Corte Madera Town Park
498 Tamalpais Drive
Corte Madera, CA 94925
This recently renovated popular park covers 22.7 acres. The playground is a fence-enclosed area that contains two play sections, one large circular area for toddlers and big kids and the other area mainly for older kids. The circular area features a miniature road complete with railroad crossing sign, traffic signal and yellow stripes. Let the kids bring their small bikes and pedal cars to take a spin around. The road does a complete loop and in the center is a sand pit and rock climbing structure made of rubber. Outside the road area are swings for toddlers and bigger kids set near each other, but far enough away for running kids. There is a toddler friendly section with rubber matting and climbing structure, a slide and coil riders in motorcycle shapes. Older kids will enjoy the play structure with bridges, ladders and horizontal bars. Another older kids’ area is shaded by oak trees and has slides and a more challenging climbing wall. Outside the fenced area are picnic tables and barbecue sites – to reserve – plus softball and soccer fields and tennis and basketball courts.
Bret Harte Park
217 Irwin St.
San Rafael, CA 94901
This fully fenced-in neighborhood park now has new, safe equipment and boasts delightful artwork by neighborhood children. There are three main areas: a separately fenced-in toddler area with bucket swings, a play structure and coil airplane rocker; a walled-in area for big kids with a fun slides, a slide rail with a climbing web and monkey bars; and the third area with a basketball court, plus posts for a volleyball net that you can bring to use.
Old Mill Park
Old Mill St.
Mill Valley, CA 94941
This park is located on an historic mill site and serves as a retreat from the busy traffic and high heat of a summer day. One interesting and fun thing here is an original Gravity Train car from the Mt. Tamalpais crookedest railroad in the world that kids can climb on and play around. There is a large unfenced sand area with a plastic and wood structure with slides and a variety of play items and a wooden bridge, plus toddler and big kids’ swings that are placed safely away from the play structure. A climbing turtle is set near the toddler swings. The park has many large redwood trees that create a lot of shade and incredible shadows.
Related: Best Playgrounds In San Francisco
Miller Creek Road
San Rafael, CA 94903
Marinwood Park offers a lot of fun for kids. There are two play areas enclosed by a fence. Parents will find it easy to watch their kids of different ages when at the swings since the toddler and big kid swings are near each other. There is a metal and plastic toddler structure with slides and a sand pit, plus a playhouse and a frog-shaped coil rider. The area for older kids has a big slide and a climbing wall with bars they can hang from. There is a good deal of shade and benches to relax on as you oversee the kids, plus a few picnic tables. Toilets, drinking fountains and a parking lot are park amenities.
Josef Hoog Park
558 Marin Oaks Drive
Novato, CA 94949
This beautiful park has a wide-open area with a large metal and plastic structure set on sand and wood chips with lots of slides, ladders, tunnels and more. There are also volleyball and basketball courts plus picnic and BBQ facilities set within a lawn that goes on for acres. Restrooms and drinking water are on site, and parking is available in the lot or in the neighborhood.
Related: East Bay’s Most Unique Playgrounds
Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.