Best Places to Fly a Kite in the Bay Area

Ana Picazo - San Francisco Bay Area
June 4, 2017

Picture the perfect spring sky: it's clear and blue, with nary a raindrop or snowflake to mar it, nothing but the occasional puffy cloud, flapping bird...and a graceful, colorful kite. If you want to take the family out to enjoy this quintessential childhood activity, here are five top Bay Area spots to take your kite out for a spin. Grab your sweater, picnic basket, blanket and kite, and get ready to have your spirits soaring high.

Crissy Field, San Francisco

With its steady, smooth winds and wide open spaces, Crissy Field is the perfect place to fly a kite. Located in San Francisco's Presidio area, the area is always full of locals and tourists alike, but with hundreds of acres of meadows, marshes, walkways, and sand, it never feels crowded. When they're not wrestling with the kite strings, your kiddos will enjoy building sandcastles, exploring the wetlands, and tossing frisbees back and forth. When all that energy has run its course, you can take the reins as they sit back and admire the way it dips and swirls in the sky with the glorious view of the bay, Alcatraz Island and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge, in the background. You can drop by the Warming Hut Bookstore and Cafe for a drink and a snack -- but with picnic tables, benches, restrooms and ample parking, there's no reason why you can't pack a lunch, spread out a blanket, and spend the day.

Ocean Beach, San Francisco

When the sun shines in San Francisco, you can bet that Ocean Beach will be filled with runners, beach combers, dog walkers, surfers -- and a kite flier or two. And why not? It is, after all, the longest (and most popular) stretch of sand in the city. You get miles and miles of shoreline to run on for launching your kite, and the ever-present winds will ensure a successful liftoff. When you're tired, you can sit on a beach blanket or perch on the sea wall where you can view passers-by or take in the majestic sight of the Pacific Ocean. You should keep your little ones out of the water -- the waves can be fierce and the tide can be strong -- but they won't miss the splashing when there are bonfires to be built and marshmallows to be roasted! Just bring your own firewood, stake out one of the fire rings scattered throughout the beach and enjoy a s'more as you watch the sun set in the West.

Cesar Chavez Park, Berkeley Marina

If you're looking for some high flying entertainment, head on over to the rolling hills and dales of Cesar Chavez Park. Home to the annual Berkeley Kite Festival in July, this 90-acre recreational area is where the serious kite runners and stunt fliers practice their tricks. On any given weekend, you might see the pros working on their swooping and dive bombing and freestyling, as well as some of the most beautiful, artistic kite creations, soaring gracefully in the strong, steady breeze. Don't worry, there's plenty of room for beginners too. If you don't have a kite, keep your eyes peeled for the solar powered Kite Store on Wheels, run by Highline Kites (sponsor of the Kite Festival), selling everything from basic delta kites to pricey quad lines. The park also has miles of trails, a dog area, and a wildlife sanctuary, as well as picnic areas, porta-potties and parking, so families can hike, picnic, play, and enjoy 360 degrees of amazing views. (Yes, on a clear day you can see San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, the Marin Headlands, and the East Bay Hills!)

Shoreline Park, Mountain View

The strong ocean winds, so important to steady kite flying, don't reach all the way down the Peninsula, but Shoreline Park's breezes are steady and predictable. They have a special kite-flying area with nary a tree in sight, and when the weather is nice there can be dozens of colorful and exotic kites in the air. Families with small children will find the open spaces beside the children's playground just fine for flying their first kites. It's ringed with trees, but the little ones love it because they can alternate between kite flying, feeding the geese, watching the sailboats on the lake, and clambering aboard the ship-shaped playground. Afterwards, don't forget to grab a hot dog and an ice cream bar at the Lakeside Cafe.

Baylands Park, Sunnyvale

South Bay kite enthusiasts who don't have the time or inclination to head up to the windier spots up north will find kite flying a breeze at Baylands Park with 5-10 mph winds that pick up as the day goes on. The large grassy field is perfect for kite flying, volleyball, and frisbee tossing. The picnic areas are well maintained, making this park a popular choice for birthday parties and company picnics, but there are lots of grassy knolls that are perfect for picnic baskets and blankets. When you've packed up your kite, don't forget to stop by the Discovery Play Area; your little explorers will have a grand time shouting to each other through the talk tubes, climbing through the modern-style play structure, following dinosaur tracks, and finding "fossils" scattered throughout.

 

Photo by Brad Carroll/flickr.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. 

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