California Outdoor Recreation Areas For The Whole Family

Posted by Emily Moeschler on April 3, 2018

Oh, the places you'll camp this summer! We're sharing our favorite local outdoor recreation areas in the Bay Area for the whole family so you can get outdoors and get active at the places we travel to at camp during the summer! These California outdoor recreation areas for the whole family are just a start of an active lifestyle.

One gorgeous morning over breakfast, we were deciding where to go biking when my son told us he had the perfect spot.  He wanted to go “where I went with Avid4 Adventure.”  “Great,” I said, excited for the opportunity to try somewhere new and have Jack show us someplace he’d been without us.

The only problem was that Jack didn’t know the name of the place.  He thought it was “kind of near the dog park, but not really” and “it wasn’t far away, and we were on a bumpy road off a busy street.”  So helpful, right?  You’ve all had similar conversations with your kids, I’m sure!


Go where Avid4 Adventure goes

Avid4 Adventure is all about taking kids to areas that are close to campers' communities whether it’s a state park, open space or local recreation areas.  We want kids to experience authentic outdoor sports – like rock climbing on real crags – and locations are deliberately chosen so that families can return after camp is over.


This year, we thought we’d let you know some of the locations your campers will be experiencing, so you can have an adventure of your own before camp starts!

A few staff favorites in the Bay Area:


  • Corte Madera's El Corte De Madera Creek Preserve has 36 miles of multi-use trails.  You'll find downhills, uphills, double tracks, single tracks – something for everyone!

  • China Camp State Park in San Rafael has more than 15 miles of trails for you and your family to explore.  Don’t forget a picnic!

  • Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland has all levels of single track trails as well as open grassy spaces for picnicking and playing games outdoors as a family. 
  • Briones Regional Park, nestled between Walnut Creek and Lafayette is another beautiful biking destination with views of Mt. Diablo. See the trail map for designated mountain bike paths.





  • The Tiburon Ridge Trail in Mill Valley offers spectacular views from the summit San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge to Napa and Sonoma to the East Bay. What a great spot to take in nature!
  • Fremont Older Preserve lets hikers (and their leashed dogs) enjoy open hayfields and a 900-foot hilltop with views of Santa Clara Valley.
  • Nothing beats Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz mountains when it comes to hiking in an area that is truly an escape from urban life. With its 40-acre grove of redwood trees and over 4,600 acres of forest, hiking in this park is a delight.

  • Mount Diablo State Park, near Walnut Creek, showcases beautiful wildflowers, a vast trail system, and a fantastic hike to the summit of Mt. Diablo at 3,849 ft. with amazing views.


  • Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda offers 2.5 miles of water fun! Rent kayaks or bring your own equipment – but be sure to remember personal floatation devices!
  • Canoe, kayak or SUP at Santa Clara’s Calero Reservoir. Weekends can get crowded with jet and water skiers, so if you can escape during a week day, give it a try!
  • San Pablo Reservoir, North of Orinda and East of San Pablo Dam Road, is a great destination for kayaking, canoeing, and picnicking for the whole family. Rentals are located on site.


Avid4 Adventure encourages families to continue the adventure AND not travel far to experience what campers did. So, grab the kids, bikes, paddles, backpacks or whatever and head out to one of our camp favorites! What are you waiting for? Get out and explore! The possibilities are endless for local outdoor recreation areas in the Bay Area.

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Topics: Tips and Tricks, California Outdoor Activities, California Family Adventures