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Nearby Nature: Headlands Magic

One day last year, we were on our way to the Marin Headlands for a family treasure hunt program hosted by the Point Bonita Y.  From the back seat of the car I hear:

Kid #1: Wow this is pretty. Do they have electricity here? 
Kid #2: Hey, look- suburbs!?!?
Kid #1: Boy, this place is a long way from Safeway. 

My boys are city kids; that’s for certain.  But they’ve been raised by a trail running/hiking/former camp director of a mom, and a backpacker/camping enthusiast of a dad.  And they’ve quite literally grown up at a Y within a national park.  The Presidio is where they come after school, on weekends, and daily each summer.  And yet, the Marin Headlands, contiguous to the Presidio and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, felt foreign and mysterious to them.  Like maybe there were no modern amenities or groceries available.

And then there was this other day of hiking in the headlands:

Oli: Mom, can we just stay here all day? 
Me: Sweetie, you have futsal practice today. [Futsal/indoor soccer is his favorite sport]
Oli: Ok, well then can we come right back after futsal? And when do we get to sleep over here?  I think there should be a “Kids Night Out” here.

My kids can’t get enough of the magic of nearby nature. The Marin Headlands are just 12 minutes’ drive from the Golden Gate Bridge, but it feels like worlds away.  The Point Bonita Y is launching a new Family Camp program here, and I can’t wait to see my kids and others experiencing the wonder of the national park.  Stay tuned!


Starting in November, Family Camp Weekends are available to the community and Y members as an extension of “Let’s Move! Outside,” a national initiative and collaboration of the YMCA and the National Park Service. Along with local partners the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the Presidio Trust, the Y and NPS are providing hundreds of youth and families with meaningful opportunities to play, learn, serve and work in our national park.  No supplies needed- just bring yourself and your family and your sense of adventure. 

Lara Farrell Hitchcock writes about parenting & family life, outdoors & summer camp, and leadership & organizational culture.