Taking the kiddos along for a hike on one of Marin's many fantastic trails is fun and rewarding. It can be a bit of a challenge though when they want to tackle the trail on their own but can't really go that far. Then there's the fact that toddlers and preschoolers don't always have the greatest of attention spans, which means that it's great to have something to see and do along the way.
We've put together a list of our favorite hiking spots in Marin County for families with kids in preschool or younger. They're all relatively short and easy to hike—and you can take along the off-road stroller for backup, just in case. (If you're looking for hikes that are perfect for strollers but maybe a little longer than these, check out our guide to stroller hikes in Marin County.)
This weekend, we paid another visit one of our favorite outdoors spots in the Bay Area, Jack London State Historic Park. Located in the small Sonoma Valley town of Glen Ellen, it's about a 45-minute drive north from Marin and a great destination for a family outing.
The park is made up of land that was at one time the Beauty Ranch owned by renowned writer, social reformer, early sustainable agriculture advocate, and rabble-rouser Jack London (1876–1916), author of classic adventure tales like The Sea Wolf,The Call of the Wild, and White Fang. Jack London State Historic Park is always a destination for us in winter and early spring—the wildflowers are in bloom, the weather is cool and clear, and it's breathtakingly beautiful.
Since we seem to be getting a break from the rain, why not take advantage of the beautiful weather by taking a family hike? There are so many amazing spots in Marin County that are perfect for a hike or nature walk with kids, whether they're in a baby backpack, a stroller, or walking on their own.
The winter landscape in Northern California can be breathtaking, too, with bright green grass and even some wildflowers showing their faces. Here are seven of our favorite amazing Marin hikes for families, perfect for winter or any time, really. Remember to wear layered clothing, and it's usually a good idea to let the kids wear their rain boots on muddy winter trails.
The Fairway Waterfall in Novato (also known as the Arroyo de San Jose Waterfall) is a fantastic destination for a winter family hike. It's short and there's an amazing payoff at the end of the trail in the form of a 30-foot waterfall!
Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Avid4 Adventure which offers summer camps for kids K-12th grades in Mill Valley, Oakland, Palo Alto and Saratoga. Learn more at avid4.com.
While you might know about Avid4 Adventure’s popular multi-sport camps, which give kids a chance to try out a variety of fun and exciting outdoor activities, from stand-up paddleboarding and mountain biking to climbing and kayaking, you might not know about their single-sport programs. This summer Avid4 Adventure will offer several fun single-sport camps in Mill Valley: Learn to Bike!, Intro to Skateboarding, Survival Skills, Stand Up Paddleboarding, & Mountain Biking.
Happy New Year! Getting healthier and more active is always a top New Year's resolution, and we're here to help. We've compiled a list of our favorite (and our readers' favorite) ways for the whole family to get out and get active in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area in 2017.
Located at the very south end of Marin County, the Marin Headlands has much to offer for families and is one of our favorite destinations for a day of outdoor adventure. Wildlife, beaches, history, natural beauty, sweeping vistas of the Pacific and San Francisco—the Headlands has all that and more.
Now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Marin Headlands was at one time home to a Spanish and Mexican rancho, military fortifications, and Cold-war Nike missile sites. It also narrowly escaped becoming a massive housing development called Marincello back in the 1960s. Thankfully that never came to pass, and we're left with a superlative national park enjoyed by countless Bay Area residents and visitors.
The New Year always heralds the start of whale-watching season on Northern California's coast. This is the time of year when California Gray Whales (eschrichtius robustus) pass by the coast on their annual southern migration, so start planning your winter trip out to Point Reyes National Seashore to do some whale watching now. Dust off those binoculars and your telephoto lens and head out to the Point Reyes Lighthouse!
While we've had mixed results in our own whale-watching outings, we've usually seen at least a whale or two, and on one visit we saw at least a dozen pass by the lighthouse! It's an amazing experience that you'll never forget, and it's definitely worth the time it takes getting out to the lighthouse.
One of the things I love most about winter in Marin is being able to hike to a beautiful waterfall, and when it rains families have many to choose from. The waterfalls in our list here all involve hikes of varying length, and all are perfect destinations for a family outdoor outing. There's something for hikers of every ability here.
Looking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming winter break? Check out some of the great winter day camps here in Marin and the Bay Area.
Andrew's Day Camp
Location: 400 Tamal Plaza, Corte Madera
Dates: December 23–January 6
Cost: $75 per day; extended care $10 hr
Ages: kindergarten and up Andrew's Camp offers games, crafts, sports and more. Camps take place from 9 am–5 pm with extended care from 8–9 am and 5–6 pm. ABring lunch and snack. For more info,call(415) 446-8946 orvisit their website.