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.

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

May 24, 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.

"Disney's Beauty and the Beast" Brings Charm and Fun to the 2017 Mountain Play

May 24, 2017

Mountain Play Beauty and the Beast

This year's Mountain Play—the 104th, to be exact—is Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and we had a chance to see it on its opening day last Sunday. This family-friendly production of the Broadway musical has loads of charm and energetic fun and is a must-see live theater experience this spring!

Adapted from the animated feature of the same name, this classic fairy tale features features memorable songs by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice and of course plenty of Disney fun. Beauty and the Beast is directed by Jay Manley (who also directed West Side Story on Mt. Tam last season), musical direction is by David Möschler leading a live 18-piece orchestra, and choreography is by Nicole Helfer.

Family Fun at Marin County Beaches

May 20, 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.

Presidio Twilight Returns for Another Summer of Food and Family Fun

May 18, 2017

Presidio Twilight

Join Off the Grid and the Presidio Trust for the fourth season of Presidio Twilight! Opening tonight, May 18 on the Main Parade Ground of the Presidio, Presidio Twilight runs every Thursday from 5-9 pm and features a large selection of international cuisine, live music, sunset activities, and the ambiance of San Francisco’s national park for a one-of-a-kind experience. Lantern-lit cabanas and fire pits underscore the “picnic at dusk” atmosphere and are available to all on a first-come, first-served basis at no cost.

Hit the Trail at Indian Valley Open Space Preserve

May 9, 2017

Indian Valley Open Space Preserve

One of the great things about living in Marin is the amount of easily accessible open space. Almost everyone has at least one trailhead right around the corner, so there's no excuse not to take the family on an outdoor excursion whenever possible. One of the most popular areas for hiking, horseback riding, cycling, and more in northern Marin is Indian Valley Open Space Preserve in Novato.

Located adjacent to the College of Marin's Indian Valley Campus, this 885-acre preserve is criss-crossed by a wide variety of trails, most shaded by oaks and California bay laurels, making it a pleasant place to go for a hike on a hot day. During various times of the year you can find a waterfall, wildflowers, and peaceful Pacheco pond, which is often teeming with wildlife like toads, frogs, fish, and newts. It's a popular destination for school groups studying our ecosystem.

Summertime Adventure for the Littlest Campers in Mill Valley

May 4, 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.

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