For a day at the beach minus the pounding surf, check out Sausalito’s Schoonmaker Point Marina (known to local Marin families simply as Kayak Beach). It’s a hidden gem of Marin, though not entirely undiscovered — on weekends and school holidays families picnic here by the dozens.
Smaller than Crissy Field (and sheltered from the wind) it’s the ideal size for curious toddlers. The soft sandy beach, gentle waves, and abundance of cool boats, makes this spot ideal for cooling off with the kids on a warm afternoon.
Sea Trek Kayak Outfitters is based here, and kids as young as 6 can take part in family kayaking adventures. Those not ready to pick up a paddle can build sandcastles, splash in the bay, or ogle the kayaks, boats or a hydroplane as it takes off and lands nearby. Another must-see in the ‘hood is the Bay Model -an educational model of how the Bay and Delta work. The model, administered by the Army Corps of Engineers, fills three warehouse-sized buildings and simulates the tides and currents of the surrounding area. Check their calendar for aquarium feeding opportunities and free movie showings.
Just a few sandy steps from the beach, Le Garage, a French bistro, is the perfect addition to the neighborhood. Stop in on your way to or from the beach for some oeufs, pain perdu, or an omelette–c’est incredible!