Inexpensive and Fun Summer Kids' Activities in and around Marin
June 10, 2012Posted by pamela |
Depending on your school district, summer vacation is either here or about to arrive shortly. Regardless, it's time to start thinking of fun ways to keep the kids occupied now that they're out of school.
Here are a 10 ideas for great affordable summer activities and outings in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area. From hiking to swimming to movies to farm tours, everything listed here is either free or inexpensive. You don't have to break the bank to have a great time!
- Kids' Summer Movie Clubhouse in Marin offers fun weekly movies for kids starting Tuesday, June 14, at the Century Rowland Plaza in Novato and CinéArts Marin in Sausalito. 10 shows for $5 in advance, or $1 per show if purchased at the box office. For a list of movies, see our article here.
- Join the Summer Reading Program at the Marin County Public Libraries. Participants were awarded prizes based on the number of days spent reading new books for at least 20 minutes a day. This year's program is titled “Dream Big, Read!”. It started Saturday, June 9, but it's never too late to join in. Check with your local library branch for details.
- Cool off at one of Marin's community pools. Most community pools offer public drop-in recreational swim hours for families. Find a pool near you on our list here.
- Spend the day at one of Marin County's beaches. Some of the best in Marin beaches for swimming and wading include China Camp Beach and McNears Beach in San Rafael and Heart's Desire Beach and Chicken Ranch Beach near Inverness. For the complete list of our favorite Marin beaches, see our article here.
- Take the free tour at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma, where you can meet animals, learn about life on the farm and healthy food and farming practices. Tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays. On the first Saturday of the month, stick around for the educational "Bull Session in the Barn" programs at 5 pm. Find out more in our article here.
- Yerba Buena Gardens Children's Festival in San Francisco offers a variety of free kids shows throughout the summer. Kids' shows include Caterpillar Puppets, Pi Clowns, Circus Bella, Red Panda Acrobats, and more. For more info, visit their website.
- Make a day of it in the Marin Headlands! There's so much to do here: fly a kit on Rodeo Beach, explore old military fortifications, take a hike to Point Bonita Lighthouse, visit with seals and sea lions at the Marin Mammal Center, and more. Read about it in our article here.
- Movies in the Park presents free outdoor movies on a giant screen in parks througout Marin and San Francisco. Take in recent hits likeThe Artist, Hugo, and The Adventures of Tintin as well as classics like The Muppet Movie and The Graduate. Find more information and a schedule here.
- Visit China Camp State Park in San Rafael for outdoor activities for the whole family. Hike, mountain bike, swim, and visit the historic 19th-century Chinese fishing village. Find out more about China Camp in our article here.
- Take a short drive to the Sonoma Wine Country! Visit Cornerstone Sonoma, where there are 20 different beautifully designed gardens to admire and for kids to play in—and it's free. Visit a family friendly winery like Larsen Family Winery or Cline Cellars. You could also visit Sonoma's historic Plaza and have a picnic in the shady park there. Tuesday evenings (5:30 pm–dusk, April–October), there's a lively farmer's market on the Plaza, with entertainment and fantastic Wine Country food and drink.
Of course, there are plenty of other free or inexpensive activities for families in the area. Browse our Outdoors and Events & Outings sections for more ideas for family fun. If you have your own favorite free or inexpensive activity you'd like to share, leave a comment for this post or contact us.