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

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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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

One Fine Weekend in Pacifica: Stimulate your senses in this oceanfront refuge.

Pacifica has long been a haven for hikers, surfers, paragliders, birders, and history buffs.



Wild coast, wildlife, wildflowers. Spring is seductive in Pacifica, where hawks “surf” the thermals over a riot of eye-popping blooms. With some 3,600 acres of open space and postcard views of the coast, the best way to experience Pacifica is to engage all your senses. Continue reading