This post contains affiliate links. My stay in Alameda as well as all meals and activities were paid for by myself.
Often overlooked by more notable spots in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alameda is full of charm and character and a great getaway with kids. Read on for everything you need to know about planning a weekend in Alameda, California with kids.
In most cases, you will head to Alameda in the afternoon. If you’re up for dining out, venture to Park Street for a variety of options ranging from fast food to unique cuisines. Have you ever tried Burmese food? If not, Burma Superstar (1345 Park Street) is a great choice. Be sure to try the Laphet Thoke (tea leaf salad).If you’re craving something sweet after, hit up Tucker’s Ice Cream (1349 Park Street) for a treat.
The DoorDash options from Alameda are plentiful so, if you prefer a night in, you will have plenty of Alameda, Oakland and Berkeley restaurants to choose from. Just order early to anticipate evening rushes and delivery time.
Sleep in, but not too late, so you can grab breakfast before a day of exploring. Check out some of the neighborhood gems like Blue Dot Cafe & Coffee Bar (1910 Encinal). With everything from a simple pastry to entrees and even a kid’s menu, there is something for everyone.
Once you’re fueled up, drive or ride bikes to the USS Hornet Museum (707 West Hornet Avenue) to explore an enormous aircraft carrier. Currently, they have limited operations (Saturday and Sundays from 10am – 5pm) but more days will open up soon. While you can buy tickets ahead of time online, you may also purchase on the ship. You can choose to explore by yourself or with a guide (additional fee). We did the self tour and it took us about 1.5 hours to explore the three decks with three kids. Be prepared to climb up and down ladders and navigate narrow corridors, especially if you want to explore the lower deck. The main deck and flight deck are much easier to navigate. Skip the stroller for this top and wear or carry little ones for easier mobility.
Everyone knows that traveling with kids means you need to factor in meal times. Luckily, there are a few options in the vicinity of the USS Hornet that the whole family will enjoy. If you’d like to enjoy a glass of wine with your meal, consider stopping at Rock Wall Wine Company (2301 Monarch Street) for a family-friendly winery with panoramic San Francisco views. No reservations needed but try to show up a few minutes before noon to be able to get a table and food ordered. The on-site caterer is Scolari’s and, while the menu is limited, it was delicious. If you prefer to grab take out to eat elsewhere, consider ordering sandwiches from Santoro’s Italian Market & Deli (475 Santa Clara Avenue).
Enjoy your afternoon at Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach. With several options within this park and adjacent for recreation, you will find a spot for the whole family. We parked at the Sand Castle Picnic Area and found a spot nearby on the beach. It can be quite windy here and that lends itself well to kite flying, windsurfing and kiteboarding. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent gear and/or get lessons from Boardsports California. For everyone else, bring a kite (linked to the one shown in the photo at the top of the page) and have some fun!
If you still need some pre-dinner entertainment for the kids in Alameda, head over to one of the many neighborhood parks like Franklin Park. With sports fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, two playgrounds (one for bigger kids and one for younger kids) plus a sand pit, you can keep the whole crew occupied. There are also bathroom facilities available.
Grab dinner out in town or even consider venturing into Oakland or Berkeley for some delicious options like Homeroom (Mac & Cheese so many different ways!).
Have extra time? Consider exploring San Francisco or even Angel Island! The Alameda Ferry Terminal will take you to San Francisco where you can connect to an Angel Island ferry. Read more here for tips for visiting Angel Island with kids.
Before departing from your weekend in Alameda with kids, be sure to grab one last meal in town. If you’re craving some diner-esque deliciousness, check our Ole’s Waffle Shop (1507 Park Street). Try to get there by 8:30am to avoid the inevitable line that will begin forming to get seated. After eating, take a quick stroll up and down Park Street and, if the kids have been good, swing by Toy Safari. It’s a massive, family-run toy store selling both new and gently used toys. Be sure to check out the items behind the locked cabinets – you’ll find old-school Fisher-Price toys, vintage Barbie dolls and other treasures.
Not quite ready to go home? Did I mention that there is a Pottery Barn Outlet Store in Alameda? I was so tempted to go but agreed it was best for everyone if we didn’t step foot inside!
Where to Stay
While hotels in Alameda proper are pretty limited, there are quite a few options for vacation rentals. We opted for a historic home in town that was oozing with charm and unique details. It was booked through AirBnB.
Some of the features of the home:
- 4 bedrooms (all upstairs)
- 1.5 bathrooms
- Spacious living and dining areas downstairs
- Backyard with BBQ grill and plenty of room for kids to play
- Access to washer/dryer on-site
- Off-street parking in driveway
- All the beach gear you need: towels, chairs and beach toys
- Plenty of dishware for children
- Baby gear is available (pack & play, high chair, baby bath)
What to Pack
I went to college nearby so I was familiar with the somewhat fickle weather of this area but still dressed everyone for cooler climates and we had a beautiful, sunny day!
- Unless there is a heat wave, pack for cooler weather and expect some cloud cover and wind. A light jacket is always good to have on hand and layering is essential for maximum comfort.
- Pajamas and cozy clothing for evenings in the house
- Comfortable walking shoes (Alameda is easy to explore on foot or by bike) as well as a sandal for the beach
- Swimsuit or wetsuit if you’re brave!
- Beach umbrella (my favorite is from Sport-Brella and available in multiple sizes) – the openness of Crown Memorial Beach is great for kites but also meets no protection from the sun
- Hat and sunglasses
- Gear for younger babies & toddlers (if applicable) – diapers, wipes, etc.