Outside Adventures for Households in Marin and the Bay Space
Point Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands
With the spectacular weather we’ve had, now is the perfect time to get outside and explore Marin and the Bay Area with the kids! Here are some of our favorite local outdoor adventures that are perfect for families with young children. My kids have been visiting these places since they were little and still enjoy taking a family trip to them to this day.
Crissy Field is a fantastic destination for hiking, biking, kite flying or playing on the beach. It offers a boardwalk and hiking trails that are popular with dog walkers, runners, cyclists and families, and the water here is perfect for wading and playing in the gently lapping waves. Lawns and picnic tables, some with charcoal grills, are also available, so bring a picnic and your beach blanket and umbrella and get out for the day. The backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Marin Headlands is simply stunning.
The Marin Headlands has lots to offer families and is one of our favorite destinations for a day of outdoor adventures. Wildlife, beaches, history, natural beauty, sweeping views of the Pacific and San Francisco – the Headlands has it all and more. The hike to Point Bonita Lighthouse is exciting and has amazing views, Rodeo Beach is always a great place to spend an afternoon exploring and watching the surfers and dolphins playing in the waves, and South Rodeo Beach is a remote place far less visited than its neighbor to the north.
China Camp State Park on San Pablo Bay in San Rafael is one of Marin’s hidden gems. Families with kids should hit the beach, explore the historic Chinese fishing village, and take an easy hike on the Turtle Back Nature Trail. The Quan Bros. Snack Shop in the village is open weekends for food, cold drinks and ice cream.
The Point Reyes Visitor Center near Olema is one of our favorite family adventure destinations. Walk the Earthquake Trail, which tells the story of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and its impact on Point Reyes, visit the Morgan Horse Ranch, view the exhibits at the Visitor Center, and have a picnic at the expansive grounds have picnic tables and charcoal grills.
The amazing Tolay Lake Regional Park near Petaluma is a great family outing with picnic areas, miles of trails and trails, and even some friendly farm animals (including goats, chickens, and Pete the miniature horse). Most of the hiking trails here are easy enough for families with children, and there’s always something to see. The park offers events throughout the year, including organized hikes, a “Family Farm Day” where children can help feed the animals, and the Tolay Fall Festival each October.
One of our favorite Marin County coastal destinations for families is Drakes Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore. Drakes Beach is sheltered from the weather, so when it’s windy, foggy and harsh at the Lighthouse or North Beach, Drakes is often warm and sunny. In the winter months you can often find giant northern elephant seals camping out here on the beach. It’s quite a sight to behold, and there are usually rangers or volunteers on site to help explain what’s going on.