Summer Activity Bucket List

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Sonoma County is the place to be in the summer! We have compiled a list of things you can do with your family in and around Sonoma County this summer. We hope these ideas inspire you to make your Summer Bucket List!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMER BUCKET LIST IDEAS 

  • Visit the Point Reyes Lighthouse. A fun trek to the lighthouse in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Beautiful views and interesting history. Read about our visit to the lighthouse HERE

 

  • Zipline over the redwood canopy.  Minimum age 10 years old.  Sonoma Canopy Tours is located in Occidental.

 

  • Ride over beautiful Sonoma County in a Hot Air Balloon! There are several places offering balloon rides in Santa Rosa, Windsor, and Sebastopol.  Enjoy amazing scenery, fresh air, and a peaceful quiet that comes with a hot air balloon experience.

 

  • Canoe or kayak on the Russian River. There are family friendly sections of the river with a leisurely current and lots of swimming holes and beaches to stop and play at on the way. Good clean fun for the whole family! There are a few companies in Healdsburg that rent out equipment and provide shuttling. We have used Russian River Adventures and they were great! There is also Burke's Canoes if you want to start on the lower part of the river.

 

  • Tour Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory. Tours are Monday through Thursday, 10:00, 11:00, 1:00 and 2:00. Reservations required. The tour takes approximately fifty minutes.  Adults - $7.00, Youth under twelve - $5.00, Children under three – Free! Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory is located at 3810 Cypress Drive in Petaluma.

 

  • Spend the day at the Children's Museum of Sonoma County. Great fun for the whole family. Read about our visit HERE. Open Tues-Sun. CMOSC is located at 1835 W. Steele Lane in Santa Rosa.

 

  • Pick your own apples at Chileno Valley Ranch. They are open on Sundays in August, September, and October. Chileno Valley Ranch is located at 5105 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma. There are a couple of other u-pick apple farms in the area too.

 

  • Teach your kids how to fish at Hagemann Ranch. Stocked to the gills with rainbow trout, you are sure to catch your dinner here. They will clean the fish for you and you can grill them on the spot if you prefer. No fishing license is required and the only rules are no catch and release and no catching the frogs! Hagemann Ranch is located in Bodega Bay.

 

  • Spend the day at Traintown in Sonoma. Ride on the railroad through tunnels, over bridges, and stop in their miniature town and petting zoo. Also features kids carnival style rides. Traintown is located at 20264 Broadway in Sonoma.

 

  • Go horseback riding on the beach! There are several horse farms offering riding experiences in the area. Horse N Around Trail Rides in Bodega Bay offers scenic trail rides with ocean views throughout their 378-acre Ranch or rides on the beach.

 

  • Go on an African Safari in Sonoma County! Visit Safari West in Santa Rosa for a true safari experience. Enjoy a fascinating riding and walking adventure in Safari West’s 400-acre preserve. You’ll come in contact with giraffes, gazelles, zebras, oryx, antelopes, cape buffalo, wildebeests and many of the other 900 animals in an exotic African savannah setting. Or go "glamping" in a Safari West luxury tent!

 

  • Take a nature walk at Armstrong Redwoods. Pack a picnic lunch and beat the heat under a beautiful, cool canopy of redwoods. Our kids are in awe every time they visit this magical place. There are many levels of trails you can take throughout the park with your family. Or you can go wild and backpack into the adjacent Austin Creek Recreation area - a great place for beginner backpackers. Don't forget to visit their visitors center and gift shop! Armstrong Redwoods is located in Guerneville. Read about our visit to Armstrong HERE.

 

  • Spend the day at a Sonoma County beach! So many beaches, so little time.. Doran Beach, Dillon Beach, Salmon Creek, and Goat Rock are some of our favorites for families. 

 

  • Spend the day at a Russian River beach! Also many beaches along the river: Johnson's, Sunset, Steelhead, and Mother's Beaches.

 

  • Tour the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. Tours conducted on Saturdays (once or twice a day, depending on the season). See red-tailed hawks, foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and bobcats. Fees: $15/adults, $10/4-12 years, FREE for 3 and under. Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is located at 403 Mecham Road in Petaluma.

 

  • Enjoy the summer activities at Howarth Park. Howarth Park is a fun park in the summer! Known as the “jewel" of Santa Rosa, its 152-acres provides endless recreational opportunities with beautiful Lake Ralphine for fishing & boating, a softball field, tennis courts, picnic areas, unique playground structures, miles of hiking and jogging trails, and an amusement area featuring a miniature train ride, carousel, animal farm & pony rides.

 

  • Rent a boat on Lake Ralphine. Rent paddleboats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and rowboats. Easy and fun for families. Fishing is allowed in the lake also. Lake Ralphine is located in Howarth Park in Santa Rosa.

 

  • Hang at Morton's Warm Springs. All day fun for the whole family. 3 warm geothermal pools in a beautiful setting with walking trails. Morton's Warm Springs is located at 1651 Warm Springs Rd in Glen Ellen.

 

  • Walk around the Gardens of Cornerstone Sonoma. More than 20 artistic gardens to walk around in. Also at Cornerstone are galleries, garden shops, wine tasting rooms, and a restaurant. Read more about our experience at Cornerstone Sonoma HERE. Cornerstone Sonoma is located at 23570 Arnold Drive in Sonoma.

 

  • Visit a local farm. Many farms offer tours that are family friendly. Green String Farm, Tara Firma Farms, McClelland's Dairy, and SucherNova Farms, to name just a few. Read more about our visit to Green String Farm and Tara Firma Farms. Visit Farm Trails for a map of all local farms.

 

  • Check out the Petaluma Wildlife Museum. Completely run by high school students. Features live snakes, iguanas, and night creatures. Large display of animals from all around the world. The Petaluma Wildlife Museum is located at 201 Fair Street in Petaluma.

 

  • Visit the Petrified Forest. Self-guided tour of a Petrified Forest. Wonderful little gift shop too! Read more about our visit HERE. The Petrified Forest is located at 4100 Petrified Forest Road in Calistoga.

 

  • Pamper your family at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery Pool. Rent a cabine and get all day pool access. The cabine has a private shower and changing area. Comes with 4 lounge chairs, towels, wine tastings, water, and juice for the kids. Read more about our visit to the pool HERE. Francis Ford Coppola Winery is located at 300 Via Archimedes in Geyserville.

 

  • Learn and explore at the Environmental Discovery Center. The center is a natural history museum with hands-on exhibits connecting children and their families to Sonoma County's ecosystems. While you're there, walk around the scenic Spring Lake Loop, a family-friendly trail around Spring Lake. Read more about our visit to Spring Lake and the Discovery Center HERE. The Environmental Discovery Center is located at Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa. 

 

  • Spend the day at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. There are loads of FREE or low-cost things to do in Golden Gate Park. Children's playground is wonderful - amazing play structures & sand slides. The carousel is right next door and very cheap to ride. You can go up to the observation deck in the deYoung Museum for FREE and catch amazing views of the city. Visit the herd of bison that live in the park. There are several waterfalls throughout the park. Paddle around Stow Lake. Of course you can walk or bike around the whole park. Larger features in the park include the California Academy of Science, Japanese Tea Garden, deYoung Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

 

  • Camp out at Fairyland in Oakland! Includes dinner, evening rides, puppet show, entertainment, and continental breakfast. Cost is $55 per adult and $30 per child. 

 

  • Hit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! Its famous for a reason - this place is good old-fashioned fun for the whole family. Set right on the Santa Cruz beach overlooking the ocean, the Boardwalk has loads of rides for both the young and old, a huge arcade, mini golf, shopping, and some of that delicious carnival food that we all know and love! Right down the steps, the kids can play in the waves at the beach. In the summer they have FREE Friday night Bands on the Beach. On Wednesday nights they have FREE movies on the beach.

 

  • Ride the Santa Cruz Mountains Roaring Camp Railroad! From the redwoods right to the beach, take the famous train ride to the boardwalk. Open air or closed cars.

 

  • Take the famous Alcatraz night Tour! For a more exhilirating, yet educational, experience, visit Alcatraz after the sun goes down. Alcatraz can only be reached by ferry and there is a charge for ferry service to and from the island, which departs from Pier 33 at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco (includes the cellhouse audio tour).

 

 

  • Take the Jelly Belly Factory Tour. Factory is open for tours every day from 9am to 4pm. Tours are FREE and depart approximately every 10-15 minutes throughout the day and last approximately 40 minutes. The Jelly Belly Factory is located at 1 Jelly Belly Lane in Fairfield.

 

  • Visit the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito. Summertime is fun at the Bay Museum. Lots of outdoor activities, water play, playground and a sweet view of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

 

  • Take a ride on the Skunk Train! Runs to and from Fort Bragg and Willits. Amazing scenery through redwoods, tunnels, and canyons.

 

  • Spend the day at Six Flags. Thrill rides, kiddie rides, water rides, animal attractions, and live shows. Six Flags is located at 1001 Fairgrounds Dr. in Vallejo.

 

  • Spend the day at Great America. Rides for the young and old, Planet Snoopy, Water Park, live entertainment, and special events. Great America is located at 4701 Great America Pkwy in Santa Clara.

 

 

  • Watch a SF Giants game at AT&T park. If you haven't watched a game at AT&T park, its truly a fun experience. The park sits right on the bay so you have surrounding views of the water. There is a kids fun zone if if your kids are getting antsy in their seat. Don't forget to get some of those famous Gilroy Garlic Fries!!

 

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