Outdoor Activities

Hiking, nature walks, beaches, and more.

Head to Sonoma Valley for Wine Country Family Fun

April 12, 2016

Sonoma Plaza and Town Hall

Living in Marin, we're lucky to have Sonoma Valley and its world-famous Wine Country as a next-door neighbor. While many think of Sonoma Valley as a destination for wine tasting, spas, and other grown-up activities, it's also one of our favorite local places to go for family fun. There's so much for families to do here, from visiting historic sites to riding trains at Sonoma TrainTown that a single day trip doesn't do it justice.

To get your Sonoma day trip planning off to a great start, here are 10 of our favorite things to do in the Wine Country.

Have a Picnic and Play on the Sonoma Plaza

The historic Plaza is the very heart of the town of Sonoma, and it's the perfect place to spend a relaxing day in the shade. Pack lunch and bottle of wine, snag a picnic table, and hang out all day while the kids feed the ducks and put the playground through its paces. Buy your picnic supplies at local institutions like the Sonoma Cheese Factory and Basque Boulangerie, both located right across from the Plaza. Read more about it here.

Family Snow Sports Adventure at Tahoe Donner

March 28, 2016

Tahoe Donner Cross Country

While spring seems to be here in full force, there's still plenty of snow this season up in the mountains. In fact, they're expected to get another dusting of snow up in the Lake Tahoe area today. This means that there's still time to pack up the family and head to the Sierra for some fun in the snow. We recently visited the new Alder Creek Adventure Center at Tahoe Donner and had a blast trying out the wide variety of snow sports activities available there. It's an amazing destination for some active family adventures!

The spectacular new Alder Creek Adventure Center opened back in November, and serves as the headquarters for cross country skiing at Tahoe Donner. There you'll find over 100 kilometers of groomed cross country ski trails, a lovely lodge building with a lounge, restaurant, locker rooms, shop, rental center, and patio, and the opportunity to try out some other fun snow sports besides cross country skiing. It's a beautiful location and a great place to try out some snow sports activities away from the fast pace of Tahoe's downhill ski resorts.

Spectacular Views and Spring Wildflowers Await at Ring Mountain

March 22, 2016

Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve

Springtime is a perfect time to take a family hike at Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve near Tiburon. The preserve's renowned wildflower display will soon be in full swing (it's simply stunning), and you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of San Francisco, Mt. Tamalpais, and the entire Bay Area. It's one of our all-time favorite family hikes.

Right now, you'll see California poppies, yellow lupines, buttercups, white and purple Douglas iris, and other colorful flowers coming into bloom. If you haven't been to Ring Mountain, it's definitely worth a visit. It's especially lush this spring after all the rain we've been having lately. Make sure you bring a camera—it's a great place for a family photo.

Fun Spring Break Camps in Marin and Beyond

February 23, 2016

studio 4 artLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming spring break? Check out some of the great day camp programs here in Marin. Many of these camps offer drop-in sessions for last-minute fun over the break, as well as before- and after-care.

We've also included a list of community centers in Marin, all of which offer spring break camps and classes for kids.

Marin Community Centers

Fun Mid-Winter Break Camps in Marin and Beyond

February 9, 2016

studio 4 artLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming midwinter break? Check out some of the great day camp programs here in Marin. Many of these camps offer drop-in sessions for last-minute fun over the break, as well as before- and after-care.

  • Studio 4 Art
    1133 Grant Avenue
    Novato

    (415) 596-5546
    Camp takes place from February 15–19 from camp times 9 am–noon (ages 4–14) or 9 am–3 pm (ages 7–14). Campers will have the choice of many different projects each day that include painting, drawing, ceramics, mixed media and printmaking, students will create a variety of fine art projects in different art mediums. A sibling discount is offered. Cost: $265. For more info, visit their website.
  • Rolling Hills Club
    351 San Andreas Drive

    Novato
    (415) 897-2185

    The Junior Polar Bear Camp (ages 3–5) takes place February 16 and 18 from 9 am–1 pm, and Polar Beach Camp (ages 6–12) takes place February 15–19 from 9 am-4 pm. This year's theme is "Random Acts of Kindness". Activities include: stories, sensory crafts, and games. Prices start at $60/day. For more info, visit their website.

A Marin Winter Waterfall Hike at Cascade Canyon

January 5, 2016

Cascade Falls Fairfax Marin CountyOur family really loves hiking in Marin during the winter, especially when there's a waterfall involved. One of Marin's favorite family hikes is at Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve near Fairfax. The trail here winds through Elliott Nature Preserve, along San Anselmo Creek, to the 20-foot Cascade Falls. It's particularly popular during the winter and spring when the creek is flowing, but it's a great place for a fun family hike at any time of year. This easy out-and-back hike is about 1.5 miles round trip.

Start out at the trailhead on Cascade Drive in Fairfax and head onto Cascade Fire Road. San Anselmo Creek burbles along to your left, and you'll find a couple good flat spots for the kids to walk down and explore the creek. Ordinarily you'll follow Cascade Fire Road for approximately a half mile until it meets with Cascade Falls Trail, fording shallow parts of the creek in a couple spots.

Hiking With Kids in Marin: Tomales Bay Trailhead in Point Reyes

December 28, 2015

Tomales Bay Trailhead

When we're in the mood for an easy hike in West Marin with the kids, we love to head to Tomales Bay Trailhead, off Highway 1 just north of the town of Point Reyes Station. This hike is perfect for families with children of all ages, and passes through the gently rolling hills at the southern end of Tomales Bay. Be prepared to take in some sweeping views, watch for local wildlife, and meet some friendly cows wandering the meadows.

Tomales Bay Trailhead has the added benefit of being close to Point Reyes Station—it's only a few minutes north of town off of Highway 1. It's a great place to take in a hike when you don't feel like driving out all the way into Point Reyes National Seashore, and it's beautiful in its own right. The Tomales Bay Trails winds along hills and run through grassy meadows from the highway down to Tomales Bay itself.

Stafford Lake Bike Park Opens This Saturday in Novato!

August 20, 2015

Stafford Lake Bike Park

Marin families have been eagerly anticipating the opening of the Stafford Lake Bike Park, and now the day is finally here! Marin County's only public bike park opens this Saturday, August 22, at Stafford Lake County Park in Novato. The first phase of the 17-acre Bike Park has features for all skill levels, including a perimiter trail, a dual slalom, a progression jump course, a beginner pump track, and a kids' learn-to-ride area.

This Saturday, everyone will have an opportunity to try out the trails and listen to live music from Ridgeway Space Station, as well as hear from honored guests and mingle with park sponsors. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Admission is free to this event, which takes place from 10 am to 2 pm. (The regular $10 park admission will be waived.) Grab your bikes and come out to the park!

Explore Family Friendly Limantour Beach in Point Reyes

August 13, 2015

Limantour BeachDuring the summer, one surefire way to cool off in Marin is to head out to the beach. One family favorite in Marin is Limantour Beach at the Point Reyes National Seashore. Limantour boasts gentle surf, stunning views, and miles of sandy beach and is a great place to visit at any time of year.

Named after a French merchant shipwrecked here in the 1840s, Limantour Beach is located along Drake's Bay, and is close to Point Reyes Station and the Point Reyes National Seashore park headquarters on Bear Valley Road. As you drive over Inverness Ridge, you'll see evidence of the devastating 1995 Mt. Vision fire that swept through this area in the form of the young fir and pine trees that line the roadway.

Syndicate content