Lace up those hiking boots and get your gear together... it's time to hit the trail! Marin County is a paradise for families who love the outdoors, with over 50% of the county's land dedicated as protected open space. The Point Reyes National Seashore, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, and the Golden Gate National Recreation area are only a few of the outstanding natural resources that we have right in out own backyard. It's a great way to both educate children about nature and the environment and to get some exercise.

On this page, we've collected all our posts on family-friendly hikes, walks, beaches, and other outdoor activities and resources. If you have a favorite hike or place you'd like to share, or if you'd like to submit an outdoors-related post as a guest contributor, please contact us.

Explore the Mill Valley-Sausalito Bike Path

July 13, 2014

Mill Valley–Sausalito Multi-use PathMarin strives to be a bicycle-friendly place to live, so it's never to early to get your kids up on two wheels, even if it's with training wheels (which would actually make it four wheels). One of our go-to places to ride is the Mill Valley–Sausalito Multi-use Path, a 3.5-mile trail that's popular with cyclists and walkers in southern Marin.

The trail starts at Vasco Court near Edna McGuire Elementary School and travels through Mill Valley south past Camino Alto and Tamalpais High School, through Bothin Marsh Open Space Preserve, over bridges that cross creeks and sloughs, along Richardson Bay, and eventually to Gate 5 Road on the Sausalito waterfront. The trail is wide and flat and suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Along the way, you can look for birds and other wildlife in the marsh and in Richardson Bay, and take in amazing views of Mt. Tamalpais.

Fun, Sun, and Sand at San Francisco's Crissy Field

June 19, 2014

Crissy FieldThe San Francisco Presidio's Crissy Field has undergone many changes in its lifetime, from tidal marsh to military airfield to one of the Bay Area's premier recreation areas. Crissy Field is a great place to spend the day with the family, and has a wonderful mix of outdoor attractons, amenities, and local businesses, as well as spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Crissy Field is a fantastic destination for walking, bicycling, kite flying, or playing at the beach. It offers a waterfront promenade and trails that are popular with dog walkers, runners, and cyclists (and parents, judging from the number of strollers we usually see there), as well as a clean stretch of sand along San Francisco Bay.

The water here is perfect for wading and playing in the gently lapping waves. Lawn areas and picnic tables, some with charcoal grills, are available, too, so bring a picnic and your beach blanket and umbrella and spend the day. Torpedo Wharf, a pier on the north end of the field, is a popular spot for fishing and crabbing.

The Mountain Play Goes Tropical with "South Pacific"

May 19, 2014

2014 Mountain Play South PacificThe Mountain Play makes musical magic once again with its 101st production: Rodgers and Hammerstein's South PacificSet in a tropical island paradise during World War II and featuring classic songs like "Some Enchanted Evening", "Happy Talk", "Bali Ha'i", and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair", this year's production is directed by Bay Area theater pro Linda Dunn. Dunn also happens to be the ex-wife of veteran Mountain Play director Jim Dunn, who performs in South Pacific as US Navy Captain George Brackett.

South Pacific tells two parallel love stories, one of Ensign Nellie Forbush (Taylor Chalker), a spunky Navy nurse, and local French plantation owner Emile de Becque (Peter Vilkin); the other of Lieutenant Joseph Cable (Tyler Costin) and young island woman Liat (Mia Klenk). The cast also features Randy Nazarian in  as Luther Billis and Lily Tung Crystal as Bloody Mary.

As always, it's fantastic live musical entertainment for the whole family, and a don't-miss Marin experience. My kids look forward to going to the Mountain Play every year. Great tickets are still available for Mountain Play performances on May 25 and June 1, 7, 8, and 15. All shows begin at 2 pm.

Family Campouts at Slide Ranch

May 11, 2014

Slide Ranch family campoutCampfire: check. Animals and nature: check. Ocean view: check. Pack your tent, prepare your potluck meal, and come to Slide Ranch in Muir Beach for one of their Family Campouts! There are still a few spaces available for Slide Ranch's Ocean Exploration Family Campout on Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18.

From the moment you arrive at this beautiful ranch and educational resource in Muir Beach, you'll feel immersed in nature. Together, parents and children will help care for farm animals, get crafty with flowers and food, explore tide pools, and find your green fingers in our organic garden. At night, all campers gather for a family potluck dinner and a campfire under the stars, then everyone camps in Slide Ranch's spectacular coastal meadow.

On Sunday there will be a hosted continental breakfast, then campers will spend the rest of the morning preparing homemade cheese, bread, butter, and other treats harvested from the ranch's organic garden.

The Insider's Guide to the 2014 Mountain Play: South Pacific

May 9, 2014

The Mountain Play 2014 South PacificOne of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theater experience high on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for over a century! This year's 101st Mountain Play production is Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, the Broadway classic set in a tropical paradise during World War II and based on James A. Michener's novel Tales of the South Pacific.

Featuring classic songs like "Bali Ha'i", "Younger Than Springtime", and "Some Enchanted Evening", the Mountain Play's production of South Pacific is directed by Linda Dunn and features Taylor Chalker as spunky Ensign Nellie Forbush, Peter Vlikin as French plantation owner Emile de Becque, Tyler Costin as Lieutenant Joseph Cable, and Mia Klenk as Liat. South Pacific also features Randy Nazarian as Luther Billis, Lily Tung Crystal as Bloody Mary, and James Dunn (veteran director of many Mountain Play productions) as Captain George Brackett. Musical direction is by Debra Chambliss.

Hiking with Kids in Marin: Explore Old St. Hilary's Open Space Preserve in Tiburon

March 4, 2014

Old St. Hilary's Open Space PreserveFor a short, family friendly hike in southern Marin with amazing views, head to Tiburon and the Old St. Hilary's Open Space Preserve. It's a great outdoor outing for all ages, and there's plenty to see along the way, including wildflowers, wildlife, and breathtaking views, making it another of Marin County's outdoor gems.

Old St. Hilary's Open Space Preserve surrounds the namesake church, which is now administered by the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society as a historical landmark. This rare Carpenter Gothic church was built in 1888 to serve Tiburon's Catholic railroad workers, and now serves as a venue for concerts, weddings, and special events. (Tiburon, despite its genteel image today, was at one time Marin's roughest, toughest industrial town, home to railyards, codfish canneries, and a US Navy coaling station.)

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