About 20 minutes from Oakland, Lake Chabot is a 315-acre oasis that is popular for outdoor enthusiasts with activities for everyone in the family including boating, fishing, hiking, biking, horseshoe pits, strolling, jogging, and places to eat. Lake Chabot Regional Park, located in Castro Valley on Lake Chabot Road, is a beautiful park well known for its reservoir surrounded by redwood trees, flowers, and wildlife.
There is a $5 parking fee per vehicle, but street parking is also available (add 5-10 minutes for walking.) A cafe near the boating launch sells fishing bait and licenses, food, and drinks. Bathrooms are next to the cafe and on the West Side Trail.
My daughters and I have frequented this park for walking and hiking since they were born. It has always been an easy park to take strollers and walk the paved paths around the reservoir. The breathtaking views of the sunset are well worth the walk.
Pro tip: Bring a stroller for children under five, since the hilly trails can get steep and difficult for toddlers to keep up or continue walking.
Rent a Boat on Lake Chabot
The boats are the main attraction for my children. Rental boats can be found by the marina for up to 4 people. It can be somewhat costly at $27 – $30 per hour for kayaks, rowing boats, pedal boats, or electric motor boats, but the children have so much fun looking for the freshwater bass, bluegill, and crappie among the ducks and geese. This area is very busy on the weekends, so I recommend planning for a weekday morning with less crowds. Guests must be 18 to operate a boat and all guests must sign a contract prior to getting on a boat. Under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian present to sign for them. The minimum age in a double kayak with an adult is 5 years old.
When you arrive at Lake Chabot for a boat rental of any kind, they make it so easy! You can pre-sign the release waiver to save time or do it on the spot. Marina staff will walk you down to the dock, get you fitted for life vests, go through boat training, and send you off to enjoy the adventure that awaits.
You can visit Lake Chabot year-round and get out on the water. Find out more
Catch Fish and Watch the Animals
Some of the wildlife around the lake include deer, raccoons, eagles, hawks, herons, and cormorants. Trout and catfish are regularly stocked so come prepared to fish with your rod, reel, bait & tackle.
Swimming is not permitted in the lake.
Plan your visit to Lake Chabot Regional Center
BBQ grills and picnic tables are available for walk-ins or reservations.
- $5 parking fee or street parking for free!
- $2 dog fee (often not checked)
- Fishing and boating are available. Check the website for current prices and information.
- Forgot food, no problem! Grab a snack, breakfast, or lunch at The Lake Chabot Marina and Cafe. Plenty of healthy snack options (i.e., fresh fruits and vegetables), bottled drinks, and warm drinks (i.e., coffee, hot chocolate).
What to bring to Lake Chabot
- Dog (patio boats are pet-friendly but your pooch counts as a single rider)
- Outdoor blankets for sitting or eating
- Water bottles
- Packed lunches (or grab food from the cafe)
- Fishing gear (or rent some during your visit!)
- Bikes, scooters, helmets
- Good walking shoes