Outdoor Activities

Hiking, nature walks, beaches, and more.

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.

Fun, Sun, and Sand at San Francisco's Crissy Field

June 19, 2015

Crissy FieldThe San Francisco Presidio's Crissy Field has undergone many changes in its lifetime, from tidal marsh to military airfield to one of the Bay Area's premier recreation areas. Crissy Field is a great place to spend the day with the family, and has a wonderful mix of outdoor attractons, amenities, and local businesses, as well as spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Crissy Field is a fantastic destination for walking, bicycling, kite flying, or playing at the beach. It offers a waterfront promenade and trails that are popular with dog walkers, runners, and cyclists (and parents, judging from the number of strollers we usually see there), as well as a clean stretch of sand along San Francisco Bay.

The water here is perfect for wading and playing in the gently lapping waves. Lawn areas and picnic tables, some with charcoal grills, are available, too, so bring a picnic and your beach blanket and umbrella and spend the day. Torpedo Wharf, a pier on the north end of the field, is a popular spot for fishing and crabbing.

"Peter Pan" Soars at the 2015 Mountain Play!

May 26, 2015

Peter Pan Mountain Play 2015

When we learned last year that the 2015 Mountain Play production was Peter Pan, we were really excited. We attended the opening performance of Peter Pan on Sunday and we were definitely not disappointed! Sir J.M. Barrie's timeless tale of the Darling Children, the boy who wouldn't grow up, Captain Hook, and the Lost Boys was presented in its 1954 Broadway musical form, with classic songs like "I Gotta Crow", "I'm Flying", and "I Won't Grow Up", among others. This year's production was directed by Michael Schwartz, with musical direction by Debra Chambliss, and choreography by Nicole Helfer.

The Mountain Play's Peter Pan is fast-paced with plenty of singing, dancing, and audience participation. Before the show, groups of pirates and Lost Boys roamed the audience to pose for photos and get the crowd excited for the performance to come.

Insider's Guide to the 2015 Mountain Play: Peter Pan!

May 4, 2015

Peter Pan cast 2015 Mountain Play

One of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theater experience high on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for over a century! This year's 102nd Mountain Play production is the timeless Broadway musical Peter Pan, based on J.M. Barrie's classic tale of the boy who wouldn't grow up, the villanous Captain Hook, and the Darling children, and Neverland.

Featuring classic songs like, "I Won't Grow Up", "I Gotta Crow", and "I'm Flying", the Mountain Play's production of Peter Pan is directed by Michael Schwartz and features Melissa Wolfklain as Peter Pan, Jeff Wiesen as Captain Hook/Mr. Darline, Susan Zelinsky as Mrs. Darling, and Davide Yen as Smee. Musical direction is, as usual,  Debra Chambliss.

Performances take place at 2 pm at Mt. Tam's Cushing Memorial Amphitheater on May 24 and 31, and June 7, 13, 14, and 21. General seating ticket prices range from $25–$40, and children 3 and under are free. Reserved seats start at $60. Order tickets online here or by phone at (415) 383-1100.

A Visit to the Marine Mammal Center

April 28, 2015

Marine Mammal Center

Ever wonder who takes care of the seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals that end up stranded on California's coast? Marin's Marine Mammal Center has been on the scene rescuing and caring for sick, injured, malnourished, and abandoned marine mammals—including elephant seals, seal lions, harbor seals, sea otters, and even whales—since 1975. Currently, the Center has over 200 patients—it's the busiest they've ever been—so it's a great time to visit and learn about what they do.

Located at Fort Cronkhite in the Marin Headlands, the Marin Mammal Center's new $32 million facility opened in the summer of 2009, and offers daily tours, as well as educational activities for the entire family, especially on Marine Science Sundays. It's a wonderful destination as an outing on its own, and as a not-to-miss part of a visit to the Headlands.

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