Lake Anza for a Hot Day - 510 Families
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Lake Anza for a Hot Day

Berkeley in the summer is unpredictable weather-wise. Some days it feels like November, other days it’s so hot all you can do is rip off your clothes and go swimming. For those days, I recommend packing up the requisite beach gear and heading for Lake Anza in Tilden Park (Yep! It’s open this year!). I recently piled my four kids (ages 4-11) into the car for a quick drive up the hill and ended up having a terrific day of play.

lake anza sign
Lake Anza is a Berkeley gem every family should check out | Photo: Julie Herson

Lake Anza for Little Kids

This is a great beach for kids of all ages, though especially for little kids. The shallow beach area is perfect for not-so-water-safe toddlers to splash around while you lounge on the beach within arm’s reach. The lifeguards are eagle-eyed and will make sure your kiddos are safe, though you can also borrow a life jacket for added peace of mind.

Another great toddler friendly beach to check out>>

toddler running in shallow lake water
Little kids love playing in the shallows of Lake Anza | Photo: Julie Herson

There’s also a newly seeded grassy area and a dressing room with not-warm showers. The water is roped off to mark where it gets deeper and to provide a grown-up lap swim zone. Get there by around 11 am for premium parking, after that you might have to walk from another lot. Rumor has it that the food isn’t terrible, but I haven’t tried it.

More places to swim in the East Bay>>

little boy laying in sand on beach
Lounging in the warm sand at Lake Anza | Photo: Julie Herson

Some days, it’s chilly and you can’t imagine dipping your toes in the water (like 52F cold!). For those days, I recommend packing up the little kid hiking gear, and exploring around Lake Anza. For wildlife, you’ll see birds, critters, lots of good bugs and even some huge banana slugs to entertain you. If you’re lucky, there will be wild turkeys or deer off in the distance. And sometimes those chilly days burn into nice ones after you’ve had your hike. So keep those swimming things in the car just in case.

More places to hike with little kids>>

lake with flowers in foreground
You can hike around the lake if the fog hasn’t burned off yet | Photo: Julie Herson

But what about the Blue-Green Algae??

Okay, yes, Lake Anza was closed for a while because of a toxic level of algae. Yuck. You can read more about it here and you can check the most recent water test results here. The day we went the levels were in the green, but we did our best to keep the water out of our mouths, and we took a nice hot shower as soon as we got home. We didn’t have any issues, but I’ll be sure to check the water quality status before our next visit.

What to Bring to Lake Anza

Treat this as your typical beach day. Bring all your usual beach must-haves:

  • Towels
  • Beach blanket and chairs
  • Half tent (there’s not a ton of shade)
  • Sunscreen, hats
  • Sand Toys
  • Swim gear, goggles, etc.
  • Snacks, lunch, water
  • Swim diapers for non-potty trained kids

Details:

  • Address: Lake Anza Road off of Central Park Drive, Berkeley, CA 94708
  • Phone: (888) 327-2757, option 3, ext. 4562
  • Price: $4 age 16-61; $2 age 1-15; $2 seniors 62+ or disabled; FREE under 1 year
  • Extras: Large grassy field by the parking lot, shaded tables for lunch, bathrooms with changing area, shower to rinse, free life jackets to borrow.
  • Website>
  • Current Water Quality Conditions>

Hours*:

  • Weekends and holidays: Apr 29 – Sep 17
  • Weekdays: May 29 – Sep 8
  • 11 am – 6 pm (exit water by 5:30 pm)

*Swim at your own risk when lifeguards are off duty. Lifeguard hours may be extended during hot weather.

lake anza swimming area crowded
Lake Anza swim area on a busy day | Photo: Coco J. via Yelp

The Bottom Line on Lake Anza

We had a super fun day relaxing and playing at beautiful Lake Anza. It was a bit foggy and overcast at first, but like most summer days in the Bay Area, it burned off and was a lovely day by the afternoon. The beach isn’t huge, but it’s so close, convenient and affordable, it’s a no-brainer for a hot day in the East Bay.

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