Picnics

Exploring Angel Island with Kids

July 6, 2017

Angel Island with kids

One of San Francisco Bay's most prominent landmarks, Angel Island has played a considerable role in the history of California and is now one of the Bay Area's favorite spots for hikers, tourists, history buffs, and anyone who just wants to get away from the busy life on the mainland. It's a great place for a family day trip, with plenty of opportunities to picnic, hike, ride a bike, learn, and just take in the surrounding natural beauty, plus there's a boat ride involved, too!

Angel Island is just a short boat ride away via the Angel Island–Tiburon Ferry. The ferry ride is quick and efficient, and it's half the fun of the trip. After the short 12-minute trip, you disembark at Ayala Cove and get ready to explore the island.

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

June 21, 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.

Awesome Spots For a Father's Day Picnic

June 4, 2017

Father's Day is Sunday, June 18. Pack a picnic and celebrate Dad's day outdoors at one of the many great picnic spots in and around Marin and Sonoma County. Here are some of our favorite places to bring our lunch (or brunch) and dine al fresco.

Bear Valley, Point Reyes

  • Bear Valley in the Point Reyes National Seashore is home to the park's visitor center as well as a large picnic area complete with tables, restrooms, charcoal grills,  and drinking water. Have a leisurely lunch outdoors, and then take a hike—there are a number of different hikes and walks you can do here that are suitable for everyone in the family, including the Earthquake Trail, the Bear Valley Trail, and the trail leading to the Morgan horse ranch. Read more about Bear Valley in our article here.

Picnics, Nature and Play at Stafford Lake Park

May 30, 2017

Stafford Lake

Stafford Lake, the reservoir that provides the town of Novato with much of its drinking water, is also the site of one of Marin's favorite outdoor recreation spots: Stafford Lake County Park. There are so many activities to do at this 139-acre park, and I'm surprised my family and I don't come here more often, especially since it's literally just around the corner from our house. If you haven't been there, you've certainly passed it on Novato Boulevard on your way out to the Cheese Factory or Point Reyes. With an upgraded play area, picnic spots, fishing, and an awesome bike park for all ages, you owe it to yourself to stop by and see what Stafford Lake has to offer!

Awesome Spots For a Mother's Day Picnic

May 1, 2017

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14. Pack a picnic and celebrate Mom's day outdoors at one of the many great picnic spots in and around Marin and Sonoma County. Here are some of our favorite places to bring our lunch (or brunch) and dine al fresco. If you want some more ideas for fantastic Mother's Day activities and outings, read our article here.

Bear Valley, Point Reyes

  • Bear Valley in the Point Reyes National Seashore is home to the park's visitor center as well as a large picnic area complete with tables, restrooms, charcoal grills,  and drinking water. Have a leisurely lunch outdoors, and then take a hike—there are a number of different hikes and walks you can do here that are suitable for everyone in the family, including the Earthquake Trail, the Bear Valley Trail, and the trail leading to the Morgan horse ranch. Read more about Bear Valley in our article here.

Celebrate Springtime at Slide Ranch's Spring Fling

April 13, 2017

Slide Ranch Spring Fling

If you haven't been to check out the beautiful and picturesque Slide Ranch in Muir Beach, now is your chance! Come to this non-profit teaching farm overlooking the ocean this Saturday to celebrate food, family, and fun at this year's Spring Fling. It all takes place on April 29, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm.

This year's Spring Fling features live kid-friendly music, local organic cuisine, hikes and tours, and hands-on farm and craft activities for all ages. Learn where your food comes from by milking goats, feeding chickens, and touring the garden, or making bread, butter, and cheese. See how a sweater is made through sheep shearing, carding and spinning wool, and other wool crafts.

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.

8 Awesome Spots For a Memorial Day Weekend Picnic

May 27, 2016

Memorial Day weekend has arrived. The weather is going to be absolutely beautiful. Pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors with your family at one of the many great picnic spots in and around Marin and Sonoma County. Here are some of our favorite places to bring our lunch and dine al fresco.

  • Bear Valley Visitor Center
    Point Reyes National Seashore

    Bear Valley in the Point Reyes National Seashore is home to the park's visitor center as well as a large picnic area complete with tables, restrooms, charcoal grills,  and drinking water. Have a leisurely lunch outdoors, and then take a hike—there are a number of different hikes and walks you can do here that are suitable for everyone in the family, including the Earthquake Trail, the Bear Valley Trail, and the trail leading to the Morgan horse ranch. Read more about Bear Valley in our article here.
  • China Camp State Park
    San Rafael

    China Camp State Park offers a variety of beautiful picnic spots overlooking San Pablo Bay. You'll find most of these picnic spots located along the winding Point San Pedro Road, most of which have nice lawns, picnic tables, charcoal grills, restrooms, and amazing views. You can also have your picnic down in China Camp Village, which also boasts historic exhibits, a pleasant little beach for wading and swimming, and a funky little snack bar that looks like it hasn't changed since the 1930s. Read more about China Camp State Park in our article here.

Splash, Slide, and Swim at the Hamilton Community Pool in Novato

May 10, 2016

Hamilton Community Pool NovatoWhen the weather turns warm, almost everyone loves going to the pool for a day of splashing and swimming in the sun. One of my family's favorite Marin public pools is the one in Novato's Hamilton neighborhood, which opens for the 2017 swim season this Friday, May 12.

My kids love Hamilton Community Pool especially for the shallow kids' pool with its play structure, water slide, and water sprayers. It's a blast for kids of all ages. There's also a larger more traditional pool for more serious swimming and water play.

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