Things to Do in the Summer with Marin Tweens and Teens

Looking for ways to keep your Marin tween or teen active and away from the t.v. or computer screen? Here are some suggestions. I’lll add reviews as I experience them myself with my kids so check back throughout the summer!


MARIN COUNTY LIBRARIES  (updated 7/21/11) When you think of teen activities during the summer, going to the library probably isn’t on the top of your list. However, you’ll be surprised at how many activities are offered by the libraries. From video game parties to movie screenings,  the libraries aren’t just for reading. Although the ulimate goal of the programs is to get kids more interested in reading, these activities make the library a fun place to visit. Most libraries have a summer reading program that rewards kids for reading. At the Tiburon Belvedere library, for an example, kids can do online activities and worksheets for raffle tickets. Prizes include gift certificates to the local candy store and Itunes gift cards. The grand prize is a drawing for an Ipod Nano!

Some libraries offer use of a museum pass that lets you and your family take advantage of free admission to bay area museums for a day. You’ll need to make a reservation, but it’s well worth the effort!

Here is a list of some of the teen activities offered at Marin libraries:

Monday, 7/26 – Teen Book Club. Civic Center Library, 3501 Civic Center Drive, #427, 2-3 pm.  Join other teens in reading and discussing Going Bovine by Libba Bray.

Wednesday, 7/27 – Henna Art for Teens. Corte Madera Library, 707 Meadowsweet, Corte Madera, 4-5:30 PM.   Space is limited. Sign-up & parental permission required. Please call the Corte Madera Library Reference desk at 924-6444 to sign up.

Wednesday, 7/27 – Creative Writing for Teens. Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 5:30 – 8:30 PM, Creekside Room. Workshops are for high school students only. Free. Email with any questions.

Tuesday, 8/2 – Teen Book Club. Tiburon-Belvedere Library, 1501 Tiburon Blvd., 4-5pm. The subject will be books everyone is reading this summer; at the August 16 meeting we will discuss Divergent, by Veronica Roth.

Wednesday, 8/3  – Creative Writing for Teens. Mill Valley Public Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 5:30 – 8:30 PM, Creekside Room. Workshops are for high school students only. Free. Email with any questions.

Friday, 8/12 – LAN Party for Teens Only Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd., 1-3pm. , Teens can enjoy a variety of games including Dance Dance Revolution, Need for Speed, Rock Band and more! Reservations recommended 415-897-1142.

Thursday, 8/4 – Teen Jewelry Workshop. South Novato Library, 6 Hamilton Landing, Teens can make their own custom-designed jewelry with blown glass beads. Reservations recommended as space is limited. Call the South Novato Library at 415-506-3168.

Saturday, 8/6 – Marin City Spoken Word Competition. Marin City Library, 164 Donahue St., Marin City.  So you think you can rap? Marin City youth ages 6 to 18 are invited to submit their best rhymes online at… Participants will then perform in front of an audience, a judge and TV cameras.

Friday, 8/26 – LAN Party for Teens.  South Novato Library, 6 Hamilton Landing, 4-6pm. Teens can enjoy a variety of games including Dance Dance Revolution, Need for Speed, Rock Band and more! Reservations recommended 415-506-3168.

  • BEAD STORE  Yesterday I took my niece and daughter to Beads of Marin in Mill Valley and we had a great time picking out beads, findings, string, and all sorts of beading supplies. It was like  a candy store! Even boys might find cool beads or stones. They also give classes. There’s another bead store in San Rafael called  Baubles and Beads. You can also pick-up beads from Michael’s Crafts in Northgate, Ben Franklin Crafts in Novato or Joann Fabric & Craft Stores in Corte Madera.
  • MEXICAN MARKET.  If you’re planning to cook anything Mexican be sure to go to Mi Pueblo Market in San Rafael on Bellam St. This used to be the old Circuit City building. My kids love the Mexican pastry section where they can get fresh pastries at inexpensive prices. They have a food area where you can sit and eat their freshly made tamales, enchiladas and tacos!


California’s Great America, Santa Clara

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo


Angel Island State Park It costs more to bring your bikes, but it’s a great way to get around the island, especially for teens. They also rent segways on the island.

Alcatraz Island

Chinatown – Park in the Stockton Street garage and walk down towards the financial district. You’ll enter through the main gates and be instantly transformed into a different land. The kids will love all the little shops even though after a while they all start looking the same. Have dim sum and stop at the fortune cookie factory (56 Ross Alley at Jackson St). You’ll know you’re close when you can smell the warm batter of the delicious cookies. Buy their “rejects” and save some money. You won’t get the fortune, but you’ll save a little cash.

Japantown  Get there about 11:00 AM and head toIchiban-kan, a Japanese dollar store that has everything from cool Japanese lunch containers to take-apart erasers and Japanese snacks. Then we go to Kinokuniya Bookstore (1581 Webster Street) where we can find interesting book and magazines including manga (Japanese comic books). We eat at one of the many restaurants serving everything from noodles to sushi to crepes. If we still have room, we might get a shaved ice from May’s Coffee Shop (1737 Post St # 13). For a fun activity, take the kids to “Pika Pika,” a roomfull of photo booths where your kids can create photo stickers with fun and creative backdrops. Before heading home, stop at Nijiya Market on 1737 Post Street and pick up Japanese food items including sushi to go!

Pier 39  Book a reservation forthe Pier 39 Aquarium of the Bay AND make sure you add on the Behind the Scenes Tour for an additional fee. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the Pier as you may need to walk from your parking spot. You can park at the indoor garage across the street, or find other parking around the pier. We got lucky and parked in a lot across from Pier 39 that charged a flat fee of $15. Be aware that some lots

charge for 20 minute increments. This can add up, especially if you plan to spend the day at the pier. There are plenty of restaurants at Pier 39, but if “cool” is what you’re after, take them to The Hard Rock Cafe. The “Behind the Scenes” tour is held at 1pm and 3pm. I would recommend booking the 1pm tour so you can take the tour BEFORE going through the aquarium. The reason for this is that during the tour you’ll be above the aquarium and will appreciate all that goes into keeping the aquarium running. Check out the street performers featured at Pier 39.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Leave early so you can spend the day in Santa Cruz. If you’re staying over night check out The Mystery Spot where items seem to defy gravity! Get there early to avoid the lines.

Ocean Beach (San Francisco). Why go to Ocean Beach in SF when we have Stinson Beach right in our own backyard? Because the roads are much less winding and it’s fun to explore the ruins of the old bath house near the Cliff House.  Park along Ocean Beach and walk along the sidewalk towards the Cliff House. Enjoy the view of the ocean where you can see Seals on the Seal Rock. Walk up towards the old ruins of the Sutro Baths and check out the cave where the water comes crashing towards you (hang on to the little ones as the waves can be pretty trecherous).  Have lunch at the Seal Rock Inn Restaurant where your cup of coffee is always filled. Take a hike on the Lands End trail which takes you to the Legion of Honor Museum near the Lincoln Park Golf course. Enjoy the view!

Stinson Beach, Dress in layers as even on the warmest day inland, it can be a bit chilly towards the coast. Get there early if you want to resealt_textrve a picnic table with barbeque grill. For dessert, treat the kids to soft-serve ice cream from the small snack shack called The Parkside Cafe. If yourkids are really energetic, park at Pantoll and take the steep ravine trail to Stinson. This takes preparation because you’ll want to leave cars there ahead of time so you won’t have to hike back.

Photo: Kathy Sloan

Yerba Buena Gardens  Located in the South of Market area of  San Francisco, above the Moscone Convention Center, the Yerba Buena gardens is a fun placeto spend the day.Yerba Buena Gardens covers two square city blocks bounded by Mission, Folsom,Third and Fourth Streets. Click here to see a map. One block features a 2-1/2 acre grassy meadow (The Esplanade), an extensively landscaped garden, a 120 thousand-gallon waterfall, a memorial dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, several fountains and major works of public art. The Children’s block,or Rooftop, features Zeum, an arts and technology museum for children and youth, a historic Carousel, Ice Skating and Bowling Centers, a two acre interactive play garden and much more. The site is also the home of five cafes and the Center for the Arts visual and performing arts buildings. While you’re in the neighborhood, check out the  Cartoon Art Museum at 655 Mission St., or the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) at 151 Third Street. Grab a bite to eat at Mel’s Drive-in Diner (which isn’t really a drive-in) at 801 Mission St.


  • Point Reyes Beaches. One of my favorite’s is Heart’s Desire beach because it is sheltered and usually warmer. Also, the waters are calmer.
  • Muir Beach – Bring a Frisbee or football and play catch on the beach!
  • McNear’s Beach (San Rafael) Swim, play tennis, or have a pic nic.
  • Johnson’s Beach (Guerneville) where you can actually swim in the water!
  • Point Reyes Beaches There are numerous beaches in Pt. Reyes, but I like Heart’s Desire beach due to it’s calmer waters.
  • Rodeo Beach (Sausalito) Take a hike in the Marin Headlands and hang out at the beach.
  • Fort Cronkhite (Sausalito) Explore the military barracks from World War II.
  • Ocean Beach (San Francisco) Explore the remains of the Sutro Baths and enjoy a great view!
  • Stinson Beach



Film Night in the Park 2011. Bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy watching movies outdoors!



  • Academy of Sciences (Golden Gate Park, SF) This building houses a natural history museum, planetarium, aquarium and rain forest dome!
  • Cartoon Art Museum
  • Exploratorium  (San Francisco) There’s something for all age groups at this hands-on science museum.
  • Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco) If the DeYoung Museum or Legion of Honor are a little too sophisticated for your kids, take them to the MOMA where they will find art that might appeal to them a little more. Check out Yerba Buena Park while you’re in the neighborhood.
  • Legion of Honor (SanFrancisco)
  • DeYoung Museum (Golden Gate Park, SF)
  • Walt Disney Family Museum (In the Presidio of San Francisco) To read about special events during the summer click here.



  • Escape 5195 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park

Bike Park



Flea Markets

Fruit Picking

Fun Centers

Go Kart Racing

Horse Back Riding
  • Miwok Livery & Stable, Tennessee Valley Road, Mill Valley.
  • Sunset Corral, Vineyard Rd., Novato. (415) 897-8212. Open daily, 8am- 5pm.
  • Five Brooks Stables, Olema (415) 663-1570. 120 miles of trails, including beach rides at the Pt.Reyes National Seashore.

Ice Skating


Laser Tag

  • Escape 5195 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park

Miniature Golf


Roller Blading/Skating/Skate Boarding


Paddle BoatingI’ve been told it’s harder than you think, but worth trying it!

  • Howarth Park, Santa Rosa, CA.
  • Stowe Lake Bike and Boat Rentals, 50 Lake St #STOW (Martin Luther King Jr Drive) San Francisco (866) 503-3470

Rock Climbing

Spectator Sports

Swimming Pools:

Trampoline Park

Water Parks

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2 Responses to Things to Do in the Summer with Marin Tweens and Teens

  1. Pingback: Summer Activities for Kids in Marin | Marinhood

  2. Pingback: Summer Activities for Kids in Marin | Marinhood

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