Inexpensive (or Free) Family Activities in the Bay Area for June

June 1, 2017

June is here, which means the end ofthe school year and summer vacation! It's time to start thinking of fun and affordable ways to keep the kids occupied when they're finally out of school. Fortunately, parents in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area will find plenty for kids to do!

Here are suggestions for great affordable summer activities and outings in Marin and the Bay Area taking for each day in the month of June. From hiking to swimming to movies to concerts, everything listed here is inexpensive or even free. You don't have to break the bank to have a great time!

All Month

Summer Reading Challenge
Marin County Free Library Branches

Join the Summer Challenge for Kids & Teens at the Marin County Public Libraries. Kids earn a Book Bucks for every 100 minutes of reading which can be redeemed for a variety of prizes. Kids who complete the Learning Challenge wil receive a Gold Medal Reader button. Teens can earn scratcher tickets by checking out books, writing book reviews, and attending teen events. Check with your local library branch for details.

Thursday, June 1

Presidio Twilight
San Francisco Presidio
5–9 pm
Presidio Twilight is the Bay Area's largest community campfire! Enjoy a large selection of international cuisine from the food trucks of Off the Grid, live music, sunset activities, and the ambiance of San Francisco’s national park for a one-of-a-kind experience. Lantern-lit cabanas and fire pits are available free on a first come, first-served basis. Additional activities include traditional games such as bean bag toss, hula hoops, and giant Jenga. More information.

Friday, June 2

Children's Garden Series: Alphabet Rockers
Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco
Friday, 11–11:30 am & 12:15–12:45 pm

Over the past decade, the Alphabet Rockers have honed a supremely engaging hip-hop act designed for children and families. With singer/songwriter Kaitlin McGaw and beatboxer/b-boy/rapper Tommy Shepherd, this powerhouse group makes the world come alive through beats, rhymes, songs and dances. Free. More information.

Opening Night: Jazz & Blues by the Bay
Gabrielson Park, Sausalito
Friday, 6:30–8 pm

Sausalito’s summertime Jazz & Blues by the Bay concerts in Gabrielson Park in downtown Sausalito have become a legendary local favorite. This Friday, The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra (blues). Grass seating is free, so come out early to get a seat. Parking is close by and there is special parking available for $5, and all funds go to benefit their 4th of July Fireworks show. More information.

Saturday, June 3

Presidio Family-Friendly Bike Ride
Presidio Visitor Center, San Francisco
10–11:30 am

Join a Presidio Park Ranger and Presidio Trust guide on this gentle 4-mile bike ride. Roll through the history and nature of the Presidio at a family-friendly pace that's fun for all! Rent a bike from Sports Basement or bring your own. For ages 8+. More information.

Headlands Treasure Hunt
Point Bonita YMCA, Sausalito
11 am–12:30 pm

Strengthen your navigational skills by finding your way to fun challenge checkpoints using only a compass and a map. Say goodbye to your GPS and Google Maps for a must-do summertime mission with your family and friends! All levels are welcome in this orienteering adventure. X marks the spot and we'll see you there! After, enjoy a great lunch and amazing ocean views for only $10 adults and $5 children under 12. Location: 981 Fort Barry, Sausalito. More information.

Sunday, June 4

Learn to Ride
Stafford Lake Bike Park, Novato
9–11 am

Learn to ride pump tracks and rollers with a Marin Parks ranger at Stafford Lake Bike Park. A limited number of bikes and helmets will be available to use on a first-come, first-served basis. Park entry fee is waived for this event. More information.

11th Annual Day on the River
Downtown Petaluma
10 am–2 pm

Bring the family for a day on the river in Petaluma. Adults $10 and kids 12 and unde are free. Everyone else paddles, pedals and rows for free. More information.

1960's Takeover of Presidio Picnic
Main Parade Ground, San Francisco
11 am–4 pm

Come out to the Main Parade Ground and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Presidio Picnic brings together the best of the Bay Area's international food scene with the beauty of this national park site. Held on the seven acre Main Parade Ground lawn, Presidio Picnic features food and drink from 30 local vendors. Free activities including yoga classes, lawn games, a Presidio photo booth, free kids bike-riding lessons from the Presidio YMCA, and nature-based arts and crafts for kids in the Presidio Adventure Zone tent. More information.

Strawberry Festival
Strawberry Recreation, Mill Valley
11:30 am–4 pm

Bring your family to this free community event. Enjoy local musicians and food venders, free carnival games, face paint and family races (some activities require addtional fees). Come play with the little fuzzy friends in the petty zoo, bounce in the jump house, climb a rock wall, hit the target on the dunk tank and enjoy a free swim at the SRD Pool. More information.

Monday, June 5

Water Park at Spring Lake Regional Park (see photo above)
Santa Rosa
11 am–6 pm

This inflatable water park includes multiple play stations for both kids and adults, including slides, bounce islands, a bouncy bridge, a trampoline, climbing cliffs, balance beam, and more. There is a $7 per vehicle parking fee (free for Sonoma County Regional Parks members), and all-day water park admission costs $10 per person. More information.

Tuesday, June 6

Toddler Puppet Circle Time
Toy Crazy, Marin Country Mart Larkspur
10:30 am–11:30 am

Join the one and only Emily Butterfly as she delights children with a very special Puppet Circle Time every Tuesday from 10:30 - 11:30 am at Toy Crazy! More information.

Wednesday, June 7

Free First Wednesday
Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
9 am–4 pm

Take the kiddos to play at the Bay Area Discovery Museum for free on the first Wednesday of the month! Don't miss the current special exhibit Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit. More information.

Circus of Smiles at Plaza Night!
Novato Library
5:30–6:15 pm

Enjoy an evening out together and laugh along with the Circus of Smiles and their "Gravity Defying Juggling Show"! Join us for this 45-min, family friendly show that will kick off our Summer Challenge program. All ages and abilities welcome. More information.

Thursday, June 8

Storytimes at the Library
Fairfax Library
11–11:40 am & 3:30–4:20 pm

Come to the Fairfax Library for storytimes on Thursday. Mother Goose on the Loose features 40 minutes of nursery rhymes, songs, and movement for babies and toddlers (11 am) and preschool storytime for ages 3–6 includes picture book storytime and crafts. More information

Friday, June 9

Children's Museum of Sonoma County
Santa Rosa
9 am–4 pm

Visit the Children's Museum of Sonoma County in Santa Rosa on Fridays for programs like Toddler Sensory play, storytime, and Crazy, Awesome, Science! More information

Saturday, June 10

Civil War Days
Angel Island State Park
11 am–3 pm (Saturday & Sunday)

Don’t miss this annual event at Angel Island's Camp Reynolds which is great for the whole family. There are plenty of activities for everyone. Learn about life during the Civil War, witness a battle and maybe even see a cannon firing! More information.

Novato Festival of Art, Wine and Music
Downtown Novato
10 am–7 pm
The Novato Chamber of Commerce's Festival of Art, Wine & Music is a free multi-generational event that incorporates unique handcrafted art, regional and imported wines, award-winning micro brews, Americana and gourmet foods, and first-rate live music. This festival stretches along Historic Downtown Novato's Grant Avenue between Redwood Boulevard and 7th Street. Families, friends and community come from all over the Bay Area to take part in this epic festival. Children get the chance to create arts and crafts, and meet the hero's of Novato Police and Fire Department. More information.

Family Fun Days
Jack London State Historic Park
10 am–12:30 pm

Come join us as we celebrate our own connections to nature through these free family events. Geared towards young learners (pre-k-2nd grade), each event will celebrate a different theme, combining natural science, art, and sustainability. While activities and learning levels support young adventurers, kids of all ages are welcome to join us as we explore forest trails and learn about nature through fun hikes, games and hands-on activities.  More information.

Sunday, June 11

JAMband Family Festival: Celebrate Summer
Park Chalet, San Francisco
3–5 pm

Celebrate the start of summer with Charity and the JAMband at San Francisco's Park Chalet. At each concert is a magical mix of music, dance, mindfulness and big family love. More information.

Monday, June 12

Explore Berkeley's Tilden Park
Berkeley
8:30 am–4 pm

For a fun family day out this summer (or any time of year, actually), head east over the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge and up into the Berkeley Hills, where you'll find Tilden Park, a 2,000-acre playground where there's literally something for everyone. From hiking trails and campgrounds to a historic carousel and scale steam trains, you'll find a lot to do here. Best of all, many of the attractions are free or very inexpensive. Here are our favorite things to do when visiting Tilden! More information. 

Tuesday, June 13

Magical Moonshine Theater Presents 'Puppylocks and the Three Bears
Pt. Reyes Library
11 am–noon

Magical Moonshine Theater presents a bilingual puppet show, Puppylocks and the Three Bears. Michael and Valerie Nelson of Magical Moonshine Theater are simply the finest puppeteers we know! This event takes place in the Point Reyes Library Meeting Room. More information.

Wednesday, June 14

Take a Jellybelly Tour
Fairfield
10 am–5 pm

The Jelly Belly factory offers a fun, tasty, and factory tours daily that's a perfect outing for families and groups. My kids love doing the factory tour and seeing how the jelly beans are made. More information.

Thursday, June 15

Presidio Stargazing Parties
Main Prade Ground, Presidio, San Francisco
7–9:30 pm

Presidio Stargazing Parties are perfect for families and people of all ages interested in seeing the universe through a telescope. The SFAA brings telescopes and amateur astronomers to guide you, unveiling some of the night sky's most interesting astronomical beauties. See the moon, planets, nebulae and galaxies up close and learn some of the constellations at a star tour. More information.

Friday, June 16

Creekside Fridays
Tennessee Valley Cabin, Mill Valley
6:30–8 pm
Bring the family, pets, chairs, and blankets to this weekly free musical event. Creekside Fridays is a series of music events for the whole family to enjoy. Each week features local musicians playing great music, a kids' area with face painting, bounce house, cotton candy, food and more. More information

Saturday June 17

Wildcare Family Hike: Rodeo Lagoon and Beach
Marin Headlands, Sausalito
10 am–1 pm

Rodeo Lagoon in the Marin Headlands offers habitat for many birds, butterflies, and botany, and is a favorite bird watching spot. We may spy Great and Snowy Egrets, and even a Great Blue Heron wading on the lagoon’s shore. We will begin at the Marin Headland’s Visitor’s Center, and then hike the Rodeo Lagoon Trail down to the beach to explore and then have lunch. Free. More information.

Campfire Program
Sonoma State Historic Park
7–8 pm
Gather ‘round the campfire in the historic Sonoma Barracks Courtyard. Join in the fun with a short talk, songs and, of course, a marshmallow roast! All ages, free of charge. More information

Northern California Pirate Festival
Vallejo Waterfront
10 am–6 pm
Navigate your way to the waterfront town of Vallejo for the Northern California Pirate Festival, which takes place from 10 am–6 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy piratical music, swordplay, pirate skills demonstrations, food, and booty! Admission is $12 for adults, free for kids 11 and under. More information.

Concerts on the Green
City Green, Downtown Novato
5–7 pm

Bring your family and a picnic and enjoy the music of Marty O'Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra on the City Green in Downtown Novato. Free outdoor summer concert for all ages! More information.

Sunday, June 18

Father's Day BBQ
Marin Country Mart, Larkspur
11 am–7 pm

Celebrate Dad and the Summer of Love with BBQ from Belcampo Meats and live music from three bands including Big Brother and the Holding Company (yes, the real one). More information

Monday, June 19

Wildcare
San Rafael
9 am–5 pm

Wildlife Ambassadors are on view in Wildcare's courtyard every day. Make sure you visit at feeding time at 10 am or 4 pm or for one of their animal presentations. More information

Tuesday, June 20

Toddler Puppet Circle Time at Toy Crazy
Marin Country Mart, Larkspur
10:30–11:30 am

Join the one and only Emily Butterfly as she delights children with a very special Puppet Circle Time every Tuesday from 10:30–11:30 am at Toy Crazy at Marin Country Mart. More information

Wednesday, June 21

Make Your Own Mini Comic
Novato Library
11 am–1 pm

The Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco will provide a two hour workshop for 6th–12th graders on how to make your very own mini comic book. The instructor will provide a warm-up exercise, a demonstration, and time to create your comic. All materials are provided. Space is limited and registration is required. Visit the information desk or call (415) 473.2050 to signup. More information

Thursday, June 22

Sterling Johnson "The Bubblesmith"
Belvedere Tiburon Library
11 am–noon

Enjoy "Bubbles Close-Up," with Sterling Johnson, bubble artist extraordinaire. Sterling will blow bubbles into bubbles, shoot bubbles up to the ceiling and have kids interacting with bubbles.  He can make bubbles using only his hands, and has been known to blow bubbles big enough to walk through. More information.

Summer Solstice Party
Spring Lake Regional Park, Santa Rosa
1–5 pm
Join us at Spring Lake Park's Environmental Discovery Center to welcome the season of long days and warm nights with hikes to Spring Lake to see "who's home”, and then create sun-inspired crafts to brighten your day. For the entire family. Free. Parking $7. More information.

Friday, June 23

Campfire Program at Chicken Ranch Beach
Chicken Ranch Beach, Inverness
7–9 pm

Join rangers for an evening of fun with local lore, legends, and campfire tales. For all ages. Make sure to bring a flashlight and dress in layers! Free. More information.

Saturday, June 24

Italian Street Painting Marin
Downtown San Rafael
10 am–8 pm

Over 100 renowned Madonnari (street painters) from across the United States will come together over art – transforming the streets into an awe-inspiring quilt of talent, color, and local history. This year's event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Event continues Sunday from 10 am–6 pm. Children ages 12 and under are free. More information

Family Movie in the Park
Pocket Park, Novato
7:45 pm

Come see Disney's Moana at the Pocket Park behind the Novato Gymnastics Center. Free! Bring your low-back lawn chairs and comfy blankets. Movie starts at approximately 8:40 pm. More information

Star Party
Robert Ferguson Observatory, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Kenwood
8 pm

Presentations on astronomical topics are given in the classroom throughout the course of the evening. Starting at dusk, the observatory's three main telescopes are open for your viewing. Docents set up additional telescopes in front of the building. Friendly and knowledgeable docents are available to answer your questions. $3 per adult, free for 18 and under; $8 parking fee. More information

Sunday, June 25

Learn to Skate
McInnis Park, San Rafael
10 am–noon

Join rangers at the McInnis skatepark for a free skating clinic. This event is geared toward new skateboarders and will focus on building confidence and skill. Bring your board, helmet, and pads. More information.

Nature for Kids: Bahia
Novato
10 am–1 pm

We’ll head to a nice clearing at the top of the ridge where the kids can explore, while we let butterflies and other creatures come to us. Remember to bring lunch. We request that no pets. More information.

Opening Day: Stern Grove Festival
Sigmund Stern Grove, San Francisco
2 pm
Celebrate Stern Grove Festival's 80th Season at The Big Picnic starring Kool & The Gang! Local R&B and funk musician Quinn DeVeaux opens the show. Free admission. From noon until 1 pm before every concert, kids of all ages are invited to participate in hands-on arts projects and programs at KidStage in the West Meadow. Kids can enjoy craft-making, singing and dance lessons, games, and more! More information.

Monday, June 26

Museum Mondays for Little Ones
Charles Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa
10 am–noon

Enjoy stories, arts and craft activities, and movement games on the last Monday of the month. Activities are designed for children ages 1 – 5 and their caregivers. More information.

Tuesday, June 27

Downtown Novato Community Farmer's Market
Downtown Novato
4–8 pm
The Novato farmer's market includes organic locally grown produce, ready-made foods and great activities for the kids. It takes place every Tuesday on Grant Avenue between 1st and 4th Streets. More information

Wednesday, June 28

Kids Concert: Juan Sanchez Concert!
San Anselmo Library
1–1:45 pm

Come to San Anselmo Library for a free concert by multilingual singer/songwriter and storyteller Juan Sanchez! Children of all ages will enjoy this special musical program. More information.

Thursday, June 29

Builder's Challenge: Marble Run
South Novato Library
2–3 pm
Children of all abilities, ages 4-12, and their families are invited to build, play, and engineer a marble run together. Registration is not required but space is limited to 30 people on a first-come, first-serve basis. Materials will be provided. More information.

Friday, June 30

Outdoor Movie Night: The Parent Trap
Pier 39, San Francisco
8:30–10 pm

Grab your blankets and settle in for a free screening of local favorite, The Parent Trap. This film is rated PG.  More information

Sun Valley Fireworks Hike
Dan Abraham Trailhead, San Rafael
8:30–10:30 pm

Hike with a rander to experience this unique preserve after dark and to take in the Marin County Fair fireworks from one of the best viewing spots. Fireworks start at 9:30 pm. Free. More information