Summer Water Play Guide

Northern California rivers, lakes, oceans, and pools! So many places to get wet in our lovely Sonoma County! These places are family friendly, however, keep in mind that not all of them have lifeguards on duty. Be safe and have fun!


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River Play


Healdsburg Veteran’s Memorial Beach
Open 7am-sunset
Popular spot on the Russian River. Swimming & wading beach, picnic area, grassy area, and restrooms.

Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville
May-September, 10-6A
Russian River tradition. Rent canoes, single & double kayaks, pedal boats, umbrellas, low beach chairs, and inner tubes. There is a snack bar on the beach and beer is for sale at the boathouse. A popular spot is the roped off kiddies’ pool. There is no charge to enter or to park.

Mom’s Beach in Forestville
7am to 1/2 hour before sunset
Wide sandy beach, perfect for families. Located at10584 River Drive in Forestville.

Monte Rio Public Beach
Featuring concession stand, canoe and kayak rentals, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and built-in bbq areas.

Riverfront Regional Park
Sonoma County Regional Park. Features a 2-milemultiuse trail around Lake Benoist and a half mile long trail over Redwood Hill. Also avolleyball court, horseshoe pit, drinking fountain, and flush toilets.No swimming, but fishing ok.

Steelhead Beach
Sonoma County Regional Park. Quieter beach on the Russian River.

Sunset Beach River Park
7am-1/2 hour before sunset.
Sonoma County Regional Park.

Cloverdale River Park
Open Daily dawn to dusk.
Sonoma County Regional Park with Russian River access. No lifeguards. Seasonal launch canoes and kayaks. No formal facility. Picnic area w/BBQs.31820 McCray Road, Cloverdale

Gualala Point Regional Park
The 195-acre park has open meadows mixed with coastal forest. The park contains a campground, trail system, coastal vistas, and sandy beaches. The park is located adjacent to the Gualala River, which offers limited seasonal fishing. Please check current regulations.

Lake Play


Lake Ralphine in Santa Rosa
June 14-August 16; open 11am-5pm
25 acre lake for renting paddleboats, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, sailboats, and rowboats; fishing too!

Lake Sonoma
Canoe, kayak, ski boats, fishing boats for rent at Lake Sonoma Resort Boat-in camping. There is adesignated swim beach at Yorty Creek on the north side (reached by Hot Springs Road through Cloverdale). It’s a sandy beach, with picnic areas, a playground, a fisherman’s trail and a public boat ramp.

Spring Lake in Santa Rosa
72 acre lake open year-round for boating,kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, and fishing.

Spring Lake Swimming Lagoon in Santa Rosa
Open 7 days a week, Memorial Day through Labor Day, 7am-dusk.
3-acre swimming lagoon with sandy beach and concession stand. The swimming lagoon is staffed by lifeguards. Lakeside Grill is also on the premises serving up hot freshly prepared food and beverages all day.

Beach Play


Chicken Ranch Beach
North of Inverness, adjacent to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and nestled along the west shore of Tomales Bay. This 3-acre natural area is a popular kayak spot. The small sandy beach is a serene place to relax, have a picnic, fly a kite, or stop-over during the long drive to Point Reyes National Seashore. Dogs are allowed on leash. This is a kid-friendly beach with usually calm waters.

Dillon Beach
Dillon Beach is one of the last dog-friendly beaches in the Bay Area! The beach is great for kids with soft sand, sand dunes to run in, and tide pools to explore. Located just West of the town of Tomales, just at the mouth of Tomales Bay.

Doran Beach Regional Park
Doran Park has a 2-mile stretch of sandy beach and is a popular place for visitors to picnic, build sand castles, fly kites, surf, fish and stroll. A rock jetty at the harbor mouth provides access for fishing, crabbing and exploring sea life. There are 2 main beach areas with parking lots and bathrooms. This is a great beach for families – the water is usually calm and the kids can play in the shallow waves.

Goat Rock
Near the mouth of the Russian River, Goat Rock is known for its scenic shoreline and easily accessible sandy beach. Picnic tables and restroom facilities are also available. Goat Rock beach is home to a colony of harbor seals which are fun to watch, but please stay 50 yards from the seals, especially during pupping season (March – August.) Due to the protected status of the seals, NO DOGS are allowed on Goat Rock Beach. The water can be tricky, be mindful. Be safe!

Hearts Desire Beach
Anice sheltered cove on Tomales Bay that is excellent for families with small children. The ocean water tends to be a little warmer at this beach. To get there, drive past Inverness on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, go right onto Pierce Point Road, right into Hearts Desire/Tomales Day Park.

McNears Beach Park
Set in a beautiful sheltered cove, this 55 acre regional park is located along the shores of San Pablo Bay in San Rafael, southeast of China Camp State Park. The fishing pier is extremely popular—anglers fish for sturgeon, stripped bass, shark, perch, bat ray, halibut, and crab. Facilities include a swimming pool, snack bar, sand volleyball courts, several group picnic areas of varying size, expansive turf areas, and newly renovated tennis courts. The pool and the snack bar operate during the summer season only. The narrow, bayside beach offers a fun, safe place for general beach recreation and easy carry-in boat access for kayaks and canoes.

Paradise Beach Park
19 acre regional park is located along the east shore of the Tiburon Peninsula, nestled in a residential neighborhood. Paradise is well-named. This bayside gem is truly gorgeous with its mature landscaping, colorful poplar trees, wildflowers, rolling grassy hillsides above the San Francisco Bay, and a grove of tall redwoods. It’s a fun and secluded place to enjoy the great outdoors, close to home. Facilities include family and group picnic sites along the bay, numerous lawn areas, a horseshoe court, a narrow beach, a long fishing pier, and more. Anglers fish for halibut, sturgeon, striped bass, shark, perch, bat ray, and crab. Paradise offers stunning views of the bay, a beautiful area to watch see seals, sea lions and other marine life, as well as provide bay access for kayaks.

Salmon Creek Beach
A lagoon forms as sand closes the mouth of Salmon Creek, is a popular summer destination. Nearly two miles of unbroken, scenic, sandy beach make this an excellent place for surf fishing, beachcombing, and picnicking. North and South Salmon beaches are popular with the local surfing community when the waves are good.

Shell Beach
Shell Beach is a favorite location for beach combing and tide pooling. It is used by schools as an outdoor classroom for the study of tidal pool marine life and enjoys a reputation as a prime fishing spot.

Stillwater Cove Regional Park
Sunrise to sunset.
This 210 acre park offers picnic facilities and a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean from Stillwater Cove. The park has open meadows mixed with coastal forest. There is a half-mile trail leading to the historic one-room Fort Ross Schoolhouse. Stillwater Cove is popular with small boat operators, skin and scuba divers and abalone divers, as it provides ocean access and a small beach. A beach launch facility is available for people to load and off load their boats or kayaks.

Stinson Beach
Opens at 9am.
A very popular beach in the community of Stinson Beach. Stretches for miles, this beach is family-friendly, although there have been shark attacks here in the past.

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Cavanaugh Pool
Open through August. 8th and G Street, Petaluma
This heated outdoor pool measures 20yd x 6yd, and 3ft to 6ft deep. Water temperature is approximately 86 degrees. Full stairs at one end of the pool. Pool area is sheltered on all sides by walls.
Family Swim: Mon-Sat 1-4pm
Toddler Time: Fridays 10-11am
Fees: Adult $5, Seniors $4, Youth and non-swimmer $2

Petaluma Swim Center
Open from June to September.  900 E. Washington, Petaluma
The Swim Center has a 50-meter heated outdoorpool and a heated wading pool from 2-3 feet deep. The complex includes heated showers, dressing rooms, a large deck and picnic areas.
Family swim: M,T,Th,F 12:30-7, Weds & Sat 12:30-6, Sun 12-5
Fees: Adult $6, Seniors $4, Youth and non swimmers $3.

Rohnert Park

Benicia Pool
Open from June 11 to September. 7469 Bernice Drive, RP
“B-Pool” is one of our more active pools and is often filled to capacity on hot summer days. The centerpiece is the 18-foot waterslide, which attracts users young and old and a one-meter diving board. Picnic area and shade is limited at this pool.
Family swim: Every day 1-4:15pm
$5 Adults, $3 Youths (under 18) and $4 Seniors

Honeybee Pool
Open from June 11 to September. 1170 Golf Course Drive, RP
Rohnert Park’s busiest pool is popular with families and lap swimmers. “H-Pool” is equipped with a one-meter diving board and has a child’s wading pool (not currently open)
Family swim: Mon-Fri 1:30-4:15pm, Sat & Sun 1:30-5:30pm
$5 Adults, $3 Youths (under 18) and $4 Seniors.

Magnolia Pool
Open from June 11 to September 1401 Middle brook Drive, RP
Family Swim: Mon-Sun 1-4:15pm
$5 Adults, $3 Youths (under 18) and $4 Seniors


Ives Pool
Open through August. 7400 Willow St, Sebastopol
Two Pools: Six Lane Pool 16 yards x 25 yards and Small Pool 16 yards x 14 yards.The only public pool in Sonoma County run by a successful Non Profit organization.
Family swim: M-F 1-3pm, Sat & Sun 2-4:30pm
Small pool family swim: M-F 6:15-8:30pm, Sat & Sun 11-2pm$4.50
Adults, $3 juniors

Santa Rosa

Finley Aquatic Center
Open through August . 2060 W. College Ave, Santa Rosa
2 large pools, full showers, and coin lockers.
Public Swim: Mon-Fri 1:30 – 4:45pm, Sat & Sun 1:30 – 6:00pm
$5 Adults, $4 ages 2-17

Ridgway Swim Center
Open through October. 455 Ridgway Ave, Santa Rosa
Features 140 ft waterslide, tumble buckets, and mushroom water features.
Public Swim: Mon-Fri 1:00 – 4:00pm, Friday 7:30 – 9:30pm, Sat & Sun 1:15 – 6:00pm
$5 Adults, $4 ages 2-17

Sonoma County YMCA
1111 College Avenue, Santa Rosa
2 indoor heated pools.See website for fees and public swim schedule.


Surrounding Areas

Francis Ford Coppola Winery Pool
Open through September, 11am-6pm
Beautiful 2-part pool in the lovely Coppola Winery. Featuring cabines to rent and a pool cafe. Reservations must be made in advance. Read more about our experience at the Coppola Pool.

Hamilton Pool (Novato)
Open through September.
Features a large pool and a shallow pool for kids with aplay structure, water slide, and water sprayers.

McNears Beach Park Pool (San Rafael)
Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, Wed-Sun 11am-5pm
Large Pool and a toddler pool in McNears Beach Park.$10 parking fee and $5 per person to use the pool.

Morton’s Warm Springs Resort (Glen Ellen) 
Open Tuesday-Sunday, June-August, 10-6pm. $5 for kids, $15 for 12 years and up.
2 Warm Natural Mineral Pools, Picnic and BBQ Sites, Wading Pool, Creek Trails, Baseball Field, Volleyball Court, Horseshoe Pit.

Windsor Friday Family Swim
Fridays, 6-8pm. The cost is $3 for youth, $4 for adults, and $12 for a family of four. An adult must attend with youth under 16 and be in the pool with kids 6 and younger.Windsor Senior Center, 9231 Foxwood Drive, Call 838-1250 for more details.


Splash pad at Howarth Park
Located in the playground area of the park, the splash pad isFREE and fun for kids. There are several water spouts that go off about every 15 minutes (confirm times) and the kids can run in and out and cool off.


** Fees and days/hours were correct at the time this article was written, however, are subject to change. Please call or check with the venue to confirm.

Join Broadway Under the Starts- Family friendly show. Click on the image for more info



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Water Parks in Northern California /Parques Acuáticos en el Norte de California

Easy Kalua Pig

How to Take a Fun, Stress-Free Family Vacation

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