Sometimes the urge to breathe deeply of a sea breeze comes on as strong as an appetite at lunchtime. Fortunately, the East Bay Regional Parks District offers multiple ways to satiate the desire for a shoreline ramble with your best friend.
Best known for its canine recreation opportunities is 23-acre Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond. It’s one of the largest and busiest public off-leash dog parks in the nation with more than 500,000 dog visits per year.
You’ll find scores of people and dogs there on almost any given day, many of whom retire after a romp to Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub, where the inevitable shoreline muck can be scrubbed away.
Moving down the coast, Hayward Regional Shoreline near the San Mateo Bridge is 1,811 acres of salt, fresh and brackish water marshes, seasonal wetlands and public trails.
Leashed dogs are allowed starting at Marina Point in San Leandro down to Winton, a distance of several miles, but not south of there due to ongoing restoration.
The trail is part of the San Francisco Bay Trail system that eventually will link nine counties and 47 communities. There’s little shade, but you’ll enjoy a bracing breeze and likely spot lots of wildlife.
Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline, just south of Oakland International Airport in San Leandro, is a work in progress where dogs under voice control can romp leash-free away from developed areas while their humans soak up views of hawks soaring above the bay.
The site, a former landfill undergoing conversion to a parkland, has pit toilets, trails, picnic areas and a few benches, but no potable water until new lines are installed. A segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail traces its outer perimeter.
Big Break Regional Shoreline, part of the so-called “Inland Coast” at the mouth of the San Francisco/San Joaquin estuary, is home to 70 species of birds.
Most park users come simply to enjoy cool marine breezes in summer. Bass fishing is the most popular recreational activity, but hikers, bikers, dog walkers and equestrians can explore along the Big Break Regional Trail, which runs along the park’s southern edge.
Dogs must be leashed and stay on the trail, but that shouldn’t inhibit your enjoyment of this off-the-beaten-track slice of shoreline.