Nevada City Summer Kid Activities

Summer Activities for Kids, Nevada City & Grass Valley

Summer vacation is days away and Nevada City offers so many great activities for things to do for kids.  So regardless of what your family likes to do, here’s a list of all sorts of ideas of things to do.  And scroll down to the bottom for our great kid-centric giveaway!

Things to do with Kids:

Water Activities:

Outdoor Adventures

Great kid friendly hikes include: Independence Trail, Buttermilk Bend and Deer Creek Tribute Trail.  Or take the kids for a mountain bike ride at Hirschman Pond.  Or maybe you and your family want to try the Bear Yuba Land Trust Twilight Bat Walk with Sarah Perrin, kids under 12 are free.

Perhaps you’re looking for a summer camp, there are still lots of great programs happening, click here for a post from earlier this spring on the Summer Camp Fair, still time to check out the Food Love Project day camps, Live Sound Camp for GirlsMud Hut Art classes, Fox Walkers or The Center for Arts programs.  Perhaps you want to be creative, try stopping by The Artist Workshop, either for a class or their drop in open session and leave with a new art project.

The Children's Festival, photos by Lenkaland Photography and Erin Thiem

There are a lot of great kid friendly events during the summer season: Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival (June 15 – 18), California WorldFest: July 13 – 16, The Children’s Festival (Friday, July 21st), The Sierra Storytelling Festival  (July 21-23rd) or the Nevada County Fair (August 9-13th). The Miners Picnic at Empire Mine (August 26th), a family picnic, gold mining demonstrations, live music and games.

Summer Events in Nevada City, photos by Erin Thiem

Otherwise take your kids to one of the many local farmers markets, First Friday Art Walks (July 7th and August 4th) or Nevada City Summer Nights (July 12th, 19th and 26th).  Perhaps you want to get tickets for the PAG performance of Cinderella ?  Don’t forget the free Nevada County Concert Band concerts at Pioneer Park, it’s a great free family friendly outing (June 25th, July 23rd and August 27th).

And since we’re obviously huge fans of the Inn Town Campground, we think you should come camping, book a staycation, if you join us on a weekend you can join the outdoor movie screening, the outdoor themed kid craft project and jump in the pool!

And if you’ve made it this far, I’ve got tons of giveaways to help get you into the spirit of summer.  Post a comment on your favorite summer activity and throw your name into the hat for $350 worth of local prizes.  Summer Kid Activities Giveaway: 2 movie passes to the Del Oro Children’s movie screenings (worth $20), $10 gift certificate to Treats, a family pack of tickets to the Nevada County Fair (2 adults and 2 children’s admission tickets), $5 gift certificate to Riverhill Farm Upick, 4 tickets to The Children’s Festival at Pioneer Park, 4 tickets to the Movies Under the Pines outdoor movie screening,  Family Pass to Music in the Mountains Patriotic Pops, 4 tickets to the Sunday’s Sierra Storytelling Festival including the Children’s Concert, a sampler pack to 49er Fun Park, $15 gift certificate to The Artist Workshop paint your own pottery and SUP rental gift certificate from Mountain Recreation.  And last, but definitely not least, a free night of camping at the Inn Town Campground ($50 value).  Winners will be announced on Wednesday, June 14th.

*Edited to say the winners are: Freida,  Jill Sheley, Sarah Herbert, Morgan Rains, Stephenie LaRocque, Sandie Smith, Beth Baker , Michelle Stroud, Maria Afable,  Elizabeth Eelkema, Crystal and Vanessa.

© 2017 InnSide Nevada City, Photos © by Erin Thiem and Lenkaland Photography

116 replies
  1. Roseann
    Roseann says:

    I love the idea of watching a matinee if it’s super hot out, also deer creek and the tribute trail is such a nice spot because it’s mostly shaded. Great ideas!

    • erin
      erin says:

      Agreed… sometimes you need a pause in the middle of the heat (now if Mother Nature would only remember that it’s June and it should be a bit warmer?).

  2. Frieda
    Frieda says:

    Thanks for the reminders of all the incredible kid activities in this county – can’t wait for the children’s festival!

  3. Sandie Smith
    Sandie Smith says:

    We love love the Yuba River! It’s an amazing experience with your children! Be safe!

  4. Leia
    Leia says:

    We love to go fishing. The Children’s Festival is wonderful. Mostly I look forward to a less rigorous scheduled routine.

  5. Lillie Piland
    Lillie Piland says:

    Great post Erin! Bookmarking for days when “we can’t think of anything to do!”
    My fave- love movies under the pines and a good day at Scott’s. Elle jumped off the dam bridge last week!

    • erin
      erin says:

      Crazy young lady… but at least there’s water in the lake this year… now if only I had a SUP (yet another reminder to me to try Stephanie’s SUP yoga classes).

  6. Krsna Bryant
    Krsna Bryant says:

    What a great list, thank you! Some of our favorite kids activities in Nevada County are:

    – Mountain biking historic Pioneer Trail near 5 Mile House or White Cloud campground.

    – Hiking and exploring the historic hydraulic mine at Malakoff Wiggins.

    – Swimming and hiking at the South Yuba River at Washington, Edwards, Purdon, or Bridgeport crossings.

    – Drive Hwy 49 along the North Yuba River to Downieville and then a hike up to the top of the Sierra Butted.

    -Any and all kinds of play at Pioneer park including Movies in the Park and the Renaissance fair.

  7. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    We love Treats and always look forward to the Children’s Festival, but now I’m super excited to check out the bat walk!

  8. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    For day to day we love going swimming, whether it’s at a lake, pool or the river. Our favorite summer events are the children’s festival and attending one of the Nevada county concert band events.

    • erin
      erin says:

      The concert bands are fun and you always run into someone you know (although I’m sure my kids would say the Lazy Dog Ice Cream is their favorite part).

  9. Diane Richards
    Diane Richards says:

    Hiking, summer concerts and going to the fair are favorite MUST do things to do every year.

  10. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Our favorite summer family outing is going to many of the nearly lakes. Our favorite is Lake Englebright, where my daughter loves getting Popsicles from the Marina store. The Kid’s festival is another super fun family activity!

  11. Sharra Foster
    Sharra Foster says:

    We have such an awesome area to live in! Love all the hiking & swimming areas listed. Plus movies under the stars.

  12. Keri
    Keri says:

    Love hiking the Tribute Trail, doing u-picks, and swimming! Treats is a favorite any time of year. 😉

  13. Sarah Herbert
    Sarah Herbert says:

    This is a great post! Thanks for getting all this together. Geez, it is so hard to pick just one favorite Summer activity; I personally enjoy the Farmers Markets. However, the river spots are pretty awesome too.

    • erin
      erin says:

      Agreed… you don’t need to pick one… but loved hearing other people’s suggestions on great kid friendly summer fun activities.

  14. Emma Reagan
    Emma Reagan says:

    Amazing! I’ll be bookmarking this blog post! SO many great activities that are 3year old friendly! Going to be an awesome summer in nevada county!

  15. Mandy D.
    Mandy D. says:

    We’re starting new traditions with visiting the area and love the farmer’s market, nature walks/hikes through the parks and trails. But getting great homemade ice cream and enjoying movies outdoors is such a great summertime treat.

  16. Morgan Rains
    Morgan Rains says:

    Outdoor movies are our favorite summer activity. And camping at Inn Town of course.

  17. Anna
    Anna says:

    We love the swimming lessons at pioneer park! This will be our third year, and both my kids love the water, thanks to the confidence they’ve gained!

  18. Erin Melugin Davis
    Erin Melugin Davis says:

    We love visiting the Nevada City Farmers’ market on the weekends and spending our summer break taking advantage of all the area’s great hiking and swimming locations. Thanks for the great reminder of all the amazing family activities our community has to offer!

    • erin
      erin says:

      Thanks Erin, we’ll see if my kids can stay out of trouble (chuckling). The Farmers Market is great… did you know the Growers Market at the Northstar House has kids crafts?

  19. Carolyn Ayers
    Carolyn Ayers says:

    My children are enjoying swim team and Scout activities! There is so much to do, how can anyone be bored!

  20. Maryann
    Maryann says:

    We love camping ay Lake Francis. The facilities and grounds are amazing. The lake is always a treat, and the prices are reasonable too. (Plus it’s not too far from home, makes for an easy and quick getaway!)

  21. Kelley
    Kelley says:

    We always love all the swimming holes and kid friendly hikes, as well as the County Fair. I’m definitely looking forward to trying out some of the new activities on this list!!

  22. Halley Livermore
    Halley Livermore says:

    My name is Halley Livermore and our favorite activity over the summer is the Children’s Festival! It is such an amazing activity for little ones!

  23. Elizabeth Eelkema
    Elizabeth Eelkema says:

    Looking forward to many camping trips and water adventures over the summer…and not having to make school lunches for a while! 😉

    • erin
      erin says:

      Laughing, school lunches… you’re not alone in that agenda. I’ve outsourced the lunch program to my kids… doesn’t mean they always get it done, but we’re working towards lunch independence.

    • erin
      erin says:

      I knew that about you guys… but since I know you’ve also done many of these things, I’m sure you’ll tick a few more off the bucket list this summer.

    • erin
      erin says:

      There are some amazing camps here in Nevada City, I’ve met so many families who come to Camp Augusta over the years and they’re always blown away.

  24. Meshawn Simmons
    Meshawn Simmons says:

    What a great list! We love the Children’s Festival, and we’re excited to send our guy to Fox Walkers for the first time this summer 🙂

  25. Denise Bryant
    Denise Bryant says:

    Lots of things to do in our area for kids, big and little! I love going to the Empire Mine and haven’t been there in ages! I also love attending the fair.

    • erin
      erin says:

      You should definitely go to Empire Mine– even if it’s just for a walk around the gardens, the flowers are beautiful at this time of the year. And no one said you had to be a kid to enjoy these things….

  26. Maria Afable
    Maria Afable says:

    Me and my family love taking drives up highway 20 and going exploring around bowman lake, fuller lake and lake spaulding area. We love fishing, hiking, swimming and viewing the beautiful high country!! There is so many beautiful places and so much fun in this area. How can u get bored??!!
    The indepedence trail is also very nice and kid friendly and if u walk up u can get to hoyts crossing, an awesome river spot!!

  27. Shannon L.
    Shannon L. says:

    Don’t forget mountain biking! Some of the greatest trails in California are right here in our backyard! Tour of Nevada City bike shop has schedules for group rides for all skill levels.

    • erin
      erin says:

      Agreed! Did you see my post about the Hoot Trail earlier this summer? I should’ve added it to this list, thanks for the reminder.

  28. Holland Lorang
    Holland Lorang says:

    My kids love to get cooled off in the creek at Pioneer park followed off with a little fro-yo from culture shock! Happy summer everyone!

  29. Stephenie LaRocque
    Stephenie LaRocque says:

    We are only 2 miles from 49 bridge of South Yuba so… that’s top of the summer list! But in town we are foodies 🙂 Like to hit up Treats often and love to u-pick the local farms. Great list! We’re inspired and excited to camp near town this year!!

    • erin
      erin says:

      The uPick options are fun… I’m trying to remember the name of the blueberry place in Penn Valley I’ve heard about in the past?

  30. Crystal
    Crystal says:

    We love to visit treats, movies under the pines, and hiking and swimming at the Yuba. This year we are going miniature golfing at 49er fun park for sure and We also Love Fox Walkers. 🙂

  31. Trish Laine
    Trish Laine says:

    We love the children’s festival, the yuba, the fair, Treats,… We ❤Nevada County ~ our home!

  32. Andrea Shively
    Andrea Shively says:

    My kids love swimming in any body of water, be it lake, creek, or river (when safe)! Can’t wait for the weather to warm up!

  33. Justine @ Little Dove
    Justine @ Little Dove says:

    This is a great roundup of ideas for the summer! We always love going to the Nevada County Fair, the fairgrounds there are just so beautiful. And we always try to take the kids camping at least once!

  34. Jill Sheley
    Jill Sheley says:

    Ooooohhhh, I am so looking forward to getting my kids outdoors and in touch with nature and AWAY from electronics. This summer is kicking off this Friday with a camping trip to Inn Town Campground-we are 1st timers there-and couldn’t be more excited!

    • erin
      erin says:

      Yeah!!! I hope you guys have a great time, the weather should be improved by then. 1st timers are so fun at the campground…

  35. Janelle
    Janelle says:

    So many great choices! My favorite is the outdoor movies! It’s close, affordable and great fun. Thanks for the extensive list and great photos.

    • erin
      erin says:

      The outdoor movies are fun and you’ve got options in both Nevada City & Grass Valley (and/or the Inn Town Campground if you wanted to join us there too). BYO popcorn!

  36. David Retzler
    David Retzler says:

    A game of Kan Jam and a cold brew in the warm summer evening – it stays light out for sooooo long.

  37. Brianna French
    Brianna French says:

    We love movies, swimming and outside eating! Love summertime! I hope I win all those goodies!

  38. Bree Waters
    Bree Waters says:

    We love hiking, playing in the lakes, and rivers. We haven’t experienced quite a few things on this list, so it’d be fun for my family of 7 to win some! Yeah to new adventures!

  39. Lindi Pagan
    Lindi Pagan says:

    Thank you so much for all the great reminders! So many things to love about summer up here! Swimming the library program and definitely ice cream at Treats!

  40. Lillian Llacer
    Lillian Llacer says:

    That was supposed to be a response to Tara’s comment about picnics at the river.
    And…great post, Erin! Though they don’t always remember how much fun it is, my kids and I love
    to swim in the Yuba, and the high mountain lakes. Especially when topped off with a trip to Treats. This year is going to be a bit different, due to the snow… After reading all these comments, I think we better tune into some outdoor movies this summer too! Planning on making the World Music Fest a centerpiece this summer. Julian gets down to Michael Franti 🙂

  41. Colette Clark
    Colette Clark says:

    I love the Children’s Festival and swimming in the Yuba. Also summer nights and first fridays are fun for my wee one. She can run free in the streets and dance to the music. I’m looking forward to going to the Storytelling festival for the first time this year. Thanks for this great list! Looking forward to trying some new ideas this summer!

  42. Louisa Sevillano
    Louisa Sevillano says:

    I love exploring the rivers, and going to the library on hot days to enjoy the cool ac and be surrounded by all the books. My kids love the farmers market and playing outside until the bats come out. We love fresh corn, picking blackberries, seeing all the art on the art walks. Summer is the best in Nevada County.

  43. Ashley Wooten
    Ashley Wooten says:

    So many awesome things do do. We love anything outdoors and near water with our kiddo’s!!

  44. Kristi Brown
    Kristi Brown says:

    We love painting pottery at the artist workshop and have already done it once this summer. We also love visiting farmers market, playing at the park, hiking and the train museum. Just heard about the nearby clamping while at the train museum and I so want to go! Love where we live and all the wonderful activities for families!

  45. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    We first visited Inn Town last summer and immediately booked another trip! We love riding the train, walking to the farmers market and swimming in the Yuba River. This has become my #1 trip recommendation to friends and family.

  46. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    Ha! My kids would agree with that for sure. We had our first Lazy Dog ice cream at one of the concerts when we moved here. A great memory.

  47. Kasie Bender
    Kasie Bender says:

    My family loves to go camping and swimming. I haven’t heard of most of these events. They all sound really cool.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] the Worldfest and lots of guests celebrated loved ones at weddings and enjoyed all the kid friendly activities.  So thanks to all the repeat guests, the newcomers and locals who sent their family and friends […]

  2. […]  And just a friendly reminder there’s still time for the dozen fun prizes on the Nevada City Kid Activities blog post, winners announced on Wednesday, June […]

  3. […] summer activities valued at over $350, including a free night of camping at Inn Town Campground? Click over to the Outside Inn Blog and scroll to the bottom of their most recent post to see all the details and enter! Winners will be […]

  4. […] for more information.  If you are traveling with kids, check out this great giveaway over on the Outside Inn’s blog (**includes a free night of camping at the Inn Town […]

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