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.

Tips for Biking Safely With Your Child

April 18, 2015

cycling safety photoMarin Mommies presents a guest article from Fairfax Cycling Camp, who offers some tips for families on bicycle safety. Visit them online at www.fairfaxcyclingcamp.com.

From cargo bikes laden with young children, to parents and kids on their own bikes, the popularity of biking is growing in Marin and nationwide. This is something to  celebrate! The health benefits of biking are numerous, and consuming less gas gives the earth a little extra breathing room. As cyclists and owners of Fairfax Cycling Camp, we are happy to share some tips and resources to help you bike more safely with your child. We teach our campers these skills every week during our summer mountain bike camp.

Helmets, Helmets, Helmets!

Helmets are required by law for all children under 16 in California. Helmets protect your child’s developing brain from trauma which could come from even a seemingly small bump.

Just like on an airplane when you are told to secure your own oxygen mask prior to helping another, make sure your helmet is on properly before biking with your child. This does two things; first, you are protecting your brain and doing your best to make sure you’ll be around to take care of your child in the event of an accident; second, you are modeling appropriate behavior for your child. Research consistently shows that children learn by watching what the adults around them are doing. You are setting an example for your child, one that you hope they will follow long after they’ve begun riding on their own.

Easy Mountain Biking Trails for Families in Marin

April 14, 2015

Mountain biking for families in MarinMountain biking is an extremely popular activity in Marin, and for good reason—it was invented right here on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais! There's really nothing quite like a ride down the trail, and it's a great activity for the whole family.

Get your kids started on cross-country cycling by trying out some of these easy, bike-friendly Marin trails. All you'll need is a mountain bike or other off-road capable bicycle and a helmet. (Make sure you bring plenty of water and some snacks, too.)

All these trails are designated for bicycles, and have minimal hills and technical sections for easy riding and maximum fun for family riding.

One of the other benefits of riding off-road is the absence of cars and other related hazards. My daughter actually learned to ride her bike on some of these trails. Get them started early, and they'll be shredding in no time!

  • China Camp State Park near San Rafael is a popular destination for local mountain bikers. It's one of the few places in the Bay Area that has single-track trails open to cyclists, but families with beginning bikers will want to head for the wide easier paths like the Shoreline Trail. There's a $5 day-use parking pass fee here. On weekends, swing by the historic Quan Brothers Snack Shop in China Camp Village for post-ride ice cream and other treats.

10 Fun Family Outing Ideas for Spring Break

April 13, 2015

Drum bridge at Japanese Tea GardenWhat are you doing on your time off from school next week? Here are a few of our picks for fun things to do with the family around Marin County, the Bay Area, and Northern California during Spring Break. Enjoy!

Six Spectacular Spring Hikes for Families in Marin

March 17, 2015

Ring Mountain Wildflowers

Spring in California is spectacular, with an abundance of wildflowers, seasonal waterfalls (if it rains, of course), and wildlife. Before the summer heat bakes the new green hillside grass brown, get the family out on the trail at one of these great Marin hiking spots.

These hikes are perfect for a family outing at almost any time of year, but are especially nice during the spring. All the trails mentioned here are easy enough for everyone in the family to tackle, too.

Spectacular Views and Spring Wildflowers Await at Ring Mountain

March 8, 2015

Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve

Early spring 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.

We took a hike there this weekend, and spotted California poppies, yellow bush lupines, buttercups, Douglas iris, and other colorful flowers coming into bloom. If you haven't been to Ring Mountain, it's definitely worth a visit. Make sure you bring a camera—it's a great place for a family photo.

10 Cool Camps for Spring Break in Marin

March 7, 2015

Spring Break Camp in MarinLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming spring break in April? Check out our list of 10 great spring break day camps here in Marin County. Unless otherwise noted, camps take place between April 13 and 17, 2015.

  • Studio 4 Art
    1133 Grant Avenue, Novato

    (415) 596-5546
    Studio 4 Art specializes in true traditional art techniques with a modern and contemporary twist. Campers at Studio 4 Art can choose from drawing, illustration, painting (acrylic, oil, and water), cartooning, clay, ceramics, wheel-throwing, sculpture, sewing, mosaics, screen-printing, t-shirt design, mono printing, relief printing, photography, and mixed media. Each camp highlights as many of these topics as time permits. Camps take place April 13–17 from 9:30 am-–1:30 pm. Cost: $315 for the week, $68 daily drop-in (must reserve 24 hours ahead). 10% sibling discount. For more info, visit www.studio4art.net.
  • Rolling Hills Club Spring Break Camp
    351 San Andreas Drive, Novato
    (415) 897-2185

    Come explore spring with insects, flowers, eggs, fun April Fools crafts, and more. Each day has a different theme! Play games, laugh, create crafts, have lots of fun and, of course, we will sports and splash the day away! April 13–17, 9 am–4 pm. Extended care available. Cost: $60 members, $70 guests, daily; $270 members, $315 guests per week. For more info, visit their website.
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