Bay Area Summer Activities 2017
We’ve been living in the Bay Area for the last nine years and it’s only our second summer in which we are not going home to Germany. That’s why I made lots of plans what to do and already posted the list about 55 summer activities. Most of these things you can do at home, but I also wanted to gather lots of new places we can explore. That’s why I started a list for the best possible Bay Area summer and I asked some friends to share their ideas, too.
The following list doesn’t cover all of the Bay Area. Most of the listed activities are in and around the South Bay and in San Francisco. Therefore this list is supposed to grow and I would love your feedback in the comment section. I’m sure you know lots of other cool things to do around here and I would love to add your tipps to this list.
Take a tour.
- Painted Ladies Tour Company: Ride through the city in style and see all the best places in a cool VW van.
- Take a food tour in San Francisco: Either more authentic with Sidewalk Food Tours or a bit fancier with Avital.
- Take the free Jelly Belly Bean Factory Tour.
- Check out the Winchester Mystery House, a San Jose classic. After nine years we still haven’t been there and I think it’s about time.
Go to the beach….
- Four-Mile- Beach: Our favorite beach is located four miles north of Santa Cruz. You have to look for gravel parking lots of the westside of the highway and walk for about 1/2 mile, crossing the train tracks.
- Añu Nuevo State Beach: You might see the occasional sea elephant. In the winter you should take a guided tour during their mating season. It’s amazing. In July, you can pick blackberries just across the street.
- Manresa State Beach
- Find tide pools at Natural Bridges State Beach.
- Surf your first waves at Cowell’s in Santa Cruz.
- Have a bonfire at Ocean or Muir Beach.
- Take beautiful pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach in San Francisco or
- Crissy Field, east of the bridge.
- Capitola Beach on a cloudy day (it’s usually super busy).
- San Gregorio Beach (10 miles south of Half Moon Bay)
Go on a treasure hunt.
- Find Sand Dollars at Ocean Beach in San Francisco (just west of the SF Zoo) or
- at Sand Dollar Beach in Watsonville.
- Go and find sea glass at the Glass Beach in Benicia.
- Here you can find lots of different scavenger/treasure hunts in the city.
And even more Bay Area Summer activities are:
Visit a park.
- Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park: You can walk a nice little loop to see lots of redwood trees. Walk along the … river and find the “Garden of Eden”. There is a waterhole and a rope and it’ll provide hours of fun in the water.
- Hakone Gardens
- and Wildwood Park in Saratoga
- Adventure Playground in Berkeley
- Skypark in Scotts Valley
- Dennis the Menace Playground in Monterey
- Skatepark at the Campbell Community Center
- The Koret Playground and Carousel in the Golden Gate Park
Go for a hike.
- Henry Coe State Park or drive a bit farther to
- Pinnacles National Park. You can find spectacular trails either on the South or the North side of the park.
- Almaden Quicksilver Park
- Santa Teresa County Park
- Fremont Older Open Space Preserve
- Jones trail in St. Joseph’s Open Space Preserve (followed by coffee & buns at LG Coffee Roasting Co.)
- Wilder Ranch State Park
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Walk the short Redwood Loop Trail first and find Mother of the Woods and Father of the Woods.
Ride your bike.
- on the Los Gatos Creek Trail. It is a 15-round trip from Campbell to Los Gatos and back. Get something to eat in Los Gatos (see below) and ride back.
- On the BMX track in the Calabazas Park,
- Around Shoreline in Mountain View,
- At Los Alamitos Creek Trail,
- On the Coyote Creek Trail or
- at Wilder Ranch State Park.
You can find more family friendly bike rides in the Bay Area here.
Visit a museum.
- Pacific Pinball Museum, Alameda
- Pez Museum, Burlingame
- Tech Museum, San Jose
- Musée Mechanique
- The Intel Museum, Santa Clara
- Exploratorium San Francisco
- SF Moma
- San José Museum of Art
- Art Museum at Standford (free admission)
- Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos
- Oakland Museum of California
and so many more…
Ride a train.
- My kids love to ride the train in Germany, but why don’t do it here? If you’re San Jose based, take the Light Rail to Diridon and then Caltrain to San Francisco or vice versa.
- A fun idea for longer trip is to take Amtrak Coast Starlight and go from San Jose to Salinas, Paso Robles, San Louis Obispo, maybe even all the way to San Diego.
- Or you visit Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton and ride the steam train through the redwoods.
Doing Good Together Silicon Valley offers a free local listing featuring volunteer opportunities for the whole family.
Go get a treat.
- Marianne’s in Santa Cruz is a must.
- Tin Pot Creamery in Campbell.
- Fenton’ s Ice Cream in Oakland
- Moveable Feast Willow Glen. Every Friday night from 5 – 8 pm.
- Parker Lusseau Bakery in Monterey.
- Psycho Donuts or a cupcake at Frost, both located in Campbell.
Go to the movies.
- Watch a classic at the Stanford Theatre.
- Catch a movie for $ 1 at the Cinemark Oakridge in San Jose.
- Pack a picnic and go to the drive-in movies at Capitol West Wind in San Jose.
- Outdoor Movie Nights all over the Bay Area.
Listen to music.
- Campbell Summer Concert Series. Every Thursday night in the summer.
These cities also offer a “Music in the Park” program in the summer:
and probably many more.
You can’t beat the classics.
If you live in the Bay Area, you must know these amusement parks. If you didn’t go yet, you absolutely should. One can not leave the Bay Area without screaming loud on the
- Giant Big Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk or the
- Goldstriker at California’s Great America. You can get the season pass (which includes the Halloween Haunt) at Costco for only $ 76.99.
- Get wet at Raging Waters.
- If you like furry friends better than rollercoasters or vertical drops, you should visit the Oakland Zoo. I personally like it much better than the San Francisco Zoo.
And even more adventures.
- Ziplining at Mount Hermon Adventures.
- Check out Andy Goldworthy’s Spire and walk along his Woodline Sculpture in the Presidio.
Walk up the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps in San Francisco.
- Take a trial parcour class at Bay Area Movement.
- Visit UC Berkeley, explore the Hogwarts-like Doe Library or even try to find the life-size T-Rex hiding inside one of the halls.
- Go climbing at Planet Granite, Sunnyvale or The Studio in San Jose.
- Check out the weirdest place in the Santa Cruz Mountains: The Mistery Spot
- Go kayaking at Elkhorn Slough.
- Book a Sailing Charter with Chardonnay in Santa Cruz. You can read more here.
- Go bowling at Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl, San Jose’s coolest bowling alley. It’s awesome!
- Experience a night to remember at the Summer Series of the Lick Observatory.
- Visit the Berkeley Kite Festival in July.
- Have visitors coming? Watch the plane arriving at SFO from the Bayfront Park.
- Eventually, summer will be over. Go to Glow and make a candle!
I hope you’ll find something you like on my list. I want to say thank you to my friends who shared some of their favorite things and some “secrets” with me:
Aer, Anne, Ashley, Bonnie, Jenna, Judy, Mareese, Marion, Mia, Petra and Sonja.
Have a great summer!
Bay Area Summer 2017