By Kathy Chouteau
Valentine’s Day is Tues., Feb. 14, which sent me into a daydream about some of my favorite make-out spots with my sweet guy. Turns out that a number of my favorite scenic spots in Richmond and beyond are also great places to kiss. An added plus: most are free to enjoy! Let us know your favorite spots to smooch in the comments.
Vincent Park Beach: Past the playground and left on the pathway is a great little beach at Barbara and Jay Vincent Park at the Richmond Marina. My family has spent many a memorable day running our pug on this beach while our son ponders a swim to San Francisco. Steal away from it all by sitting on the sand, taking in the bay vistas, appreciating all that you’re grateful for—especially your partner—and puckering up. Follow Marina Bay Parkway toward the water and to the end to reach the park.
Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park: Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, or “Point Pinole” as it’s fondly known, is another place to kiss while enjoying Richmond’s bay vistas—some of which offer unobstructed views of Mt. Tam. There are trails to enjoy and usually a party or festival at the park, but my favorite place is on the shoreline, where tranquility, magnificent vistas and some alone time with your love await.
Mount Diablo State Park. When you’re in love, you’re on top of the world, and when you’re in love in Contra Costa County, you might consider heading to Mt. Diablo. Contra Costa County’s tallest peak is 3,849 feet high and surrounded by low, rolling hills and broad, flat valleys, “so the view from the top is remarkable and affords spectacular opportunities for pictures,” said state officials, adding, “When conditions are best, you can see almost 200 miles.” Not a bad place to smooch or to get married. Find Mt. Diablo State Park at 1300 North Gate Rd. in Walnut Creek ($10 vehicle entrance fee).
Path to Enlightenment: The Gyuto Foundation is one of my favorite places—and with Founder/Director Thupten Donyo having once toured with the Grateful Dead—I’m sure the Buddhist monastery won’t mind a smooch or two on its grounds. The “Path to Enlightenment” can be found through Gyuto’s front gate to the left. Along the short trail, you’ll be greeted by towering Redwoods, Tibetan prayer flags, stunning views of Wildcat Canyon and peaceful privacy. Find your spot to share the love. Located at 6401 Bernhard Ave. in Richmond.
The Factory Bar Patio: I love the corner umbrella table on The Factory Bar’s patio, amid its lavish gardens, which are especially plush in the spring and summer. Plus, who isn’t down for a little tasteful PDA, especially if it comes along with inventive spirits like the “Dirty Girl” or “Hurry Up! Henry?” Find The Factory Bar at 12517 San Pablo Ave. in Richmond.