You Mon Tsang March 29th, 2009
Many outdoor adventures friends of mine slow down a bit when they have kids. And they don’t get to places like Point Reyes as often. But they’re missing out. There’s a lot to do here with kids; I’ve taken my child all around the peninsula. Yes, long hikes and mountain biking don’t work so well, but beaches and kayaks do. Every kid is different so you’ll have to make your own choices, but here are some adventures for your family to consider:
Bear Valley Visitor’s Center
- Charming indoor exhibit (with movie) that could distract children for 30-60 minutes. Gift shop warning…
- By the visitor’s center is the Earthquake Trail, which is flat and less than a mile but is very cool for learning about the 1906 earthquake
- The Kule Loklo trail (~1 mile) that takes you to a replica Coast Miwok Native American village.
- Drake’s Beach has a small visitor’s center with an tiny exhibit as well as a cafe you can hang out if you need a break or a bite. The beach is also pretty fun to walk down.
- My favorite ocean beach for kids is Limantour, where the waves are less intense and the sand very soft.
- If you want a warmer and less intense Tomales Bay beach, try Hearts Desire Beach, which is cozy, gentle and charming
- For tide pooling, I go to Agate Beach in Bolinas. I’ve had mixed luck, but when it’s good, it’s hours of fun. Check for low tides on our weather page.
- Elephants seals are a big favorite (winters at Chimey Rock)
- Whales require so much patience that I don’t take most adults, much less children
- The tule elk are pretty cool; you can often see them from the car and at Pierce Point, where they reside, there is a cool old ranch that kids can explore
- On warm spring and summer days, Audubon Canyon Ranch (near Bolinas) offers short hikes, cool overviews, bright white birds and a pond full of newts and tadpoles
Point Reyes Lighthouse
- The lighthouse is great and the 300+ steps are challenging for the kids but doable. My kid did it by himself at 6. I carried him when he was two. Wind and fog can make this trip a real adventure! Call the ranger station there ahead of time to ask about conditions: (415) 669-1534
- On calm days, Tomales Bay is an easy kayak trip. Pack water and a good picnic and head for a beach to stretch your legs. Check the lodging and resources page for links to local kayak rentals.
I’ve had luck with kid food in Point Reyes here:
- Pine Cone Diner (diner)
- Cafe Reyes (pizza and Mexican)
- Tony’s Seafood (on way to Marshall)
- Station Cafe
I will update this post with any of your suggestions. So please suggest away…