We recently spoke with Extra Space Storage collaborator Stacie Lucas, founder of ethical clothing company Amae Co., about how she and her family maximize their living and working space in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Something about Stacie’s approach to life really resonated with us. The Lucas family lives in a 1,000-square-foot home in Walnut Creek, in the East Bay. The community is a few miles inland and sits at the foot of the picturesque Mount Diablo.
With all the natural beauty surrounding them, the Lucas family are able to think about living space as something beyond the four walls of their home. “We just live a certain lifestyle,” Stacie tells us. “We could be married to a house or a mortgage … or we could have a life and be married to that.”
In recognition of that spirit, this post is for all of the Bay Area families out there that prioritize living experiences. Here are seven hikes in the East Bay area that you and your little ones can enjoy together.
Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda
Sarah Phelan at Oakland Magazine calls this one of the East Bay’s 12 best leisurely hikes because of all the views you can catch in just 2.5 miles. Besides the excellent views of San Francisco and the bridges, you’ll be able to spot kiteboarders, windsurfers and flocks of seabirds, she says.
Note that the park welcome dogs on-leash, but not the beach itself.
Huckleberry Botanic Preserve, Oakland
Avid hiker Kevin Gong has been reviewing Bay Area trails for 20 years on his personal website, and this was the first trail he and his son hiked together. It’s only 1.7 miles, and most families should be able to make the trek in less than two hours. Along the way, he says, you’ll pass some gentle waterfalls, find diverse plants and flowers, and get a nice panorama of the hills that surround the area.
Rock City to the Summit of Mount Diablo, Danville
This is one of Stacie’s recommended East Bay hikes, and it’s a good one. The starting point is near Danville, and the out-and-back hike is just short of 8 miles. En route to the top of the mountain, All Trails points out, you’ll climb about 2300 feet and catch some of the best views in Northern California: Big rocks, wildflowers and a 360-degree panorama of the Bay once you get to the top.
The trail is open year-round, so it’s a good bet for families needing a little fresh air in the summer time, or needing a chance to get out on a frosty winter day.
Bayview Trail at Coyote Hills, Fremont
Ned MacKay at the East Bay Times says the paved Bayview Trail at Coyote Hills Regional Park is a great option during the rainy season because your family won’t be bringing back pounds of boot-caked mud afterward.
The trail itself, at almost 5 miles, is longer than the two above. This gives you time to take in great views of the Coyote Hills (the trail wraps around them) as well as tranquil views of the Bay itself.
The Nimitz Way Trail in Tilden Park, Orinda
BayAreaParent calls The Nimitz Way Trail in Tilden Park “a favorite for many East Bay families” because most of it is paved and can accommodate strollers and bicycles.
The paved trail, eight miles out and back, might be a workout for some families, but you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views in the entire Bay Area. Noteworthy sights include Meadows Canyon, Wildcat Peak and the surrounding hills, and a panorama of the Bay at the very end of the trail (after the paved portion ends).
The Stonewall-Panoramic Trail, Berkeley
This trail is short (just 3/4 of a mile) but steep. For families willing to make the climb, beautiful panoramas of Oakland, Berkeley, the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge await at the top, writes the team at DogTrekker, a site that chronicles dog-friendly hiking trails and parks.
If your family includes members of the four-legged variety, The Stonewall-Panoramic Trail is a good option.
Creek Walk, Walnut Creek
If you follow the Iron Horse Trail south from the Summit Educational Center, just on the other side of the overpass, a little nature trail spurs off and follows Walnut Creek into the civic park. This is the perfect Sunday morning walk if you don’t want to get outside of the city, but still want to immerse yourself in a little bit of nature.
You’ll find great views of Mount Diablo here, and the trail is perfectly suited to just about everyone.
Images by: laterjay, ©goodluz/123RF Stock Photo