Half-day Trip: Lafayette Reservoir and Playground - 510 Families

Half-day Trip: Lafayette Reservoir and Playground

Lafayette Reservoir offers every recreational activity you can think of, plus a playground. Whether you head there to fish, kayak, paddle boat, or hike, you’ll find something else you want to do as well.

Photo: Kat Choi

Pro tip: Avoid this popular destination on holidays like Memorial Day, as finding parking on crowded days is rough.

Parking Fee:
All-Day $7.00
Hourly $1.50/hr (2-hour maximum)

A flat walking path is lovely for small scooters, jogging strollers, and kids who just want to run. The path leading to the playground is nice and smooth, however, the cracked sidewalk leading to the visitor center is quite bumpy and hard to push a stroller on. The paved trail is 2.7 miles long, so unless your crew is tenacious, don’t expect to make it all the way around. The rim trail is just under 5 miles. It offers lovely views, elevated above the reservoir.

Photo: Kat Choi
Photo: Kat Choi

Space for families to have bbqs or picnics are plentiful.

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Lafayette Reservoir Playground

This recently refurbished playground offers two play areas, one for 2-5 year olds and one for kids 5 years and older area next to it. The structures are made of that high-density plastic made to look like wood. The ground was covered in wood chips.

Photo: Kat Choi
Photo: Kat Choi
Photo: Kat Choi

The tot play structure has one short slide, a wide rubber belt (in lieu of trampoline), and a train-shaped play area. There are also two cute playhouses.

Photo: Kat Choi

The bigger kid structure invites kids to enter a maze with lots of corners, a tube spiral slide, nets for climbing, monkey bars, and a boat-shaped play area.

The two play areas are connected by giant tic-tac-toe game and a pipe xylophone which is really loud as kids bang the metal balls against the pipes.

Tiles with children’s handprints and names decorate the fence, adjacent to a grassy area with picnic tables.

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Things to know before you go to Lafayette Reservoir and Playground

Image courtesy East Bay Regional Parks District

While there are restrooms throughout the park, the one next to the playground is basically a hole on the ground. There is a plastic toilet for seating but no flushing and no sink to wash hands. Antibacterial foam is available to “wash” hands instead. Gross. If you have a child like mine, who is very particular about where she does her business, this is a no go. Very smelly too.

While Lafayette generally offers warmer temperatures than Oakland and Berkeley, some parts of the park are quite windy, so bring layers. In fact, due to poison oak along the trails, pants are a good idea.

Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on-leash.

This is not a swimming destination. Boats are available for rental, but no bodily contact with water is allowed. (Related: Fishing in the East Bay)

Photo: Kat Choi

Bikes are only allowed on the Lakeside Trail on Tues + Thurs from noon until park closing and Sunday mornings before noon. Skateboards are not allowed at all.

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