Lace up those hiking boots and get your gear together... it's time to hit the trail! Marin County is a paradise for families who love the outdoors, with over 50% of the county's land dedicated as protected open space. The Point Reyes National Seashore, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, and the Golden Gate National Recreation area are only a few of the outstanding natural resources that we have right in out own backyard. It's a great way to both educate children about nature and the environment and to get some exercise.

On this page, we've collected all our posts on family-friendly hikes, walks, beaches, and other outdoor activities and resources. If you have a favorite hike or place you'd like to share, or if you'd like to submit an outdoors-related post as a guest contributor, please contact us.

Great Five-and-Under Family Hikes in Marin

August 23, 2016

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.)

Russian River Fun at Johnson's Beach

August 20, 2016

Johnson's Beach Guerneville

When the temperature rises, it's fun to head to a local beach and cool off. Bay Area residents have been doing this for nearly 100 years Johnson's Beach, a laid-back, family-friendly summertime getaway on the banks of the Russian River in Guerneville. There's nothing quite like lounging in an inner tube on the river on a warm summer day with redwoods towering overhead!

Johnson's is a privately owned beach that's open to the public. Admission is free, although there's a parking fee on weekends and holidays, so pack up your beach gear and folding chairs and get ready for a lazy riverside day. The pebble beach stretches down to the river where you'll find a roped-off kiddie pool area where the little ones can splash and play. The river itself is cool, not very deep, and ideal for swimming, splashing, and floating around in an inner tube.

Family Kayak Adventures in Marin and Northern California

August 16, 2016

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.

Walk or Bike on the Bay Trail at Hamilton in Novato

August 9, 2016

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.

The Hamilton section of the Bay Trail skirts the old runway of this former air force base, which has been returned to its original wetland state. The trail is flat and accessible, and welcomes walkers and cyclists to travel along the wetlands that border San Pablo Bay. It is, of course, ideal for walking with an sturdy stroller, too.

You'll find neat little lookout areas along the way, with benches and informative placards that tell you all about the bird life in the area and about the wetland restoration project. They even have stationary binoculars mounted in them so you can take a look at the wildlife out in the wetlands. The views are stunning, with Mt. Burdell to the north and Mt. Diablo to the east.

Bat Night Returns to Olompali State Historic Park in Novato

August 4, 2016

Bat Night

This Saturday, August 6, 2016, Bat Night returns to Olompali State Park in Novato. This fun family event features an evening of bat-related crafts and activities and a chance to meet live bats in person. You'll also get to see bats exiting the park's old barn at night. It's a lot of fun, and you'll learn about the vital role bats play in our ecosystem.

Bat Night starts at 6 pm with bat snacks and bat mask decorating. A presentation by NorCal Bats follows at 8:30, and bats will emerge from the barn at dusk. Bring a flashlight and chairs or blankets to sit on while observing bats.

Summer Family Fun in North Lake Tahoe

August 2, 2016

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 amidst the towering pines and crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River.

Javascript is required to view this map.