Moving to East Bay location advice

We live in the peninsula and hoping to upgrade to a larger home.  Both of our jobs moved to remote work-from-home with only the expectation of occasional office visit for meetings (not to exceed once a week) after the pandemic is over, so we are seriously considering moving to the east bay to be able to upgrade and purchase a much larger home than our current one for a lower purchase price.  Even though commuting to the peninsula will be painful, a once a week at most commute seems doable and worth it to get more space.  But picking a city has been overwhelming.  We have elementary aged kids and so a high rated public school that is strongly focused on academics is a top priority for us (since that's what we have now).  We would love if the schools have after care centers in them or walking distance from them, but can work around it since we will be working from home most days.  We are hoping for a place that is close to walking trails and/or state parks so there is place to take a walk and get exercise, a place where the kids can play and ride bikes in the community, a place with low crime rate that feels safe, and one that would be good to raise kids in.  Something that feels like San Carlos but with a lower price range.  Reasonable commute to peninsula or SF will be nice, but we already know the commute will be hard and are willing to put up with it once a week to get our kids a larger backyard and more comfortable home.  So far we have considered Walnut Creek and Danville areas, but not sure if there are other good places to raise kids in the East Bay that we should be looking at. 

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Berkeley has every element you're looking for! Good schools with high educated and motivated teachers, a real feeling of community, high on the enrichment, diversity, and walk scale, too!

Every Ivy League school sends its recruiters to Berkeley High.

Most neighborhoods are very safe.

Don't know if it's cheaper than San Carlos, though.

Walnut Creek and Danville are good choices and you are close to hiking trails.  But if your top priority is schools in order you will want Orinda followed by Moraga and Lafayette.  All three have low crime rates and are considered they best most desirable neighborhoods in the Easy Bay,  Orinda is surrounded by parks with hiking trails as is Moraga.  Downtown Lafayette and Walnut Creek have many nice restaurants and shops.  Not sure if you are going to like the commute.  Pre-covid you are looking at a travel time of 2 hrs each way.  You might want to take a look at Alamo and Diablo.  Much more desirable than Walnut Creek or Danville.  And you might want to take a look at Pleasanton.

Alameda! Super walkable community with great schools and easy commute to SF via the ferry. Much more like San Carlos than further out in the East Bay, but not sure Alameda is really all that much cheaper than San Carlos.