Posted in Blogging Marin on Thursday, June 22, 2017 by MCVB Staff
By Megan Eileen McDonough
With the school year winding down and summer fast approaching, now is the perfect time to start planning your family-fun weekend getaway in Marin County. Whether you and your kids are in the mood for a lazy beach day or ambitious enough for an afternoon hike, there are countless activities to choose from. Here are five fun (and in most cases, free) ways to make the most of your time off.
Discover Something New
Just because school is out doesn't mean you can’t learn a thing or two in the interim. In the summer Marin can get pretty hot by day, so cool off with a visit to the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Ideal for kids as young as 6 months old, the indoor-outdoor museum has all sorts of immersive activities, including an art room, a 2.5-acre outdoor playground, and interactive exhibits. Bonus points if you pack a picnic lunch because the views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco are some of the best in the county.
Hit the Beach
Marin has no shortage of scenic beaches, but when it comes to family fun in the summer sun, Stinson Beach is tough to top. Located in West Marin, the beach spans 3.5 miles of sand and surf. Amenities-wise, it’s a smart choice, as there are plenty of parking spots, a large picnic area, and a seasonal snack bar. The water is swimmable here, even for the little ones, but there are also lifeguards on duty to ensure everyone’s safety. At Stinson Beach, dogs are allowed on a designated section, so bring them along for the ride!
Take a Hike
Beat the Marin summer heat with an early morning or evening hike through some of Marin’s most picturesque landscapes. There are dozens of trails to choose from, with the Tennessee Valley Trail being among the most family-friendly. As part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area/Marin Headlands, it’s designed for visitors of all ages and skill levels. That said, as one of the Headlands’ most popular trails, it’s also among the easiest to manage. The 3.1-mile loop to the beach and back is even suitable for strollers.
Pack a Picnic
On beach trips and nature hikes, picnics are a great way to break up the day, especially during weekend excursions. To celebrate in-season produce, start your day at one of Marin’s many farmer’s markets, like the one at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael. It’s open Thursdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and you can stock up on fresh fruits, seasonal veggies and delicious cheeses and slices of bread. If you’re in the mood for something light (and sugary), indulge in some popcorn or melt-in-your-mouth baked goods.
Take a Day Tour
Instead of being your own tour guide, leave that to the experts. As part of Evergreen Escapes’ Natural Wonders of San Francisco Tour, your family (with kids 10 and over) can learn all about the San Francisco Bay’s best beaches, trails, and forests. Since this is a full-day tour, make sure your kids are old enough to benefit from the experience. There will be lots of walking too—to places like Muir Woods and Hawk Hill—so dress comfortably and bring your camera. A picnic lunch overlooking the blue waters of the Gulf of the Farallones helps break up the day.