Summer break is over and the kids are back to school but that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Marin has so much to offer from its serene open spaces to awesome, scenic playgrounds. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites for packing a picnic, soaking up the sun and letting the minis run wild.
Town Park - Corte Madera
This 22.7-acre park is a local favorite. It features several picnic tables with grills, a tennis and basketball court, soccer and softball fields and a large lawn area for picnicking. Your littles will be entertained with several play structures, swings and rock climbing wall, all enclosed by a gated fence, next to its own parking lot.
498 Tamalpais Dr.
Corte Madera, CA
Piper Park - Larkspur
Piper Park is located in the heart of Central Marin, along the scenic Larkspur Marina. It boasts of expansive picnic areas, Mt. Tamalpais backdrops and several sports facilities, including beach volleyball court. The renovated, timber-themed playground has several climbing structures, with slides and a rotating cone tower. There’s various picnic tables with grills, a small parking lot and even a dog park for your canine buddies.
250 Doherty Drive
Millenium Playground - San Anselmo
Within San Anselmo’s Memorial Park, this favorite among Marin County families, designed by the town's children, will surely be a hit with its detailed wood train depot, town hall, castle with towers play areas, zip-line, slides, swings and signature giant dinosaur that makes for hours of imaginative play. Facilities also include, restrooms, picnic tables, parking and several sports fields.
Parking Lot and playground directly across from the American Legion Log Cabin at:
20 Veterans Place,
San Anselmo, CA
Freitas Park - San Rafael
This 3.5-acre park is popular on hot days for its water play feature. Your water babies will love controlling the water flow via pressing the hand on the red pipes that sends the sprinklers through three giant rings and sprouting up from the ground. If that’s not enough excitement, just a few steps above sits the playground full of climbing structures that will keep the minis busy. There’s also a large field, picnic tables and well-kept restrooms for your needs.
89 Trellis Dr.
San Rafael, CA
Santa Margarita Valley Park - San Rafael
Tucked away in a cul-de-sac in the quiet Terra Linda neighborhood, this playground has a lower toddler area with climbing structure and sandbox and main playground above in the open field with tube slides, steering wheel bars and swings. You can also find a couple of picnic tables, restrooms, grassy field, tennis and basketball court, as well as several scenic Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow open space preserve trails, adjacent to the playground.
97 De la Guerra Rd.,
San Rafael, CA
Pioneer Park - Novato
Historic Pioneer Park features 9 acres of walking paths, picnic and barbecue areas, tennis courts, ample lawn area (great for frisbee), benches, the Novato creek and Historic Pioneer Memorial Cemetery to explore. The impressive playground offers a tot lot and extensive play structure for the older crowd, full of slides, bars, bridges, sliding poles, climbing walls and swings. Pack a lunch and make it a day, as one can easily spend several hours here, enjoying the tranquil surroundings and letting the youngsters burn some steam.
1007 Simmons Ln.
George “Rocky” Graham Park - Sausalito
This spacious park was renovated in 2015 and is the only outdoor recreational space in Marin City-Sausalito. Near the Marin Gateway Shopping Center, it offers a three level, treehouse-themed play structure with climbing wall and slides. An adult fitness area, amphitheater with turf lawn area, several picnic tables with grills, toddler play area with swings, bathrooms and murals showcase Marin City’s history.
850 Drake Ave.
Brickyard Park - Mill Valley
A charming hidden gem in the Strawberry neighborhood and a quiet, less crowded option. The boat-themed play structure and beautiful views of Richardson Bay are perfect for nautical imaginative play. There’s a couple of picnic tables and several waterfront benches. The shore is open to explore but swimming here is not recommended. Be sure to take a break on the tree swing overlooking the water.
Great Circle Drive and Seminary Drive
Mill Valley, CA
Old Mill park - Mill Valley
Nestled among a redwood grove, this is a popular go to for locals on hot, sunny days. In addition to the large, multi-leveled playground, there's Old Mill Creek, (best for splashing during spring and early summer), trails, and Reeds Mill—the historical landmark after which the city was named, to explore. Amenities include restrooms, picnic tables and grills.
352 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley, CA
Blackies Pasture Playground - Tiburon
Also known as Leo J. Tugenberg Playground, this playground is located along the San Francisco Bay. You can reach the playground heading south on the graveled Tiburon Historical Trail, from the main parking lot. There are two play areas, one for tots and one catering to older kids with monkey bars and rolling pipe slide. There’s lots of picnic tables, benches, open fields to run around on or take in the views. Restrooms are located behind park.
654 Tiburon Blvd.
—Photos and story by Nella DuBon-Koch
Featured photo: iStock