Best Parks in the Bay Area

It’s no secret that the Bay Area has both gorgeous views and great weather during the summer months. With the first day of Summer quickly approaching the days will continue to get longer and warmer. Of course, this means more days will be spent outdoors and a great way to spend those days is by soaking up the sun in a great park with your family. This post will outline a few of the best parks located in the Bay Area for you to enjoy!

San Francisco:

  • Yerba Buena Gardens

Although this park is relatively smaller than most, it has much to offer. Yerba Buena Gardens sits in the “Cultural Heart of San Francisco.” It’s surrounded by museums, shops, dining and beautiful sights. This park is a perfect spot to attend museums for children who are interested in exploring and learning. Attached to this park is the Children’s Creativity Museum. With a purchase of a ticket that costs around $13 children and adults can tap into their creative minds through fun activities and exhibits such as the music studio, tech lab and even an animation lab!

  • Julius Kahn Playground

This park is located on the edge of Presidio National Park. It’s most recent renovations transformed it to have a “state-of-the-art Parisian style play area.” This playground is a great place for toddlers to explore while you sit back under a shaded tree. The best part is that Presidio National Park itself is a large park that has much more to offer. If the kids or you want to get away from the playground area there are plenty of other areas to explore, such as trails, open grass fields and more!


  • Lakeside Park

This park is located by Lake Merritt and offers beautiful views. You can bird watch as well as explore by biking or walking through trails. This park also offers a unique section dedicated to a Japanese garden and Koi pond. One thing to note is that this park does charge a small fee (details in the link) for parking. But the price is well worth it!

  • Children’s Fairyland

This incredibly unique park filled with activities, rides, exhibits and more that help bring classic children stories to life! Guests pay $10 each to explore the 10-acre park and “throughout the year, Children’s Fairyland provides free passes to community members who would otherwise not be able to afford to visit.” This park is for the children in all of us! You’re able to enter an immersive world filled with magic keys and almost 60 different sets including: both Pinocchio’s and Rapunzel’s Castles, sliding down the Alice in Wonderland Tunnel, and Jack and Jill’s Hill!

San Jose:

  • Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Exploring Happy Hollow will surely provide everyone with fun, no matter the age. You can purchase a one way ticket to fun for around $15 a person. Here the whole family can enjoy exciting animal exhibits, learn new fun facts, hang out in play areas or enjoy over 15 rides and attractions! Homemade lunches are allowed into the park so you can enjoy your favorite snacks while saving some extra cash!

San Mateo:

  • Ryder Park

Ryder Park is a part of the larger Shoreline Parks in San Mateo. This park has a lot to offer to its visitors no matter their ages. You can take your pick of activities from enjoying the picnic facilities, to walking the boardwalk to observe wildlife. This park even offers a great kid friendly water area filled with splash pads so kids can cool down after enjoying the other recreational experiences.


  • Seven Seas Park

Located at 1010 Morse Ave in Sunnyvale, this park offers a great solution to any hot summer day. It’s covered with splash pads and themed water areas to keep you cool! This park is a great alternative for the little ones who might not by strong enough swimmers to spend long hours in the pool yet. The best news is that you can enjoy this park for free!

The list provided is here to help you scout your new favorite spots to relax, play, and enjoy a picnic among many other things. Looking back people might not remember the specifics of each day spent at the park, instead what they will remember is a feeling of nostalgia that will always be with them. I still remember my summer days spent running around and exploring in my favorite neighborhood parks because of all the fun and laughter shared with my loved ones.

If you like this list or feel like we left out a great spot let me know! Feel free to reach out by commenting on our post. Do you know of any unique activities that get the whole family engaged once you’re at the park? I would love to hear your tips and tricks! I hope you enjoyed this short read, and most importantly I hope you were able to find a new place where you can create lasting memories this summer.

About Jazmin Vazquez

Jazmin Vazquez is a San Diego native, currently residing in New York. She is a Sociology graduate from the University of California, San Diego. She currently works in the educational nonprofit industry with middle school age children. In her spare time she enjoys pursuing her passions for writing, social media and marketing.