Description - Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area offers a comfortable setting for either small or large group picnics (some by reservation) or informal gatherings of friends and families. The grove is situated at the base of San Pablo Dam, and its whispering eucalyptus trees (planted in 1910) offer a fragrant, calm setting for all kinds of activities from company picnics to family reunions.
Long before this 218-acre area became a park, it was the site of ranchos, wheat fields, and stations for a narrow-gauge railroad that ran from Oakland to Orinda through Richmond and the Sobrante Hills. Kennedy Grove was once a portion of the 17,754-acre Rancho San Pablo. Francisco Castro took possession of the rancho in 1823. Later the grove was the site of the Clancy Ranch. In 1886 there were scheduled railroad stops of the California Nevada Railroad at Frenchman's Curve and Laurel Grove Station. The park's picnic areas are named for some of these historic railroad stops. The park was dedicated on October 22, 1967 in honor of late President John F. Kennedy.
- Kennedy Grove features a centrally located turf meadow for picnickers with enough room to toss a Frisbee, pass a football, or set up an informal softball game. (Hardball is not permitted.) Volleyball and horseshoes are popular with all ages, and equipment may be rented for a minimal fee.
The Senior Citizen Center is located at the north end of the park. The facility offers activities for seniors (age 55 and older) from the west Contra Costa County area. Dues entitle members to attend the following: drop-in open house and bingo (Mondays, 1-4 PM); business meeting (first Monday of the month); game day (Thursdays, 1-4 PM); and potluck supper (third Thursday, 5 PM). Call for details, see Contact Information for phone number.
Fern Collage is a lovely facility that holds 95 people for meetings, weddings, retreats, etc. Amenities include a kitchen, large meeting room, patio, and private, enclosed back yard. Call for details, see Contact Information for phone number.
Kennedy Grove is available April - September, 8 AM - 8 PM; October, 8 AM - 6 PM; November - February, 8 AM - 4:30 PM, March, 8 AM - 6 PM. Parking fee on weekends and holidays. Dog fee.
Recreation - Events ranging from a simple afternoon picnic to wedding receptions to a date at the bingo board or horseshoe pit, are reasons folks visit Kennedy Grove. Trails are offered to bicyclists, hikers, and horseback riders.
Climate - Climate in the San Francisco Bay area varies greatly with elevation and the amount of coastal influence. Areas with more coastal influence experience moderate temperatures year round with fog likely from June through mid-August. Plan your coastal visit in the late summer or fall to ensure the best conditions for viewing the scenery. Also, occasional clear days between winter and spring storms are incomparable. Areas further inland experience greater temperature extremes, with relatively cooler winters and hot summers. Inland areas often receive frost on winter nights. As throughout most of California most of the precipitation comes in the winter months, with April through October normally very dry.
Kennedy Grove is situated at the base of San Pablo Dam.
To reach Kennedy Grove from the Richmond area: take Interstate 80 to the San Pablo Dam Road exit. Turn south on San Pablo Dam Road and proceed through El Sobrante to the park entrance, about a quarter mile south of the intersection with Castro Ranch Road.
To reach Kennedy Grove from the Oakland / Orinda / Walnut Creek area: take Highway 24 to the Orinda exit and turn north on Camino Pablo, which becomes San Pablo Dam Road. Proceed north on San Pablo Dam Road, past the San Pablo Dam Recreation Area entrance, for about one mile to the Kennedy Grove entrance.