Outdoor Activities

Hiking, nature walks, beaches, and more.

Explore Berkeley's Tilden Park for Family Fun and Adventure

July 11, 2017

Tilden Park Little Farm

For a fun family day out this summer (or any time of year, actually), head east over the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge and up into the Berkeley Hills, where you'll find Tilden Park, a 2,000-acre playground where there's literally something for everyone. Part of the East Bay Regional Parks system, Tilden is so big and there's so much to do here, that it really bears repeat visits!

From hiking trails and campgrounds to a historic carousel and scale steam trains, you'll find a lot to do here. Best of all, many of the attractions are free or very inexpensive. Here are our favorite things to do when visiting Tilden!

Tilden Nature Area and Little Farm

One of the busiest areas of Tilden Park is the Nature Area, and for good reason. This part of the park is home to the Little Farm, the Environmental Education Center, and numerous family friendly hiking trails, as well as group campgrounds, picnic areas, and a playground. It's located right off Canon Drive at the north end of the park.

Walk or Bike on the Bay Trail at Hamilton in Novato

July 10, 2017

The Bay Trail Novato Hamilton

The Bay Trail opened in the summer of 2014 in Novato's Hamilton neighborhood, and it's one of our favorite Marin spots for short hike or bike ride with the kids. With easy access from several points in Hamilton and stunning views, this is a great place for families to head outdoors for an active outing.

Nature for Kids Hikes with Marin County Parks Are Fun and Fascinating

July 9, 2017

Nature for Kids Marin Parks David Herlocker

Spending time in the outdoors as a family this fall can be both fun and educational: get some exercise, explore Marin County's many parks and open space preserves, take advantage of our often lovely fall weather, and learn about the natural wonders that can be found all around us. A fantastic and eye-opening way to get out and experience nature in Marin is to take part in one of the naturalist-led family outings offered by Marin County Parks.

The parks department's Nature for Kids outings take place at Marin's many open space areas, and feature a leisurely, kid-paced hike with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way. The hikes are informal and unstructured, and perfect for kids of all ages, although they seem geared for kids ages 3 to 12.

Exploring Angel Island with Kids

July 6, 2017

Angel Island with kids

One of San Francisco Bay's most prominent landmarks, Angel Island has played a considerable role in the history of California and is now one of the Bay Area's favorite spots for hikers, tourists, history buffs, and anyone who just wants to get away from the busy life on the mainland. It's a great place for a family day trip, with plenty of opportunities to picnic, hike, ride a bike, learn, and just take in the surrounding natural beauty, plus there's a boat ride involved, too!

Angel Island is just a short boat ride away via the Angel Island–Tiburon Ferry. The ferry ride is quick and efficient, and it's half the fun of the trip. After the short 12-minute trip, you disembark at Ayala Cove and get ready to explore the island.

Summertime Adventure for the Littlest Campers in Mill Valley

June 28, 2017

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Avid4 Adventure which offers summer camps for kids from pre-K to 12th grade in Mill Valley, as well as Oakland, Palo Alto and Saratoga. Learn more at avid4.com.

This summer, even the youngest campers can have an adventurous fun time with the camps offered in Mill Valley for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and first graders by Avid4 Adventure. Choose from Discovery for pre-K, Explorer for kids in kindergarten and first grade, and Learn to Bike, for pre-K through first grade.

Summer Family Fun in North Lake Tahoe

June 27, 2017

Commons Beach, Tahoe City

Lake Tahoe is without question one of California's classic family vacation destinations year-round. While a lot of people think of it in terms of winter sports, we think it has a special charm in the summer.

One of our favorite places to stay and play lakeside is in and around the lovely north Lake Tahoe town of Tahoe City. You can hike, bike, boat, kayak, swim, raft, or just relax amid the towering pines and crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River.

Family Kayak Adventures in Marin and Northern California

June 26, 2017

Kayaking

One of the activities we love to do is kayaking. It's a fantastic way to experience nature and peacefully explore local waterways. What we love most about it is that it's an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages! Tandem kayaks often have a third seat for a small child, and kids can easily pick up the skills needed to paddle their craft through the water. It's fun and great exercise.

For beginners, all these kayak rental outfits offer the sit-on-top style ocean kayaks, which are stable, lightweight, and easy to paddle. The only drawback is that you can get a little wet while you're paddling, but then that's part of the fun. We've kayak on lakes, bays, and rivers, and each type of location offers a different experience.

Swimming, Play and More at McNears Beach Park in San Rafael

June 21, 2017

McNears Beach Park is one of those special places that I hold close to my heart. I grew up literally around the corner from it, and spent a lot of time there as a child. It's still one of my favorite places to spend the day in Marin, especially now that I have kids of my own. McNear's Beach is a 55-acre county park located on the shores of San Pablo Bay. It's the a perfect place to go on a warm day to wade in the bay, swim in the pool, picnic, fish, take in spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay Area, and more.

McNears Beach has been popular with Bay Area residents since the 19th century, when the McNear family owned most of the property in what eventually would become San Rafael's Peacock Gap neighborhood. The McNears operated a beach resort at the present location of the park, as well as a nearby quarry and brickyard.

Family Fun at Marin County Beaches

June 18, 2017

Marin County Beaches

My family loves to go to the beach, and there are plenty of places to do this in and around Marin. While many of the beaches along the Pacific Ocean are unsuitable for swimming, there are also many beaches that are ideal spots for swimming, wading, and splashing in the water, especially on warm summer (and also spring and fall) days. Here are some of our favorites. Click on the links for more info.

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