East Bay Open-Water Swimming

A guide to the best local swim spots

Conny Bleul, a coach with Odyssey Open Water Swimming, takes a sunrise swim in the Bay.Bob Day

DIABLO MAGAZINE: June 2021

Increased fitness, unbeatable views, and an instant mood boost: the benefits of open-water swimming are drawing growing numbers of swimmers to the East Bay’s coastal waters. Whether it’s Alameda’s 2.5-mile sandy shoreline,the Berkeley Marina’s more challenging chop, or the relatively calm cove at Richmond’s Keller Beach, saltwater swimming is making a splash.

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Hetch Hetchy Gate to Yosemite; Waterfalls and No Day Pass are Big Drawing Cards

MERCURYNEWS.COM: June 1, 2021

Ginny Prior/for Bay Area News Group A spectacular waterfall can be found in Yosemite National Park at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. A hiker, above, pauses on the trail to Wapama Falls (about 5 miles round-trip). During the hike, you’re immersed in the grandeur of what John Muir described as a place as beautiful as Yosemite Valley.

Nature is really growing on us. A new survey found that almost six out of 10 Americans have developed a deeper appreciation for the outdoors since the pandemic began — and the national parks are getting much of the love.

With popular options like Yosemite National Park filling up fast this summer, though, how do you visit and still enjoy solitude? The answer is to take the road less traveled. The Hetch Hetchy gate is the least visited entrance to Yosemite and the only way into the park without securing a day pass this summer. That alone is incentive to take Highway 120 through Groveland, but there’s much more to like about this lesser known route.

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Happy Wanderer: Welk Resort San Diego experiences fun, innovative

Swimmers wear virtual reality goggles at Welk Resort San Diego, which caters to a diverse group of multigenerational vacationers these days despite famed bandleader Lawrence Welk’s original vision of just having it be a respite for fans.
Swimmers wear virtual reality goggles at Welk Resort San Diego, which caters to a diverse group of multigenerational vacationers these days despite famed bandleader Lawrence Welk’s original vision of just having it be a respite for fans.

EASTBAYTIMES.COM: MARCH 27, 2021

If there’s a silver lining to COVID-19 restrictions, it’s that the hospitality industry has found new ways to enjoy the outdoors. From electric bike rides in the country to virtual-reality goggles in the pool, resorts are reinventing what guests can do outside.

An industry leader in outdoor adventures is a group of properties started by famed bandleader Lawrence Welk. It turns out the folksy entertainer best known for champagne music was pretty perceptive about customer service.

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Post-COVID travel to Calistoga a great gift for the holidays

Mercurynews.com: December 13, 2020

Ginny Prior/for Bay Area News Group Just a block off Calistoga’s main street is Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort, where the grounds are laced with lush greenery and swaying palms fan the mineral pools, above

It’s Santa’s big week, and the presents are nestled safely under our tree, to quote a movie line from “Jingle all the Way.” Statistics show the number-one present this season is the gift card — for anything from electronics to post-pandemic travel. This year, I’m gifting travel.

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Happy Wanderer: Yosemite’s ‘shoulder season’ a great time to visit

Mercurynews.com: November 5, 2020

photo courtesy of Ginny Prior
A favorite Yosemite Valley fall hike is the pleasant, forested trek to Mirror Lake, which gets no water this time of year but features a vast expanse of sand and rocks and a nearby collection of Hoo Doos, above, on a hillside.

November brings good news for those of us ‘pining’ for outdoor adventures. Yosemite National Park is no longer requiring advance reservations. The 5-month policy requiring day passes during peak summer travel ended Nov. 1 as the park ushers in “shoulder season.” Continue reading