This helpful guest post is by Annie Burke. She not only shares her insider tips to Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, but she also keeps it totally real. Getting kids outside is not always easy but it is (almost!) always worth it.
One afternoon during the school year I was determined to go to Point Pinole. The weather was beautiful. We had been inside and on schedule and on screens and on point. We had tension in our bodies and a lot of stuff bouncing around in our heads. Some time outside was needed.
My kids had other ideas. They whined. They complained. They cried. They crossed their arms and stomped their feet. They said Point Pinole was boring and it’s too hot and it’s too cold. I drove there anyway. I was determined.
In the parking lot I just opened the doors and said nothing. In my head I was screaming and feeling all kinds of things that weren’t calm or patient. But I kept my mouth shut and waited. Five minutes later they were out of the car, finding acorns under the young oak trees, wanting to play hide and seek. We walked up to the bridge, found signs of construction, saw about 8 Amtrak trains cruise by, dug for clay at the playground, and set up forts on the beach of San Pablo Bay.
Going outside with kids isn’t always easy or all smiles. But sometimes we need to push through the whining, the sore arms of carrying the kid who won’t walk, or whatever other obstacle comes your way. Good stuff is on the other side of all that.
How to get to Point Pinole:
Point Pinole is about 25 minutes north of Oakland without traffic (directions to Point Pinole). Between the freeway and Point Pinole you’ll pass Parchester Village, which has a fascinating and complicated history.
What to do when you’re there:
This is an easy place to go a short, medium, or long distance. It’s practically completely flat. The first thing to do from the parking lot is walk up a short and mellow hill to a bridge that crosses train tracks. From there you can:
- Stay on the bridge and watch trains go by under you. Kids of a certain age could probably do this for 6 hours straight. The element of surprise is kinda fun, or you can look up the Amtrak schedule and when the next train will be departing the Richmond station.
- Cross the bridge and take an immediate left onto the Bay Trail. At the first grove of eucalyptus trees, look for paths down to the beach. Take one and explore a really great little beach.
- Cross the bridge, take an immediate left onto the Bay Trail, and walk about .5 mile to a very long beach. There’s a eucalyptus tree out on the beach and it provides just the right amount of shade on a hot day.
- Cross the bridge and continue on the paved road to a playground. It’s a pretty basic playground and kids love it.
- Cross the bridge and continue on the paved road until you’re at the point of Point Pinole. There’s a pier where people fish, and a rocky shore underneath that is home to tons of rocks that are fun to turn over. A shuttle runs to/from the pier which can take you back. Check the sign at the parking lot for times and cost.
Oh, and the sunset from the beach along the Bay Trail is gorgeous!
Bring snacks, sun protection, water, and a change of clothes. There’s mud. Very juggle-able mud.
[All photos provided by Annie Burke for use on 510famililies, all rights reserved]