nearby (our go-to is East Bay Coffee Company) as well as the nearby farmers market on Saturday mornings.
All about Fernandez Park in Pinole
Fernandez Park Features
Location: 595 Tennent Avenue, downtown Pinole
Unique Features: Tot lot includes a see-saw, musical play area, a little tunnel to crawl through, and several benches and picnic tables.
Swings: Two baby bucket swings in the tot lot; no swings in the older kid play area.
Fenced in? Yes, the tot lot is enclosed. The older kid playground is not fenced in, but it is nicely tucked away from any roads.
Surfaces: The tot lot has a cushy rubber surface; the big kid area has wood chips.
Bathroom: Yes, several well-maintained bathrooms are available near the basketball court.
Lunch tables & seating: Benches and picnic tables are located throughout the park, including inside the tot lot and next to the larger playground.
Parking: Easy and free parking in the lot next to the park
Shade: It’s a pretty sunny park, but there are a few shaded spots in both the tot lot and bigger playground area
Pros: Entertaining for all ages; open greenspace; paved areas to ride scooters or bikes; ducks to feed
Cons: No big kid swings!
Fernandez Park Tot Lot
The tot lot at Fernandez Park is fully fenced-in with lots of little sections for play. My three-year-old has been enjoying it since before she was one and still finds it entertaining. Her favorite part is the see-saw — a rarity — although be forewarned: it usually requires parent participation unless another kid is there to join. You’ll also find a tunnel to crawl through, two bucket swings, and a musical play area with chimes they can gleefully make noise with. The picnic tables are a big bonus, so you can sit and eat or relax while your tot(s) play.
Fernandez Park Big Kid Playground
Just around the corner from the tot lot is the big kid playground. It really is better suited for kids five and up, with a large climbing tower, a rock tunnel, and a playground that is pretty high off the ground. We usually stop by for a visit with my toddler, but I definitely need to closely supervise. It’s not fully fenced-in but it is comfortably removed from the road, with a fence blocking access to a parking lot.
Sports Courts and Field at Fernandez Park
Across the park from the playground, you’ll find the sports courts, including a basketball court and a large baseball field. We often see baseball teams, young and old, on the field, which can be entertaining for little ones to watch. The restrooms are also located in this section.
Ducks at Fernandez Park
Most weekend mornings my daughter wakes up and immediately asks to go to “the duck park.” Finding these friends is usually our first and most exciting stop before we head to the playgrounds. To find the ducks, head across the park over the wooden bridge near the senior center and look down into the creek. Without fail, ducks await. You can drop bread down from the bridge or walk down to the creek for closer viewing, which allows at least 10 minutes of entertainment that will let me sip my coffee peacefully.
The Bottom Line on Fernandez Park in Pinole
Whether your kid wants a playground, to play basketball, to feed some ducks, or to ride their scooter or bike, Fernandez Park is a hidden gem of the East Bay worth checking out. It offers all the features of a great neighborhood park, plus the benefit of being removed from busy roads and nearby many local eateries. It’s also a great excuse to go explore charming downtown Pinole.
Whatever you do, don’t forget your stale bread!