Picnics

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.

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

May 26, 2016

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.

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 2016 swim season this Friday, May 13.

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.

Awesome Spots For a Mother's Day Picnic

April 28, 2016

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8. 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 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 19, 2016

Slide Ranch Spring FlingIf 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 23, 2016 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.

Come reconnect with the land on a guided coastal hike, watch a sheep shearing, meet baby animals, listen to the music of Marin's favorite kids' musician Tim Cain, watch a show by Dusty's Puppets, or simply relax on a picnic blanket while eating delicious local organic food.

Exploring Angel Island with Kids

September 15, 2015

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!

We took the Angel Island–Tiburon ferry over to the island this past weekend and had a great time. The ferry ride there 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.

Awesome Spots For a Father's Day Picnic

June 18, 2015

This Sunday is Father's Day, and the weather is fabulous! 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. If you want some more ideas for fantastic Father's Day activities and outings, read our article here.

  • 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.

Family Picnics at Marin's Cheese Factory

February 3, 2015

The Marin French Cheese Company Cheese Factory

One of our absolute favorite Marin picnic spots is on the grounds of the Marin French Cheese Company, located just west of Novato on Point Reyes–Petaluma Road. It's an ideal place to spend a relaxing afternoon, whether it's on a sunny winter day or during the summer, and is a must-visit place for Bay Area residents and visitors alike.

If you haven't been to the Cheese Factory (as it's known to locals), then you've surely seen it as you've driven out to the Point Reyes National Seashore from Novato or Petaluma. Both my husband and I grew up visiting this place, and of course now we come here with our own family. It's well worth the trip at almost any time of year, and it's a great first stop on the California Cheese Trail.

Outdoor Family Fun at Marin's China Camp State Park

July 8, 2014

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.

It's hard to believe that this park is just a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of San Rafael. I grew up in a neighborhood just a short distance from China Camp; it was always a favorite place to visit when I was growing up, and it still remains one of my and my family's special destinations for outdoor fun and adventure. It's all a short drive from nearly anywhere in Marin County, and there's almost too much to do in one day.

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