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Fall Family Festivals in the Bay Area

August 21, 2017

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin PatchFall is one of our favorite times of year, and there's so much family fun to be found in Marin and beyond. Find a family-friendly fall festival, fair or Oktoberfest to celebrate the season. We'll keep updating our list of events for Marin and beyond as we find more this fall. If you have an event you'd like to see added to the list, please contact us.

  • Sausalito Art Festival
    September 2–4
    A Marin County tradition for over half a century, the Sausalito Art Festival returns to Marinship Park this Labor Day Weekend, September 3 to 5, for its 64th season. The family friendly festival showcases the works of the finest local, national and international artists, with thousands of original works of art by 260 artists, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, fiber art, fine glass, woodwork, mixed media, and photography. Event website
  • Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival
    September 16 & 17, 10 am–5 pm
    Celebrate over 60 years of art under the redwoods at Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival in Old Mill Park, 325 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley.  There will be 130 fine artists from all over the country in all media, live music and children’s entertainment each day. Event Website.

Have a Pumpkin Patch Birthday Party this Fall!

August 21, 2017

Pumpkin Patch Party Nicasio Valley Farms

If your child has an October birthday, then why not have a pumpkin patch party? Marin's own certified organic pumpkin patch at Nicasio Valley Farms offers party packages during the month of October. It's a perfect way to celebrate a special fall birthday! October weather is usually fantastic, too, making an outdoor party even more fun. Make your reservation soon, as they book up quickly.

Birthday parties at Nicasio Valley Farms cost $12 per child and include a private party table, a hayride, hay mazes, a visit with farm animals, and a small goodie bag. Partygoers can also choose a small pumpkin from the Kids' Patch. If you book your party on a Sunday, you can also enjoy live kids' music from Marin's favorite family entertainer, Tim Cain, who performs on Sundays from 11 am to noon. Additional activities, including bounce houses, pony rides, a climbing wall, face painting, and more, are available for an additional fee.

Hands-on Fun for Fall at Slide Ranch

August 11, 2017

Slide Ranch is a great place for family members of all ages. We tried out one of their family farm days in the past and my kids had a great time petting the sheep planting seeds, milking a goat, and making nature crafts. They offer guided tours and lots of hands-on activities, including collecting eggs from chickens, planting seeds, sampling from their organic garden, learning to make crafts and food just like the early farmers, and exploring the nearby tide pools.

Slide Ranch is located off of Shoreline Highway in Muir Beach. Below is a list of their upcoming fall events. Their programs often sell out quickly, so you need to plan ahead if you are interested in participating. Register for programs online at www.slideranch.org.

Take a Family Summer Staycation at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco

August 6, 2017

Palace Hotel San Francisco

When we make our summer vacation plans, sometime we forget that we live in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world—the San Francisco Bay Area! We recently got a chance to play tourist and spend a fun and luxurious summer "staycation" weekend right in our own back yard at the famous Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. This recently renovated historic hotel in the heart of the city has been a favorite place to stay since its founding 1875, hosting presidents, royalty, and of course families!

We had a blast at the Palace. With welcoming and helpful service, fantastic amenities, and plenty of things to do, it makes for a fun and memorable getaway. Here's why the Palace Hotel is perfect for a fun getaway with the kids this summer:

25 Inexpensive (or Free) Things to Do for Families in August

August 1, 2017

Bat Night returns to Olompali State Park on Saturday, August 5.

August is here—and with it the last few weeks of summer vacation! You don't have to break the bank to have a great time with the kiddos, either! Here are 25 great ideas for great affordable activities and outings in Marin and the Bay Area in August, all of which are free or really inexpensive. Keep in mind some of these activities require advance registration, so check before you go.

  1. Visit the de Young Museum in San Francisco for free on the first Tuesday of the month, August 1, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
  2. Meet Presidio first responders and see plice and fire displays and demonstrations on National Night Out. August 1, 4:30–7:30 pm.

Pick Your Own Apples in the North Bay!

July 25, 2017

Apple Picking

Late summer marks the start of apple season, and plenty of the tasty and popular fruits can be found in the North Bay, especially in the area around Sebastopol in western Sonoma County. Sebastopol is the de facto apple capital of the Bay Area, and it's justifiably famous for its Gravenstein apples, a variety that you won't find grown commerically anywhere else. While it's fun to eat and cook with apples, it's even more fun (and educational) to head out into an orchard and pick them yourselves!

If you're not lucky enough to have an apple tree growing in your backyard, then head up to one of the local apple farms that offers a u-pick experience. It's a fun family outing, and prices and quality are usually bettter than you'll find in the supermarket. There's nothing quite like an afternoon on the farm, too.

Easy-to-Make Peach Crumble is the Taste of Summer

July 21, 2017

Few things signify that summer is finally here as much as the easy availability of fresh and juicy stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Now that we're seeing delicious peaches at the farmers' market and in the produce section of the supermarket, why not make a fantastic dessert like peach crumble? This recipe is a summertime staple in our house, especially when my mom brings over a load of peaches fresh off the tree in her front yard. Greenstring Farm in Petaluma is another great place to get fresh organic peaches for $2 lb this weekend only!

7 Sensational Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

July 20, 2017

Cool off at Spring Lake Water Park

When the summer temperatures start to heat up, then it's time to find a place to cool off with the kiddos. Here are our favorite ways to beat the heat with the family on hot day in Marin and the Bay Area.

Take a ferry ride to Angel Island

Hop on the ferry in Tiburon and take a refreshing ferry ride over the Bay to Angel Island State Park. Explore historic sites, splash on the beach in Ayala Cove, have a picnic, or just relax.

Homemade Snacks for Summer Road Trips

July 17, 2017

Marin Mommies presents a guest article from Elizabeth Leader Smith and Whole Foods Market.

When I was a child, my family frequently made long road trips to visit family members peppered around the Midwest. The novelty of pit stops at roadside convenience stores lost its luster early on. Instead my family hungered for wholesome foods we could feel good about eating while sitting in the car for long stretches.

By planning ahead, my mom was able to pack with the car with healthful snacks (often homemade) to get us through that stretch from Cleveland to South Bend or Chicago to Green Bay. Today I do the same thing making some and buying others. When I have time to prep ahead, I'll make easy and affordable snacks like Popcorn Trail Mix and other recipes for the road like these:

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