These are my five favorite (easy-ish) hikes that families with kids can do in Marin. And bring your camera, they are also great locations for photo opportunities with the whole family.
It’s Fall, but in Marin, this can mean balmy days with sunshine that are perfect for hiking. Marin County has some of the best kid-friendly Bay Area hiking trails that also double up as fantastic photoshoot locations for that impromptu family portrait. Bring your camera along as you head for a hike this weekend!
1. Mt. Burdell hike in Novato
538-598 San Andreas Dr, Novato, CA 94945
Pros: Easy hike, stroller-friendly (but not for a city stroller), plenty of parking
Cons: It’s not sheltered and can get hot; bring enough water and use sunscreen! No public restrooms. More about Mt. Burdell Preserve
2. Dawn Falls trails in Larkspur
Dawn Falls Trail, Larkspur, CA 94939
Pros: Awesome redwood tree walk, shady and flat hike that is next to a creek.
Cons: it’s a popular hike, so it can be hard to find parking next to the trailhead on weekends; you can park next to the Equator Coffee in downtown Larkspur, but it will be quite a walk. Not really stroller-friendly, so pack a baby carrier instead. No public restrooms. More about the Dawn Falls Trail
3. Hippie tree in Tiburon
100 Gilmartin Drive, Tiburon, 94920
Pros: Short, not too steep, with a great view and a wooden swing, plus rocks for kiddos to climb.
Cons: Limited parking so go early and avoid public holidays. No public restrooms. More about the Hippie Tree
4. Horse Hill in Mill Valley
12 Lomita Dr. Mill Valley, CA 94941
Pros: Incredible views, friendly horses, and a gentle terrain that is great for young kids
Cons: No shelter so bring water and use sunscreen… and beware of the horses during the mating season :). No public restrooms. More about Horse Hill
5. Tennessee Valley Trail
591 Tennessee Valley Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Pros: One of the Bay Area’s best family-friendly hikes. Gentle terrain, beautiful landscape and stroller-and-bike/strider friendly. Restrooms are available at the beginning and middle of the trail. A gorgeous beach at the end that makes for terrific family pictures.
Cons: If you plan to reach the beach, it can be a long hike (1.7 miles!) for little legs. More on Tennessee Valley Trail
BONUS HIKES! 3 more advanced trails for my hiking lovers
1. Ring Mountain in Corte Madera
5200 Paradise Dr, Corte Madera, CA 94925
Pros: Simply breath-taking views, variety of vegetation (a mix of trees and open grassland) and the chance to spot a friendly deer. Also home to the extremely rare Tiburon Mariposa Lily, which is found nowhere else on Earth!
Cons: Moderate hike but a fun trail terrain for kids over 4. Not stroller-friendly, so pack a carrier for your young ones.
2. Morning Sun Trailhead in Sausalito
Morning Sun Trail, Sausalito, CA 94965
Pros: Get an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Adjoining trails for the adventurous Bay Area hiker.
Cons: Steep hike that starts with stairs (but the views are worth it!). It can get windy so pack a light jacket. Very limited parking- go early. No public restrooms.
3. Rodeo Beach Trailhead
Parking Lot, Fort Cronkhite, 11050 Mitchell Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Pros: Awesome views! Definitely a spot of capturing some great pictures of the family and your kids as they splash in the shallows. Colorful sand and a sheltered lagoon with diverse wildlife. Public restrooms and showers are available.
Cons: It can be crowded on weekends, so go early or try for the overflow parking about half a mile away. Bring sunscreen on sunny days!
As a Marin-based photographer, I’ve done all these hikes with my kids while also lugging my camera and a bag of snacks, water, etc. And while some can be more challenging than others, each has its own unique beauty and fun. The views are breathtaking, and these are just some of the locations that I also recommend for my Bay Area family photo sessions.
I hope you enjoy them, and let me know if you try one out!
Ps: Stay tuned this month for my post on the BEST family-friendly photo spots in Marin County, with helpful info on where to park, when to go, and how to get your kids to enjoy the experience.
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