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Looking out over the sparkling waters of Lake Merritt, chances are you'll catch a glimpse of an authentic Venetian gondola gliding around. This is the vessel of Gondola Servizio, which operates off the dock at the popular Lake Chalet restaurant and bar. Whether you're out for a special romantic outing (they even let you bring your own wine or champagne and provide glasses) or a daytime cruise with the family around the lake, a gondola ride is always a unique experience. Gondola rides are especially popular during sunset and at night when the lake's famous "necklace of lights" is illuminated and reflecting on the water.
This water sports shop, conveniently located on the Oakland waterfront at Jack London Square, specializes in paddle sports such with a wide selection of canoes and whitewater, sea and recreational kayaks. In addition to selling used and new equipment, it offers rentals, lessons and repairs. For more than 20 years this company has been a reputable outlet for Bay Area water sports enthusiasts. Sign up for individual lessons and a knowledgeable and friendly instructor will train you at your own pace. Group classes are also available.
This little East Bay lake in the Oakland Hills is still recovering from a fire that occurred in 1991, but is nonetheless in splendid condition for recreational purposes. The swimming area, open spring through fall, offers a lifeguard on duty in the summer, plus a snack bar and changing facility. Fishing is permitted year-round and the lake is stocked with catfish, rainbow trout, largemouth bass and more. Picnicking tables are found throughout the grassy areas of the park and a playground structure helps to keep children occupied.