And one in San Francisco! Let's Play.
On weekends or weekdays, a good playground is a gem. Sometimes (often!), your kiddos need to burn off some energy and play, play, play! Here’s a list of my favorite playgrounds in Marin, where my kids and I have spent many happy hours. They are also a great place to capture spontaneous shots of your kids at their most carefree.
Corte Madera Town Park
498 Tamalpais Dr, Corte Madera, CA 94925
One of our fave playgrounds due to the different play structures in one area that caters to kids of different ages. My toddler and 4-year-old are happy to run around the park, climb, and slide while my 8-year-old tackles the rock wall.
Pros: Under-five toddler playground, a big kid play area, a challenging but fun rock-climbing wall, and plenty of free parking. A drinking station and bottle refill station are available. Restrooms are near the tennis courts, and a few portaloos are next to the playground.
Cons: There’s not a lot of shade during the afternoons, so bring enough water and apply sunscreen.
Millennium Playground, San Anselmo
1000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Anselmo, CA 94960
This sweet playground in San Anselmo has all the right ingredients for imaginary play and is challenging enough for kids to be able to spend hours devising their own fun. Lots of slides to keep the young ones occupied too.
Pros: A terrific space with a castle-like structure that encourages free play and lets the imagination soar! Free parking lot, with toilets next to the playground and a drinking station. Slides, flying fox, and an adjoining toddler playground with a train theme.
Cons: It’s not sheltered and can get hot; bring enough water and use sunscreen!
South Hamilton Park
Wide open spaces with a fun (but challenging enough for big kids, too) play structure that includes fire poles and slides, along with a tiny tot area that is airplane-themed.
Hangar Ave & Stern Dr, Novato, CA 94949
Pros: Great free parking, various play structures that cater to kids of all ages, and a shaded picnic area that is great for hosting parties.
Cons: It can get hot as the play structures aren’t covered. Only porta potties are available.
Community Rd, Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920
A real neighborhood gem of a playground in the heart of Tiburon’s residential area. This playground makes for a nice respite amidst a shaded park with picnic tables and a large field that is occasionally transformed into a concert venue.
Pros: Beautiful play structure, climbing web, toddler area, and big kid play area beside each other. Public restrooms next to the playground. A drinking station is available.
Cons: Limited street parking
Hal Brown Park at Creekside, Greenbrae
250 Bon Air Rd, Kentfield, CA 94904
A wide, green space that encourages lots of games of tag and hide and seek. This playground’s expansive grounds have a toddler area and a big kid play structure with a great lookout over the marsh.
Pros: Lots of places to ride a scooter and bike, fun play structures including swings, a fast curly slide, and shaded picnic areas. Public restrooms and a drinking station are available.
Cons: Street parking can be a challenge on weekends when it's most popular.
Old Mill Park
64 Cascade Dr, Mill Valley, CA 94941
A playground nestled amidst the redwoods of Mill Valley. Great for a hot afternoon when you need somewhere cool and shady to let your kids run around. All the classics are here - swings, slides, monkey bars and a forest of giant trees.
Pros: Shady with a cool creek. Close to the Mill Valley library so you can always hang out here before or after library programs. A 6 min walk to Equator Coffee!
Cons: Limited parking on the street, and heavy traffic during school pick-up hours so avoid those timings!
Marinwood Creek Playground
Miller Creek Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903
Surrounded by forest and complete with a play structure that is both challenging and fun (think obstacle course!) and great for getting some full-body workouts in for the kiddos. Little climbers will like this playground!
Pros: Awesome structures, shady and cool, clean bathrooms, a big field to run around, and next to a great creek for exploring.
Cons: Possibly traffic in the afternoon.
(aka Dark Park)
Madrone Ave, Larkspur, CA 94939
It's a really clean and cute play area amidst the redwoods. It is also known as Dark Park (think shade) and has a little tot play area that is fenced so your small one can play without you having to worry about them wandering off.
Shade! Variety of structures next to a pretty creek. The Larkspur library does programs there. Close to coffee shops, and good public restrooms available.
Cons: Parking (limited street one) or you may park in the shopping center and walk over.
Bonus: My favorite SF playground
(aka Tunnel Tops)
Facing the Crissy Field Marsh and looking out over the Bay, this playground is one of my favorites in San Francisco. It boasts superb views (a great picture spot too!) and play areas for kids that mix learning with fun while incorporating natural materials into its design to merge into the environment. The water play area is a fave for my kids.
Pros: Variety of entertainment available for kids of all ages, including water play! An educational field station with a lot of things to do. Public restrooms and a drinking station are available. Food trucks!
Cons: Paid parking
HOT TIP: Bring a lot of changes of clothes for the waterplay. One set is not enough, from experience lol.
And there you have it! A list that should provide much joy. And if you're looking to capture that carefree, everyday joy of your kids, I have some mini-sessions available. October has some beautiful light, and I'd love to help you create cherished memories of your kiddos that will last forever.