Advice about Lamorinda Parks

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Park in Lamorinda for 12YO sleepover birthday party?

March 2015

I am planning to throw a sleepover camp birthday party for a bunch of 12 year-old boys. Do you know of any park in the Lamorinda area where we could set up a big family tent (12 ppl.), have a fire and spend the night? The idea is that parents will bring their kids in the afternoon and will pick them up after breakfast. It obviously needs to be in town or really close. Also, do you have any food ideas for a party like that? Thanks. Anon.

I highly doubt that any city park will allow you to just camp there. You will need to book a group campsite or a couple of individual campsites (they usually allow 6 people max per individual campsite) at a park that offers them (e.g. Mount Diablo State Park). Unless you are looking for a weeknight, you'll often have to book several months in advance, especially for group campsites.

Food will depend on what type of equipment you have available. Burgers and hot dogs if you have grilling facilities, a campstove and made-ahead chili or pasta with one or two sauces if you can't grill. For breakfast I would make eggs scrambled with veggies and meat (unless you have vegetarians in the crowd).

Also note that with the drought, more and more parks have restrictions limiting open fires. Happy Camper

I believe there is overnight camping allowed in Briones, near the Bear Creek staging area in Orinda. You may have to hike in a bit, but I think you can also park in an area that is accessible to the camp grounds. From their web site:

Group Camping

Briones Regional Park's three group camping areas--Wee-Ta-Chi, Maud Whalen, and Homestead Valley-may be reserved by calling 1-888-EBPARKS or 1-888-327-2757, press option 2 or by writing to EBRPD Reservations, 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, P.O. Box 5381, Oakland, CA 94605-0381. Reservations must be made at least 5 days in advance.

You can check availability and see photos of the campsite on our Facilities Search page. Claire

I don't think there's anyplace in Lamorinda that allows overnight camping. There are a couple of campgrounds on Mt. Diablo though:

Juniper Campground: (36 sites, elevation 3000 ft). Located approximately 2 miles below the summit on Summit Road, Juniper is known for its views.

Live Oak Campground: (22 sites, elevation 1450 ft.) Located one mile above the Southgate entrance Station, off Southgate Road. Live Oak is near Rock City. At Rock City one can explore interesting rock formations. **This one would fun -- kids love rock city

Junction Campground: (6 sites, elevation 2200 ft.) Located where Southgate and Northgate meet at the Ranger Station. This campground is situated in an open woodland area.

You can also camp at Chabot Regional Park in the Oakland hills. WC Mom

I've organized group camping trips for a preschool and for groups of friends. The East Bay Regional Parks District has group camping at Las Trampas and Redwood Regional Parks in close proximity to Lamorinda (other group camps are at Tilden, Chabot, Del Valle, Coyote Hills, Black Diamond Mines, Garin, Briones, Point Pinole, and Round Valley). There are family camps at Sunol, Chabot, and Del Valle. Of these, I've used the Tilden group camps and the Del Valle and Chabot family camps. I've seen the Redwood and Coyote Hills group sites and both look very nice. The Redwood sites are accessible from the Redwood gate, which is easily accessible from Moraga, and the location is lovely (I've hiked the trail that runs past the group sites; it runs up a creek through the redwoods). The sites are away from the parking lot, but if they run it like the Tilden sites, they will give you the combination to the gate so you can drive your equipment in. Oh, and because you aren't an organized group, EBRPD requires a hefty safety deposit (refundable).

There's also Mount Diablo State Park which has both group and family camps. We did a birthday campout for 20 people at, I think, the Boundary group campsite. Wildly successful, but the raccoons were out of control. You really need to lock everything up at night. While Mt. Diablo is fairly close, it still takes a long time to get to the campsites in the center of the park.

Have fun. Just talking about it makes me want to do it again. Carrie