Gerstle Park

San Rafael Ave
San Rafael, CA 94901
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The playgrounds here sit on land purchased by Mr. Gerstle for his wife Hannah in the early 1900’s. In time they built a summer home which contained 36 bedrooms and 16 baths. In 1936 the estate was deeded to San Rafael as a park. The 3.5 acres holds a field, 28 picnic and barbecue facilities, a basketball and tennis court and playgrounds. In 1955 an arson fire destroyed the main house, the foundation of which can still be seen if you go exploring. The playgrounds are spread out over several terraces. The largest one houses a basketball court, a large grass area, four kid swings, a tire swing and an elaborate play structure on sand. The upper playground as been removed and replaced except for the unique climbing dragon.


Toilets with running water.

Drinking Water



Neighborhood street.


One thought on “Gerstle Park”

  1. This sprawling playground has tons of fun!

    Friendly moms and grannies make this park incredibly hospitable. The big kids area is well shaded and quite moist early in the morning. There were a few dozen preschoolers having loads of fun on the structure the morning I was there. My 2 year old enjoyed the slide, but was really too little for anything else. So, we ventured across the grass to the toddler area where it was appropriately sized for him. The structures were pretty standard but he still had fun climbing, sliding, and jumping about. Plenty of room and things for the tots to do. A nice little sand pit sits on the edge of it all. I do recall that there were a few short walls that were a bit on the dangerous side if you or your kid wasn’t paying attention.

    Downside: There’s nothing really special or different at this park as far as I remember. The large grassy area in the middle slopes down so playing with a ball could be difficult. But because this playground is sprawling, full of trees, and completely fenced in, it is far superior than a lot of the bland playgrounds I’ve seen.

    It would be a great place for a birthday party.

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