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The Ranch at Little Hills
Provide event planning and catering services for families and corporate groups

Picnics

The Park District has over 3,806 picnic tables for throughout its 65 parks.
There are also 139 reservable group sites for groups of 35 to 500 people.

Picnics: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make a picnic reservation?

Picnic site reservations cannot be made online. Check the availability of reservable picnic sites on online, BEFORE you call! Reservations may be made by calling 1-888-EBPARKS (1-888-327-2757), press option 2. For persons with hearing impairments, please use the Telecommunications Relay Service at 711. Telephone hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-4:30pm and Fridays, 8:30am-4:00pm. The Reservations Office is open for walk-in reservations or questions Monday-Friday, 8:30-5pm.

Please Note: Unreserved Picnic Tables

Picnic tables that are not reserved are available on a first come, first served basis. Picnic tables that are not reserved, require that at least one person be present at each table. We recommend groups of 30 or less people arrive on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Which sites can I reserve?

You can check the availability of reservable picnic sites on online, but you cannot make picnic site reservations online. We do not make reservations for Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day; picnic sites become first-come, first-served on those days.

How much does it cost to make a picnic reservation?

Fees are based on the capacity of the picnic site. The size of your group may not exceed the maximum capacity for the picnic site. However, no fee reductions are made if your group size is less than the capacity, for example, if you have 150 people in a 300-person site, the fee is still $470 for residents or $650 for non-residents. Site capacities for each reservable site can be found online by searching for picnic sites under the "facilities" tab. Photos and site descriptions are also available of most reservable areas. Download: Fee Waiver Procedure Guide Adobe Acrobat PDF

Site Capacity (Maximum number of people) Alameda/Contra Costa County Residents
Cities in Alameda County
Cities in Contra Costa County
Non-Residents Security
Deposit
35 $60 $84 N/A
50 $80 $112 $50
75 $120 $168 $50
100 $160 $224 $150
150 $240 $336 $150
200 $315 $441 $150
300 $470 $658 $250
350 $545 $763 $250
500 $775 $1085 $250
200
Pavillion Sheltered Areas
(Quarry Lakes Only)
$420 $588 $250

A Reservation Fee of $8 will be added to each reservation. Fees are subject to change without notice.

What are the picnic check-in times?

Picnic reservations are for the full day; we do not book multiple reservations per day.  If you have a picnic reservation, you are required to be at the site at a specific time.  
Most parks have a 10:00am check in time.  You must be present at the reserved Picnic site by 10:00am, or the site becomes first-come first served after 10:30am, even though you have paid for the reservation.
Del Valle Picnic sites have a 9:00am check in time.  You must be present at the reserved Picnic site by 9:00am, or the site becomes first-come first served after 9:30am, even though you have paid for the reservation.
Picnic Sites within a Swim Area have an 11:00am check in time.  You must be present at the reserved Picnic site by 11:00am, or the site becomes first-come first served after 11:30am, even though you have paid for the reservation.

On Holiday weekends we suggest you arrive at your reserved site 30 minutes prior to the check in time.

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What if I don't want to make a reservation?
- Are there first-come, first-served areas?

Throughout our parks we have many picnic areas and tables that are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  First-come, first-served picnic sites usually have one or two tables with a BBQ and generally do not have a site name.  At least one person per table must be present in order to hold it. Our reservable picnic sites have a wooden post with site names posted on them (example: Big Rock, Parkside, Mallard).  Most of the reservable sites are clusters of tables and BBQs. Reservable sites will have a flyer showing who has reserved the site for the day.  If this site has not been reserved, it may be used on a first-come, first-served basis.

When can I make a picnic reservation?

LAST WEDNESDAY IN OCTOBER: Written Request Deadline for Residents of Alameda and Contra Costa County.

> > 2015 Reservation Request Form Adobe Acrobat PDF

FIRST MONDAY IN NOVEMBER: Phones Open - Residents and organizations based in Alameda and Contra Costa counties may begin making picnic reservations for the following calendar year. Requests will be considered in the following order: EBRPD events, picnic reservations part of a special event permit, written requests, and phone requests.

FIRST WEDNESDAY IN DECEMBER: Written Request Deadline for Non-Residents of Alameda and Contra Costa County.

> > 2015 Reservation Request Form Adobe Acrobat PDF

SECOND MONDAY IN JANUARY: Phones Open - Residents outside Alameda and Contra Costa counties may begin making picnic site reservations for the calendar year.

LAST DAY TO RESERVE: Picnic reservations must be made no later than three days in advance.  For Saturday or Sunday reservations, the last day to call the Reservations office is the prior Wednesday. 

What is the policy for Security Deposits?

A security deposit is charged on all picnic sites with capacity of 50 or greater. All or some of your security and damage deposit may be retained for violation of any of the terms of the contract. This deposit is fully refundable if the area is left in good condition and regular servicing will make it ready for the next group to use.  For example, all party decorations including pin±ata and balloons must be thoroughly cleaned-up. Park staff will document any issue requiring that any or all of the deposit be retained. Please note that if excessive staff intervention is required, you will be billed. If your security deposit is retained for any reason, you will be notified by email or US Mail. Otherwise, security deposits paid by credit card will be refunded within 14 working days after your picnic; checks take 4-6 weeks.

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How do I pay for my reservation?

Full payment is due for picnic reservations made less than 30 days prior to the event and the cancellation/change policy will be in effect. Reservations made more than 30 days in advance are allowed a free 7-day hold. Reservations not paid by the due date are automatically cancelled. The reservations office is not open on weekends or holidays; please plan accordingly. Payments can also be made online through your account.

If you have a reservation, you already have an account.  DO NOT CREATE A NEW ACCOUNT. 

- If you know your password, login, and select “Pay On Account” to pay by Visa or MasterCard. 

- If you gave us your email address when you made your reservation, go to the login page and click the “Forgot your password?” link and enter that email address.  Use the password sent to your email to login and select “Pay On Account” to pay by Visa or MasterCard.

- If you did not give us your email address, call Reservations at 1-888-327-2757 during business hours to pay using a Visa or MasterCard.  

- CHECKS: we must receive your pre-printed check at least 15 days in advance, made out to “East Bay Regional Park District” in the exact amount due.   

- CASH is only accepted in person at the Reservations Office.  DO NOT MAIL cash. 

- VISA and MASTERCARD charges are processed immediately and will appear on your statement as “ACT East Bay Reg. Parks –Oakland”

How do I CANCEL or CHANGE my picnic reservation?

Please view your site before confirming to make sure it suits your needs. Each picnic area is unique. IF YOU DO NOT VIEW THE SITE IN ADVANCE, A REFUND WILL NOT BE ISSUED. Cancellations/changes received more than 30 days in advance will receive 90% refund of the site use fee. Cancellations/changes made 30 to 15 days in advance will receive 75% refund of the site use fee. Cancellations/changes made 14 to 7 days in advance will receive 50% refund of the site use fee. Cancellations/changes made less than 7 days in advance will receive NO REFUND.  The $8 service charge is not refundable. Please keep in mind that picnic areas are outdoors and certain factors are beyond our control. No refunds will be issued for bees, bird droppings, wind or other uncontrollable factors.

What if it rains?

In the case of heavy rain at the park and your picnic is rained out, call the Reservations Department within 5 working days after your reservation and request a refund. The reservations agent will take your name and phone number, verify the weather with the park staff, and call you back. If it rains, but you continue to use your site, no refund will be given.

What about Fires and BBQ's at my picnic? Can I bring my own BBQ?

FIRES, including BBQs, are only allowed in existing BBQ pits or fire ring, or, a personal BBQ or gas stove may be used if placed at least 30 feet from any flammable materials including grass, weeds, wood chips, brush or buildings, and does not scorch, burn or otherwise damage lawns, tables or other park property.  Personal BBQ's may only be placed on the ground and may not be placed on picnic tables. All charcoal must be extinguished, then disposed of in marked hot coal receptacles, fire rings or BBQ pits; it is unlawful to dispose of coals anywhere else.  At least one adult must be responsible for any fires, and must extinguish it before leaving the site.  Fireworks are never allowed.  Stricter fire restrictions, including prohibition of wood/charcoal fires and up to park closures, may be in force during your visit: call 888-EBPARKS (888-327-2757), option 4 then 2, or go to www.ebparks.org/closure for current conditions.

Can I have alcohol at my picnic?

Beer and Wine are allowed in some of the parks; no other form of alcohol is allowed in any Regional Park.  Some parks restrict beer and wine to a reserved picnic area, and a $25 permit must be purchased.  Swimming is not recommended after drinking. Alcoholic Beverages are not permitted at pools, swim beaches or within 50 feet of paved roads, parking lots or posted areas.  For more information please view Ordinance 38, section 410.
Please see park specific rules:

Parks that allow Beer and Wine:
- Ardenwood
- Briones
- Castle Rock
- Coyote Hills
- Cull Canyon
- Del Valle
- Garin
- Kennedy Grove
- Lake Chabot
- Martin Luther King JR.
- Point Pinole
- Redwood
- Roberts
- Temescal
- Tilden
- Wildcat Canyon / Alvarado

Parks that require a picnic reservation and $25 permit:
- Crown Beach
- Don Castro
- Miller Knox
- Quarry Lakes

Parks that DO NOT allow Beer and Wine:
- Contra Loma
- Shadow Cliffs
- Sunol

NOTE: Hard Alcohol is never allowed in any of the East Bay Regional Parks.

Beer and Wine Permit

A fee of $25 will be charged for a beer & wine permit in parks where alcohol is restricted to reserved picnic areas. For information call 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2, then 1.

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Can I have a caterer or food truck at my picnic?

YES, AS LONG AS:

*NO individual sales may take place on site
*Food service is only for your group
*All parking and vehicle access rules are followed (i.e. no parking in red zones). Keep in mind that parking and vehicle access is limited at most sites (See caterer/vehicle access permit).

Please consider using a caterer that uses reusable, recyclable or biodegradable materials. Questions should be directed to the Reservations Department or Park Supervisor.

Can I bring my own tables and/or chairs?

YES, however; you must choose a picnic site that is large enough for your group and fits your group's needs. Keep in mind that picnic areas are not designed to have everyone in the group seated at one time. Lawn areas adjacent to reservable picnic sites are open to the public and are first-come, first-served. You may NOT take over a lawn area or reserve a site that is too small for your group and compensate by bringing extra tables.
IF YOU RESERVE A SITE THAT IS TOO SMALL FOR YOUR GROUP, YOU MAY LOSE YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT AND/OR BE ASKED TO SHUT DOWN YOUR EVENT.   

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Can I have music or amplified sound?

NO AMPLIFIED MUSIC IS PERMITTED.  Battery power may be used, but must not be audible more than 25 feet from your site.

Can I have a bounce house, jumper or other type of interactive play equipment?

JUMPERS AND BOUNCE HOUSES ARE ONLY ALLOWED WITH A PERMIT AT DESIGNATED SITES: Jumpers, bounce houses, or any other type of interactive play equipment REQUIRE A PERMIT from the Park District. You must use a provider from our approved list. Dunk tanks or combative equipment are never allowed. Please call or visit our website for details. Permits will not be issued with less than 7 days notice. Permits requested or paid for l5 days or less before the event will be charged a $25 late fee.

More information can be found at: http://www.ebparks.org/activities/permits#inflatable

What other permits do I need?

You may need other permits such as a Caterer or Vehicle Access Permit.

A full list can be found at: http://www.ebparks.org/activities/permits

What are the hours of the Reservations Department?

Reservations telephone hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-4:30pm and Fridays, 8:30am-4:00pm.  Please call 1-888-EBPARKS (1-888-327-2757), press option 2. For persons with hearing impairments, please use the Telecommunications Relay Service at 711. The Reservations Office is open for walk-in reservations or questions Monday-Friday, 8:30-5pm. 

 

Picnicking at Coyote Hills Regional Park Picnicking at MLK Jr. Regional Shoreline Picnicking at Tilden Regional Park