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Middle Harbor Shoreline Park

Father and daughter looking at ducks in the pond at a park

Summer is here, and for most of us, one of the best ways to enjoy it to the fullest is with a hefty dose of outdoor fun. There’s plenty to be had near the Fourth Street East apartments, particularly if you’re keen on heading over to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park. This 38-acre expanse is something of a local Oakland point of interest, and one with an interesting history to boot. If you haven’t yet experienced the magic of this seaside paradies, we suggest you read on. Today, we’re going to be taking you into the deep waters — both on Middle Harbor Shoreline Park’s history and all there is to experience once you arrive.

General Info & History

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park is located right off of Middle Harbor Road, at the Middle Harbor on Oakland’s east side. Covering approximately 38 acres of land, the park was constructed on part of 541 acres of what was once the Oakland Naval Supply Depot. From World War II until around 1998, this site was critical to war efforts, a place where “civilian and military workers processed and shipped a wide variety of cargo, including aviation material, electronics, weapons, clothing, food, fuel, lumber, and medicine and medical equipment.”

Following its use as a Naval site, control of the land was ceded to the Port of Oakland (who still own and operate the area). Middle Harbor Shoreline Park came about from an extensive redevelopment that took place from 2002 to 2004, which included not only a restoration of beaches and grounds, but the creation of a lagoon as well. From 2004 on, the park has been open to the public, and visitors are most definitely welcome. If you’re planning on visiting, make sure you’re aware of some of the most important ground rules in advance:

Know the Park Hours — The park is open from 8:00 a.m. to dusk 7 days a week, year around. The park is closed from dusk to dawn except for special events authorized by Park Use Permit.
Be Mindful of Closures — The park will only be closed to the public during special events. Those are conducted no more than 3 times per year and advance notification is posted.
Don’t Leave Trash — Littering is subject to a fine.
Don’t Remove Anything Natural — It is unlawful to remove trees, plants, fungi or animals from the park. No collecting within the park.
Watch the Trails — Please protect park soil from erosion and conserve native plants and wildlife by staying on trails.
Most Dogs Are a No Go — MHSP does NOT allow dogs within the park. Service Dogs ON-LEASH ONLY are permitted on trails and parkland areas.
There are Strict Alcohol Rules — Alcohol is not permitted in the park unless you have obtained a special permit and the appropriate insurance. For safety reasons, Glass bottles are prohibited within the park. Hard alcohol is never permitted at MHSP.

Additionally, you may not swim, fly your drone, skateboard, start a fire, or bring any weapons to the park. All that should be common sense, but it helps to keep the rules in the back of your mind to avoid any accidental mishaps that might sour your experience. Speaking of which, there are a few points of interest in the park you’ll want to know about ahead of time, which we’ll cover in our next section.

Plenty to Do and See

When it comes to views, Middle Harbor Shoreline Park does it like few other places in Oakland can. As they’re keen to promote, “Views of the bay that have not been available to the public for the past 100 years are now abundant throughout the park. Visitors may use the free viewing binoculars at Pt. Arnold and in the observation tower.” Additionally, you’ll have fun checking out some specific features of the park, like the amphitheater that overlooks the San Francisco Bay (also the site of some amazing live performances, which we’ll be getting to). As far as specific activities you can enjoy at MHSP, these include:

Birdwatching — A great many bird make their appearance at MHSP. There are seasonal birds, which rotate as the weather in Oakland changes, but there are also a few year-round inhabitants, like the Forster's tern, western gull, double-crested cormorant, and brown pelican.
Biking & Strolling — MHSP has more than two miles of trails to follow, providing ample space for a leisurely walk or bike ride.
Fishing — You might not be able to swim here, but you can cast a line and catch some fish. You’ll need a fishing license for that, so make sure you fill out your paperwork in advance.
Picnics & BBQs — MHSP also has plenty of picnic space and tables for you to have a lovely outdoor meal. Bear in mind that picnic tables with BBQ pits will need to be reserved in advance.

For younger visitors, the park has several educational programs to take part in, through a partnership with Stepping Out Stepping In to “offer environmental education, exploration and nature play at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.” Elementary, Middle, and High School students can benefit greatly from learning about the natural world, and there are even some opportunities for adults to explore as well.

Wrapping up, that amphitheater we mentioned earlier serves as a riveting event venue, and you’ll be able to catch the occasional outdoor concert while enjoying those seaside views. The lineup features both individual acts and festivals, which you can learn more about by checking out Do The Bay’s upcoming events calendar.

More Wonders Abound at the Fourth Street East Apartments

It’s not just great community parks you’ll have access to while living at Fourth Street East — it’s all the magic of the waterfront, from the shops and restaurants to the amazing landmarks that make Oakland such a special place to call home. Back at Fourth Street, there’s even more that will make you smile, like the luxurious residences and inviting amenities — all part and parcel of apartment living done right. Ready to experience it all for yourself? Get in touch, learn what Fourth Street East is about, and prepare for a warm and hearty welcome to this refreshingly modern Oakland community.