Spotlight on Marin: A Kid-Friendly Guide

A hiking trail winds along a Marin coast Ventu Photo/Shutterstock
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Travel across the bridge and see for yourself: Marin County’s natural beauty is unmatched. Your kids will love the expansive beaches and adventuresome hiking trails, but they’ll also get a kick out of Marin’s museums, playgrounds and restaurants. Add a family afternoon of mini-golf, pottery painting or LEGO® building to the itinerary—the options for Marin family activities are endless! Keep reading to see our favorite family activity spots north of the Golden Gate bridge!

Let's Eat!

Sam's Anchor Café
Open for indoor and outdoor dining in charming Tiburon, enjoy fresh seafood (like Lobster rolls, fish tacos and more!) while you and your kids soak up the views of Alcatraz, Angel Island and the San Francisco skyline.

27 Main St.
Tiburon, CA
Website: Sam’s Anchor Café

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria
What kid doesn't love pizza? Inspired by traditional Italian brick-oven pizzas, these thin crusts and fresh flavors make this restaurant a hit for the entire family. And the best part? Kids eat for FREE on Tuesdays (with each adult meal purchase) from 5 p.m. to close.

1242 Fourth St.
San Rafael, CA 
Website: Amici’s

Sol Food
A local favorite, this bright green Puerto Rican restaurant in downtown San Rafael is hard to miss. It features chicken that falls right off the bone, a wide variety of tasty sandwiches, combination plates, soups and salads. Something for everyone! Personally, we love the Maduros (sweet fried yellow plantains)!
Location:
811 4th St.
San Rafael, CA
Website: Sol Food

Museums

Bay Area Discovery Museum
Let your imagination run wild! With gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, this museum is a popular Marin family activity and offers indoor and outdoor fun, STEM-focused exhibits and daily programs for kiddos (like woodshop, building challenges and a mud kitchen!). And don’t miss the Bean Sprouts café, where you can enjoy a Grilledzilla (grilled cheese with veggies), a spacequedilla (chicken quesadilla with veggies) and much more! Ideal for children aged six months to 10 years old.

557 McReynolds Rd.
Sausalito, CA 
Website: Bay Area Discovery Museum

The Marine Mammal Center
Watch veterinarians and volunteers prepare marine mammals for release back into the wild. The world’s largest mammal hospital in Sausalito is currently closed, but get alerted when they reopen! In the meantime, your family can check out these fun events, like the onsite Fish Kitchen Experience (a free event for high school students) and virtual events (on the 1st Monday of every month).

2000 Bunker Rd., Fort Cronkhite
Sausalito, CA 
Website: Marine Mammal Center

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Where to Play?

Fox & Kit
Half grown-up coffee house—half (beautifully designed) kids' wooden playground. Enjoy a latte and some adult conversation while your little ones burn off energy, invoke their imagination and have FUN!

1031 C St.
San Rafael, CA 
Website: Fox & Kit

McInnis Park Mini Golf
For a family that loves sports, this is the perfect place. Marin County's only miniature golf course, McInnis Park, also has a 9-hole golf course and driving range, baseball, hiking and skateboarding. You’ll also find tennis courts, softball fields and soccer fields nearby. After you’ve worked up an appetite, pop into the McInnis Park Club Restaurant. The burgers are delicious!

310 Smith Ranch Rd.
San Rafael, CA 
Website: McInnis Park

Play-Well Marin Activity Center
If you love LEGO® as much as we do, check out the Play-Well Marin Activity Center—one of the largest licensed vendors of LEGO® building sets in the area. Try a workshop, day camp or just drop-in to play with their tens of thousands of LEGO® pieces and get guidance from one of their passionate instructors.

216 Greenfield Ave.
San Anselmo, CA 
Website: Play-well

Do Art Studio
With pottery painting for ages 2-102, this Marin family activity will put a little color into your afternoon with creative fun for the entire family!

1547 4th St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Website: Do Art Studio

San Rafael Summer Farmers Market
Starting May 6th, come on down to 4th Street in downtown San Rafael for a night of summer fun! Yes, there will be fresh fruits and vegetables from 100 local farmers, but there are also specialty food purveyors (think honey, jams, pasta, cured meats and more!), one-of-a-kind pieces from local artists, live music, and street-style foods from local restaurants. Have a wander, a bite to eat, a little dance, and travel home with lots of good for you goodies. Click here for more information. 

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Take a Hike!

Lakes, ocean views, redwood forests, valleys, dirt trails and open spaces. When you’re in the mood for a little (or large!) adventure, check out a few of our favorite spots:

  • Muir Woods: Explore the tranquil and towering redwoods!
  • Sausalito Boardwalk: An urban hike amongst shops, café’s and restaurants with gorgeous views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline.
  • Mount Tamalpais State Park: Whether you hike one mile or climb to the top of the mountain, Mount Tam has something for everyone with over 75 trails to choose from. Check out some options here.
  • Angel Island: The largest natural island in the San Francisco Bay, the views from hiking trails around the island are spectacular and some of the best in the Bay Area.
  • China Camp: On the shore of San Pablo Bay in San Rafael, this state park surrounds a historic Chinese American shrimp-fishing village and a salt marsh.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore: Views galore! Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, the Pacific Ocean and Bass Lake to name a few. Check these trails out!!

And why not start or end your hike at the beach? With so many to choose from, these are just a small handful of our favorites:

And if your little ones are truly nature lovers, check out the Junior Park Rangers Program. They'll explore, learn and protect wildlife in the ultimate outdoor Marin family activity and take home a cool badge in honor of their efforts. 

RELATED ARTICLES:
Marin Playgrounds You Must Visit
9 Things To Do in Marin Headlands
Party Tricks: The Best Birthday Party Venues in Marin

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