Looking for a fun and cost-effective way to take a break this summer?
It might be time to give “stay-cations” a try.
The catchy almost-portmanteau has only been around since 2005, but the concept is old enough.
Instead of packing up the family for adventure abroad, use your time off to explore the lesser known adventures around you.
Who knows? You might just develop a new appreciation for your old haunts. Just be sure to apply your regular vacation rules – eat well, don’t street, and leave work out of it!
Start Small with a Walk in the Park
The East Bay Regional Parks District operates 65 parks, spanning 100,000 acres and 1,150 in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Each park has beautiful flora and fauna, and several hold historical (or even paleontological) significance.
And best of all, the Parks District website has lots of information to help you get to these parks by transit!
Let’s say you want to take an afternoon to explore Point Pinole, eat a picnic, and find all 100 species of birds that call the park home. You could drive (and pay for parking), or hop on the AC Transit 71 or 376. Even WestCAT can take you there. Find your route with the 511 Trip Planner.
Check out the East Bay Regional Park District’s summer catalog for more ideas.
Higher-Impact Day Trips
How about a day trip? You don’t need to back a toothbrush, but you can still get a new perspective.
The Martinez-News Gazzette talks up the then-new Benicia-Martinez Bridge bike and pedestrian crossing. A local bicyclist shares one choice route.
From downtown, head out Marina Vista to cross over the Benicia Bridge, ride through Benicia and back across Carquinez Bridge, and “then take San Pablo Avenue into El Cerrito and hop on BART to get to San Francisco’s Embarcadero station. From there you ride out along the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge, cross over to Marin and catch the ferry back to San Francisco and then Vallejo, back across the Carquinez bridge and home to Martinez.
Several parks in the East Bay Regional Parks District have campgrounds, if you want to really get away from it all.
Overnight with Creature Comforts
Do you live in Danville? Have you ever visited Danville’s farmers’ market? Do you see Danville as a tourist destination?
Don’t take my word for it: Danville has a great downtown.
If you really need to unplug for a few days, consider leaving the car at home, bringing a change of clothes on the County Connection and book a room in Danville for the night.
Danville not your flavor? Give any of Contra Costa County’s cute downtowns a chance, and you might find that rest and relaxation is closer than you thought.