Outdoor Activities

Hiking, nature walks, beaches, and more.

Hiking with Kids in Marin: The Waterfall Trail at Indian Valley Open Space Preserve

January 24, 2017

Indian Valley Waterfall Novato

When the rains comes down like it has recently, it's time to gather up the kids, put on the rain boots, and hike to a waterfall in Marin. One of our favorite local waterfall hikes is the Waterfall Trail at Indian Valley Open Space Preserve in Novato, a short and easy hike that almost anyone can manage. We've even seen sturdy offroad strollers on the trail.

To get there, take the Indian Valley Fire Road from either of College of Marin's Indian Valley Campus or the Indian Valley Road trailhead to where it meets the aptly named Waterfall Trail. On they way you'll be accompanied by a rushing stream that runs along the trail. Cross over a little wooden bridge into the woods and follow the trail—you'll hear the waterfall before you can see it.

Slide Ranch Summer Day Camp 2017

January 23, 2017

Slide Ranch Summer Day Camp

Registration is now open for Marin's popular Slide Ranch Summer Day Camp, with sessions taking place from June 12 through August 18, 2017 at their spectacular seaside location in Muir Beach. Camps at Slide Ranch give kids a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience on a working farm and also explore the natural world surrounding the ranch.

Slide Ranch offers 10 nature-based camps geared for all different age groups including Ranch Rangers (ages 5 to 13), Slide Explorers (ages 5 to 8), and Junior Farmers (ages 8 to 13). Slide Ranch also offers three Junior Camp Counselor weeks for teens ages 14–18, where they attend and help teach at the camp.

Great Five-and-Under Family Hikes in Marin

January 17, 2017

Toddler preschooler hiking Marin

Taking the kiddos along for a hike on one of Marin's many fantastic trails is fun and rewarding. It can be a bit of a challenge though when they want to tackle the trail on their own but can't really go that far. Then there's the fact that toddlers and preschoolers don't always have the greatest of attention spans, which means that it's great to have something to see and do along the way.

We've put together a list of our favorite hiking spots in Marin County for families with kids in preschool or younger. They're all relatively short and easy to hike—and you can take along the off-road stroller for backup, just in case. (If you're looking for hikes that are perfect for strollers but maybe a little longer than these, check out our guide to stroller hikes in Marin County.)

Family Hike at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen

January 15, 2017

Jack London State Historic Park

This weekend, we paid another visit one of our favorite outdoors spots in the Bay Area, Jack London State Historic Park. Located in the small Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen, it's about a 45-minute drive north from Marin and a great destination for a family outing.

The park is made up of land that was at one time the Beauty Ranch owned by renowned writer, social reformer, early sustainable agriculture advocate, and rabble-rouser Jack London (1876–1916), author of classic adventure tales like The Sea Wolf, The Call of the Wild, and White Fang. Jack London State Historic Park is always a destination for us in winter and early spring—the wildflowers are in bloom, the weather is cool and clear, and it's breathtakingly beautiful.

Seven Wonderful Winter Family Hikes in Marin

January 14, 2017

Fairway Waterfall

Since we seem to be getting a break from the rain, why not take advantage of the beautiful weather by taking a family hike? There are so many amazing spots in Marin County that are perfect for a hike or nature walk with kids, whether they're in a baby backpack, a stroller, or walking on their own.

The winter landscape in Northern California can be breathtaking, too, with bright green grass and even some wildflowers showing their faces. Here are seven of our favorite amazing Marin hikes for families, perfect for winter or any time, really. Remember to wear layered clothing, and it's usually a good idea to let the kids wear their rain boots on muddy winter trails.

Learn a New Adventure Sport this Summer with Avid4 Adventure

January 6, 2017

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

While you might know about Avid4 Adventure’s popular multi-sport camps, which give kids a chance to try out a variety of fun and exciting outdoor activities, from stand-up paddleboarding and mountain biking to climbing and kayaking, you might not know about their single-sport programs. This summer Avid4 Adventure will offer several fun single-sport camps in Mill Valley: Learn to Bike!, Intro to Skateboarding, Survival Skills, Stand Up Paddleboarding, & Mountain Biking.

Get Active with the Family for the New Year

January 2, 2017

Mountain biking at China Camp

Happy New Year! Getting healthier and more active is always a top New Year's resolution, and we're here to help. We've compiled a list of our favorite (and our readers' favorite) ways for the whole family to get out and get active in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017.

Exercise your body and your brain

Take a family hike and learn about history, wildlife, and the natural world while you're at it! Our favorite place to exercise your mind and body in Marin is the Point Reyes National Seashore headquarters at Bear Valley, where you can hike the Earthquake Trail, visit a reconstructed Miwok village, meet some Morgan horses, and even become a Junior Ranger at the visitor center. Other great destinations for this include the Marin Headlands and Olompali State Historic Park near Novato.

Winter Whale and Elephant Seal Watching at Point Reyes National Seashore

December 26, 2016

Whale Watching Point Reyes

The New Year always heralds the start of whale-watching season on Northern California's coast. This is the time of year when California Gray Whales (eschrichtius robustus) pass by the coast on their annual southern migration, so start planning your winter trip out to Point Reyes National Seashore to do some whale watching now. Dust off those binoculars and your telephoto lens and head out to the Point Reyes Lighthouse!

While we've had mixed results in our own whale-watching outings, we've usually seen at least a whale or two, and on one visit we saw at least a dozen pass by the lighthouse! It's an amazing experience that you'll never forget, and it's definitely worth the time it takes getting out to the lighthouse.

Hiking with Kids in Marin: Las Gallinas Wildlife Ponds

December 5, 2016

Hiking with Kids: Las Gallinas Wildlife Ponds

I know it sounds a little strange, but a great hike that's perfect for kids can be found on the grounds of the Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District in northern San Rafael, at the complex of trails and fire roads near the district's treatment plants off of Smith Ranch Road, near McInnis Park. The gravel trails here are wide and flat, and are perfect for off-road strollers and bikes. The paths wind atop levees through the wetlands bordering San Pablo Bay, and offer amazing views of Marin.

A wide variety of birds make their homes out here, and we've seen white pelicans, Canada geese (plenty of them), mallards, cormorants, turkey vultures, several kinds of egrets, black-crowned night herons, red-wing blackbirds, and others. It's kind of a "who's who" of local avian wildlife, so make sure you bring your binoculars!

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