Summer Fun in Tilden Park

Yesterday could hardly be considered warm in the Bay Area, with temperatures never jumping above 68 degrees where I live. But it is summer and a weekend, thus me and the kids in my care craved more than a park, we wanted to be near a body of water. So my kids, along with two nieces and a nephew decided to pile in the truck in the afternoon and head to the hills of Tilden Park to spend time at Lake Anza, which is considered the jewel of the East Bay Regional Parks system.
As much as I get around to parks and trails, I remain amazed by the diverse options for outdoor engagement found mere minutes for my home. Tilden has a bit of something for everyone: a little farm, steam trains, merry-go-round, botanic and native plant gardens, a golf course, many trails, and stunning views from every angle.
The fair weather meant fewer people with plenty of parking and space to spread out in the sand. We were greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and we found a nice open area where the kids could remain in easy view, but a lifeguard on duty in the summer months is a big plus.
After about an hour or so of going in and out of the water, the sun faded behind the eucalyptus and the chill of the afternoon could no longer be ignored. Just before leaving the park, we stopped at a vista where other visitors were perched to appreciate the stunning views of the San Francisco Bay that reminded us why we loved this place.
If you are in or near the East Bay Area, definitely consider a visit to Tilden Park. Check out their website for a complete list of activities that are mostly free.
What is your favorite place to go swimming in the summertime?