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.

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.

Get Away to Amazing Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe

July 31, 2016

Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is one of California's premier vacation destinations and for us, there's no place that showcases the area's natural beauty more than Emerald Bay. Located off Highway 89 about 12 miles north of South Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay offers stunning views and outdoor activities for the whole family, including hiking, swimming, kayaking, and more.

The focus point of Emerald Bay State Park is centered on the area around Vikingsholm, a Scandanvian-style mansion built back in the 1920s. To get there, park in the lot and then, after taking in the view at the scenic overlook, hike down to the beach. The hike is about one mile with a 500-foot elevation change; while the trip down is easy, the hike back can be a bit of a challenge. We saw plenty of families with small kids tackling it, though, and it's not that tough if you take it in stages.

Outdoor Family Fun at Marin's China Camp State Park

July 28, 2016

China Camp State Park San Rafael One of Marin's underrated treasures is China Camp State Park, located east of San Rafael. It's not as famous or flashy as other local outdoors spots like Mt. Tam, Muir Woods, or Point Reyes, but it has a charm all its own and offers plenty for families to do and see.

Situated on the shores of San Pablo Bay, China Camp State Park offers stunning views, plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails, walk-in camp sites, picnic areas, beaches, and a historic 19th-century Chinese fishing village. Topography ranges from oak woodland to grassland to salt marsh, with even some redwoods thrown in for good measure.

7 Sensational Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

July 26, 2016

Cool off at Spring Lake Water Park

When the summer temperatures start to heat up, then it's time to find a place to cool off with the kiddos. Here are our favorite ways to beat the heat with the family on hot day in Marin and the Bay Area.

Take a ferry ride to Angel Island

Hop on the ferry in Tiburon and take a refreshing ferry ride over the Bay to Angel Island State Park. Explore historic sites, splash on the beach in Ayala Cove, have a picnic, or just relax.

Family Fun at Marin County Beaches

July 24, 2016

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.

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