{Exploring the Bay Area} A Day in San Rafael

cascade falls fairfax
Cascade Falls

One of the best things about living in San Francisco is that without leaving the city, we can spend time in nature hiking with the kids or just hanging at the local playground. Still, it’s fun to mix it up and explore other wonderful parts of the Bay Area. After you’ve run through this list of fun family day trips from the city, it’s time to explore town by town. First up, San Rafael in Marin County.

Here are my top picks for family fun in the area. 

Hike Cascade Falls 

This easy hike in nearby Fairfax is beautiful and flat, making it the perfect walk for little legs. The trail gives your kids lots of opportunities to climb over logs, splash in streams, and hunt for banana slugs. The grand finale: getting up close and personal with a waterfall! After your hike, have lunch in downtown Fairfax, and you’re ready to journey on to your next stop in the area. 

Craft at I Made It! Glass Creations

Head to downtown San Rafael to create your own custom glass creation at I Made It! glass shop. Drop-ins are welcome and you can also check out their calendar of special events. Your souvenirs must be fired in the kiln for 14 hours, which means you’ll need to come back another day to pick up your art. You can plan your next trip over dinner at our next stop.  

Tam Commons Taproom and kitchen san rafael
Tam Commons Taproom & Kitchen

Dine at Tam Commons Tap Room & Kitchen

Tam Commons is a new addition to downtown San Rafael and has found the sweet spot of being welcoming to families while offering top-notch food and libations. They have a carefully curated selection of local wines, beers on tap (house brews coming soon), and delicious, reasonably priced menu options, including smaller portion sizes for the kids and Unicorn Milk—which, I promise, your kids will love! If you manage to escape for an adult-only day, you’ll still want to hang here. The stylish decor, easy going staff, and rotating beer selection make this place a crowd pleaser for any occasion. Fun fact: the bartop is actually from the original location of the Slanted Door restaurant in the Mission District. 

Visit McNears Beach

On your next visit to San Rafael try McNears Beach, which runs along San Pablo Bay in a sheltered cove. This is a county park with lots of amenities, including a large picnic area, sand volleyball courts, renovated tennis courts, and a popular fishing pier for sturgeon, striped bass, shark, perch, halibut, and crab. During the summer season, the swimming pool and snack bar are open, and the beach has easy carry-in access for kayaks and canoes.  



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