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.

Walk or Bike the Newest Bay Trail Section at Hamilton in Novato

August 24, 2015

The Bay Trail Novato Hamilton

The latest completed section of the Bay Trail opened last summer 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. My daughter and her second grade class actually helped work on this project, so she was excited to see the results when the trail finally opened last summer. The views are stunning, with Mt. Burdell to the north and Mt. Diablo to the east.

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!

Russian River Fun at Johnson's Beach

August 17, 2015

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 a century at 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 Fun at Marin County Beaches

August 15, 2015

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.

Abbotts Lagoon Beach

A one-and-a-half mile hike takes you over bridges and sand dunes to this beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. It's home to many shorebirds, including the endangered snowy plover. A great beach for playing in the sand, but not for swimming due to dangerous surf and rip currents.

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.

Explore the Giants at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

August 10, 2015

Armstrong RedwoodsWhen people say coast redwoods, Marin's Muir Woods usually comes to mind, but the Bay Area boasts plenty of other great places to go see these towering trees, but without the tourist crowds and parking hassles at Marin's popular redwood hotspot. Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, located just outside of the Russian River town of Guerneville, has plenty of majestic old-growth redwoods, as well as easy hiking trails, picnic areas, and a small nature center. It's definitely worth taking a mini road trip through Sebastopol up to the river!

Armstrong Redwoods was set aside as a nature preserve in the 1870s by logging baron Colonel James Armstrong. Several miles of trails wind through the park, offering opportunities for a wide range of hikes. The Pioneer and Discovery trails are short trails that are ideal for hikes with kids, and they're both navigable with a sturdy stroller.

Park in the parking lot at the entrance to the park—it's free to park here and walk or bike into the park, but if you are so inclined you can drive into the park and park the car further up for an entry fee of $8 per vehicle.

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