Alameda County is a county within the San Francisco Bay Area region of California. It lies between the east side of San Francisco Bay and extends east to the San Joaquin Valley. It lies south of Contra Costa County and extends all the way to the south end of the Bay.
- 1 Alameda
- 2 Albany
- 3 Berkeley
- 4 Castro Valley
- 5 Dublin
- 6 Emeryville
- 7 Fremont
- 8 Hayward
- 9 Livermore
- 10 Newark
- 11 Oakland
- 12 Piedmont
- 13 Pleasanton
- 14 San Leandro
- 15 Union City
National protected area
- Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge - Visitor Center (Fremont, Newark)
Alameda County East Bay Regional Parks with visitor centers
- Crown Beach - Crab Cove Visitor Center (Alameda, Oakland)
- Garin/Dry Creek Regional Park - Garin Barn Visitor Center (Hayward, Union City, Fremont)
- Coyote Hills Regional Park - Visitor Center (Union City, Fremont, Newark)
- Ardenwood Historic Farm - Visitor Center and Arden Station (Union City, Fremont, Newark)
- Sunol Regional Wildness - Old Green Barn Visitor Center (Sunol, Pleasanton, Livermore)
- Del Valle Regional Park - Rocky Ridge Visitor Center (Livermore)
In Alameda County, as in its northern neighbor, Contra Costa County, the historical change has been from Native American tribal lands to Spanish, then Mexican ranches; then to farms, ranches, and orchards; then multiple city centers and suburbs. In general, the more urban an area is, the less obvious this progression is, and the more you have to dig to find it.
The crest of the Berkeley Hills form part of the northeastern boundary, and the Oakland Hills continue into the center of the county. Further south, the Pleasanton Ridge separates the bay side urban cities - Hayward, Union City, Fremont, Newark - from the more rural cities of the Tri-Valley - Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore. On the bay side, the climate tends to be temperate, the culture diverse, and the urban traffic horrendous. East of the hills and ridges, the climate becomes less temperate (hot in the summer), the culture less diverse, and the rural traffic less horrendous.
- See also: Bay Area public transit
- 1 Contra Costa County - Alameda County's northern neighbor is a primarily residential county that offers a vast array of food, shopping, and lodging options for Bay Area visitors. The landscape is dominated by Mount Diablo, a peak that provides excellent hiking opportunities and, on clear days, summit views that stretch for well over 100 miles in all directions. Other attractions include the John Muir Historic Site in Martinez, the estate of Nobel winning playwright Eugene O'Neill in Danville, and a WWII shipyard, now a national historic site, in Richmond.
- 2 San Joaquin County - San Joaquin County lies to the east of Alameda County on the eastern edge of the California Delta, an estuary formed by the confluence of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers. Nicknamed "California's Holland" due to the extensive levee system, the area is an interesting place to explore by car or boat. Stockton is the county's largest city and is notable for being the world's most inland natural seaport.
- 3 Stanislaus County - While still primarily an agricultural county known for its almond trees, in recent years parts of Alameda County's southeastern neighbor have been transforming into a bedroom community for people trying to escape the high housing costs of the Bay Area. Travelers will find plenty of amenities, although most only see Stanislaus County while passing through on their way elsewhere.
- 4 Santa Clara County - Alameda County's southern neighbor is home to Silicon Valley, headquarters to hundreds of tech companies including giants like Apple, Intel and Hewlett Packard. Visitors will appreciate the massive array of restaurants, museums, and cultural opportunities offered by the huge city of San Jose, while at the other end of the spectrum the tiny town of Gilroy is famous for garlic, with its annual festival attracting over 100,000 garlic lovers.
- 5 San Mateo County - Located across the Bay to the west of Alameda County, San Mateo County has a split personality. Its eastern half is a heavily populated urban area, home to Silicon Valley companies, San Francisco International Airport, and all of the hotels, restaurants, malls, and other amenities needed to support a bustling population. The western half is completely different, offering an amazing escape for those looking to hike among redwoods, or who want to see seabirds, seals and whales while enjoying a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, or for couples hoping for a romantic getaway in a quiet B&B.
- 6 San Francisco County
- 7 Marin County - Visitors to Alameda County's neighbor to the northwest can see migrating gray whales while strolling the wind-swept beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore, take in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands, or soak in the majesty of the redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument. The county's tiny towns are full of character, and include the artistic enclave of Sausalito, as well as Bolinas, whose reclusive residents are notorious for removing any road sign that points the way into their town.