Largely because of the influence of John Muir, an early conservationist who was the first president of the Sierra Club, Marin County is blessed with an abundance of Parks and Open Spaces. Nearly all of these are appropriate for kidsâ€™ activities galore.
Â County Parks
Â The John F. McInnis Park on Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael offers places to play softball, soccer, golf, or tennis. McInnis is also the site of the largest skateboarding park in Marin County. Skateboarders must wear helmets and pads.
Â According to a video on YouTube, McInnis is 25,000 sq. ft. of carveable concrete that welcomes skaters of all abilities, that is old schoolers and young rats, with a 2 to 5 ft. washboard, a 3 to 5 ft. cloverbowl, keyhole bowl, and the incredible 7 to 11 ft. pool.
Â Three miles west of Novato is the Stafford Lake County Park, a 139-acre park that offers lake fishing, a nature trail, and picnic areas with barbecue facilities. Kids can use a popular play structure, a softball field, volleyball, disc golf and horseshoe courts.
Â McNearâ€™s Beach and Park, located on San Pablo Bay in San Rafael, is a great place for family barbecues that also features Bay and Pool swimming and nice lawns. $8 to park and $4 for the pool. Note: The fishing pier at McNear’s Beach County Park is closed for repairs until further notice.
Â Located on Paradise Drive along the east shore of the Tiburon Peninsula, Paradise Beach Park is a 19-acre park with family and group picnic sites, lawn areas, a horseshoe court, sandy beach and a fishing pier. Also located on Paradise Drive is a 24-acre wooded upland preserve south of Paradise Beach Park. The Park has a loop trail that provides a variety of native plants and animals and excellent bay views.
Â Marin County Parks Department maintains paved pathways throughout the County for use by bicyclists and pedestrians. Among the most popular are the Mill Valley-Sausalito Path, the Novato-Stafford Lake Path, and the Corte Madera Creek Path.
Â State and Federal Parks
Â There are Junior Ranger Programs at both the John Muir State Park and the National Golden Gate National Park. The Muir Park has a great kidsâ€™ program called Questing, which provides Word search for clues to discover the hidden secrets during your visit.
Â County Open Spaces
Â There are 34 named Open Spaces throughout Marin County and each of them has its own special features. For example, the Bolinas Lagoon, a protected estuary, just north of the town of Stinson Beach, is a haven for birds, seals and other wildlife. Gary Giacomini is a wild and rugged windswept ridge with a high-altitude feel, accentuated by the presence of a forest of dwarf Sargent Cypress trees.
Â Ring Mountain, a wind-swept ridge high atop the Tiburon Peninsula is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate on this planet. The unique geology and microclimate of this location provide a home for a number of rare plants. Santa Margarita Island and Santa Venetia Marsh are popular for walkers and joggers seeking a clear, level path. Birders also enjoy this area because of waterfowl that cruise the channels at high tide and shorebirds and rails at low tide.