Wondering where your little one can ride a scooter around Oakland? I have unwittingly become an expert. Scooting is the new recess. Two scooters and two helmets are permanently in my trunk. My scooting squad is ready for adventure wherever we happen to go. I love scooting for my kids because it is a super easy way to get outside, learn balance and stay active.
We’ve had to get resourceful to find new places to scoot. We can only scoot around our hilly neighborhood so many times. Since SIP, we’ve had
to get scrappy the unique opportunity to go places we normally wouldn’t have access to, like massive closed parking lots. Thus I’ve rounded up all the best places I've found in East Bay to take younger kids scooting. Let us know what places I've missed in the comments, and let’s get rollin’!
Oakland (and Piedmont) Places I Love to Scooter with Little Ones
- Bay Bridge Trail: We park at either the Bay Bridge Trail Parking Lot or IKEA Emeryville (yes, really) and if your kiddos can keep going, this path will take you all the way to Yerba Buena Island.
- Middle Harbor Shoreline Park: In addition to the 3 miles of paved trails, this park is full of gigantic fun.
- Chabot Space & Science upper parking lot deck: Though Chabot Science Center is temporarily closed, the parking lot is very much open to kids on wheels.
- Oakland LDS temple overflow parking lot: We used to love walking the immaculate gardens of the LDS Temple before they were closed to the public. Now, we’ve migrated to the nearby parking lot which also offers stellar bay views and an incline for little kids to get some serious speed on scooters.
- Jack London Square: JLS offers smooth trails & wide sidewalks. You will score bonus Mom points if your kids enjoy train and boat watching.
- Dracena Quarry: This Piedmont park has a great little enclosed loop that's ideal for younger kids scooting.
Parents beware: You do have to walk past the playground, which may be too enticing for littles to avoid right now.
Berkeley & Albany Scooter Riding Spots
- Cal campus: We like to park by the BAMPFA building, there is a slight uphill into campus which takes bit of encouraging (or physically pushing) little kids to cover the distance. We endure the uphill nudge because both my daughters love bombing it down the hills on the way back to the car (sometimes I actually hold on to my two-year old's dress to slow her down on our return).
- Ohlone bike path: This path is a local favorite extending from Berkeley into Albany right under the BART tracks.
- Little Farm parking lot: Though we can’t visit the farm animals, we can blast through some wide open parking spaces and be among the trees.
Alameda kid-friendly paths
- Old Alameda Point: We like to park at Encinal Beach and scoot to the USS Hornet to get right up close to the massive ship.
- Jean Sweeney Open Space: The newly paved trail is definitely one of our favorite spots. Bonus: they have hand sanitizer stations installed throughout the pathways and a dirt trail for running alongside kiddos.
Richmond Paved Trails and Lots
- Miller/Knox parking lot: This lot is currently closed off and is 510 Families contributor Julie’s favorite spot to take her four kids for a supervised scooter ride. Pro tip: Bring a kite or plan to go to nearby Keller Beach if there's time.
- Barbara and Jay Vincent Park: This park is not only great for scooting, but also has lots of grassy or areas to pop off and play in sand or eat snacks. The trail can be a bit narrow in parts and heavily trafficked on the weekends, so plan to arrive early. Parent warning: Many cyclists tend to blast by at high speeds near the waterways, and not account for unpredictable movements of toddlers on scooters.
El Cerrito Scootering Spots
- DMV El Cerrito parking lot: but only on weekends!
- Cerrito Vista Park: super nice paved, flat tracks.
Even More East Bay Scootering Paths and Places
- Castro Valley: Lake Chabot Regional Park is best for little scooter riders on weekday mornings.
- Concord to Pleasanton: the 33 paved mixed-use miles of the Iron Horse Trail has bikes and horses along with runners and mini scooters, so please stay to the right.
- Orinda: Orinda Community Park: has a nice paved loop inside a fenced area.
- San Leandro: Marina Park has ample space to scoot and social distance.
Favorite San Francisco Scooter Spots
- Golden Gate Park: since SIP there are many closed off roadways throughout the park, offering plenty of space to distance and scoot freely.
- Upper Great Highway: we love the closed section of the 1, next to Ocean Beach. Take in the view, and all the fresh ocean breeze.
- Crissy Field: miles of nicely maintained, paved trails with access to beach and grassy areas. This trip always gets sandy, but is very much worth the drive across the bridge.
- Embarcadero: we like to take the first exit off the Bay Bridge and head on over to the Embarcadero shoreline for a change of scenery every now and then.
Our favorite scooters are Micro Kickboards. They are a bit on the more expensive side, but as far as I can tell they hold their resale value when my girl gang eventually grows out of them. Plus we’ve been using the Micro Mini for 3+ years now with no signs of it giving up anytime soon.
If I were a Spice Girl, I would (currently) be Sporty Spice. I wear running shoes pretty much every day, to keep up with my girls and especially if we’re going for a longer distance. I’m happy running alongside them, but if you’re not into running, consider bringing along your very own scooter, skateboard or bike for the trails.