On Memorial Day weekend, everyone often seems headed in the same direction: out of town. This can make holiday driving a real headache — not what you need when you want take a break from it all. Here are close-to-home suggestions for getting off the beaten path, being outdoors or just stocking up on supplies.
- Many people know about Tilden Park and Wildcat Canyon, but have you heard of Pinole Valley Park? It’s doubtful that people will be flocking en masse to this little-known mecca of outdoor lushness, so print out a map and head to the bountiful dog park in the Pinole Valley Park parking area or travel on Downer Trail up to the Sobrante Ridge Trail, which heads all the way to Sobrante Ridge Regional Park.
- If you want supplies for a giant smoking barbeque or a campout, head over to Big 5. The local franchise is having a sale that includes heavy discounts on a four-burner gas grill and 5-pound poly sleeping bags.
- If your dog is staring at you forlornly and begging for a long easy walk by the Bay, take him or her over to Point Pinole, a wide-open regional preserve with breathtaking views of the Bay, Mount Tamalpais and the Hercules hills. Your dog will appreciate up to a five-mile flat walk while you experience panoramic views. Bring cash: the parking fee is around $5, including your pet. The parking lot may seem crowded, but once you get out of the main picnic areas, it’s amazing how empty the park seems.
- A lot of people are going to be headed to the most popular theaters in the Berkeley and Oakland areas, making the lines long and the stress level high. The Century Richmond Hilltop Theatre has plenty of parking and many popular titles, especially on this big holiday weekend.
- Last, but not least, how about kicking off your shoes, sitting outside if there is some sun and making yourself some sweet watermelon ice to drink while you read a book? You deserve it.