The Best Part of Summer in the North Bay
Farmers’ Markets, Wineries, Outdoor Activities & the Coastal Influence
Summer is just around the corner. As the weather heats up and the grapes are budding out, I’m reminded about the best parts of the season in the North Bay. While other parts of our state and country are beating the heat with air conditioning, the coastal influence in the North Bay keeps us pleasantly active and outdoors.
Our county offers incredible farmers’ markets, music, art tours, wineries, hiking, cycling, beautiful beaches, and a picturesque coastline. Each town has its own vibe and energy in the summer months catering to the range of residents and visitors with activities that are great for families, adults & seniors.
Head out to Tuesdays in the Plaza in Healdsburg or the Peacetown Summer Concert Series in Sebastopol and you will see all ages swaying to the beat, sipping on a delicious beverage, and possibly enjoying a farm-fresh picnic. Luxuriate at one of our top rated spas or experience tastings at your favorite winery.
After living in Sonoma County for decades, I am able to offer an insider’s view on fun things to do during the warmer months of the year. In fact, offering advice about fun things to do in this magnificent area—and referring great businesses—is something I really enjoy about my job. Read on to discover my favorite parts of the season in this beautiful county.
Summer in the North Bay: The Great Outdoors
Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the North Bay in droves to hike, bike, cycle, run, walk and enjoy the beautiful natural wonders. From the towering old growth redwood trees to the dramatic, rugged coastline, the North Bay has it all. Sonoma County alone maintains 11 State Parks and 50 regional parks. If you’re new to town or visiting, be sure to check out the following places:
Step into the amazing wonderland of Armstrong Redwoods State Park with old growth trees towering 200-250 feet overhead. You will get a sense of the majestic beauty that canvased the landscape before logging operations in the 19th century. Take an easy stroll and picnic under these ancient wonders, or spend a day hiking to the Bullfrog Pond Campground (9 miles round trip!).
The ancient coast redwood is the tallest living thing on our planet! These remarkable trees live to be 500-1,000 years old, grow to a diameter of 12-16 feet, and stand from 200-250 feet tall. Some trees survive to over 2,000 years and tower above 350 feet.
Summer in Bodega Bay offers a cool relief when temperatures soar inland. Spend a day enjoying Doran Beach (great for kids!) or Salmon Creek Beach in Sonoma Coast State Park. For pleasant walking with exquisite cliffside views, check out Bodega Head and the Kortum Trail—one of my all-time favorites.
Discover quintessential Sonoma County oak woodland, painted with exquisite wildflowers between April – June. Explore miles upon miles of beautiful trails perfect for hiking, trail running, mountain biking and riding. When it gets hot, hike up to Lake Illsanjo and jump in the water.
Summer in the North Bay: Farmers’ Markets
It turns out this amazing wine country is also a Foodie’s paradise. The incredible climate allows farmers to grow produce year-round and an eco-conscious community vibe keeps sustainable agriculture in business. Head to one of our farmers’ markets to pick up food for a picnic—or groceries for the week. Stop by for the people watching and music. You won’t be disappointed!
Sundays (May-October): 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Railroad Square, Santa Rosa
Our favorite market in Santa Rosa is located right downtown with a happening neighborhood vibe. There’s a beer garden and live music for entertainment.
Tuesdays 10 am – 1:30 pm, year-round
Petaluma Walnut Park
Saturdays 2 pm – 5:30 pm, May – Nov
Petaluma Theatre District
Wednesdays 4:30 pm – 8 pm, June – August
Stop by one of these three Petaluma farmers’ markets on your way into town for an amazing selection of fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy, fish, hot foods, and artisanal goods.
Sundays 10 am – 1:30 pm, year-round
Sebastopol’s market is a community event with live music and great people watching. You will find a delicious selection of hot food, sustainable farms, friendly farmers with beautiful produce, and live music. The town square has open lawns where families sit down to picnic and children play.
Tuesdays (June-August, rain or shine): 9 a.m.-1 p.m., on the downtown Plaza
Saturdays (May-November, rain or shine): 8:30 a.m.-noon, West Plaza Parking Lot
This fun community market features fresh produce, prepared food, meat & dairy, and great crafts. For a better selection, visit the Healdsburg market on Saturdays. To avoid the crowds, check it out on Tuesdays.
Discover more markets in Sonoma County: CLICK HERE
Summer in the North Bay: Wineries
As the weather warms up, spend an afternoon touring spectacular wine country. Home to world class Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, tourists flock to Sonoma County to taste rare vintages and enjoy the majestic landscape. Bring a picnic and luxuriate among green vineyards and blue skies. Discover a few of my favorite wineries in the area…
3575 Slusser Rd, Windsor CA 95492
Nestled within the storied Saralee’s Vineyard in the heart of the Russian River Valley in a historic barn dating back to 1900, the new La Crema Estate is the premier destination for wine education and cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
18000 Old Winery Rd, Sonoma CA 95476
Founded in 1857, Buena Vista is California’s first premium winery, and its history is as colorful as it is proud. Today, the legend is being re-born under the vision of Jean-Charles Boisset. Just outside the town of Sonoma, the original winery is now a California Historic Landmark, and home to our Winery, Tasting Room, and Visitor’s Center.
9592 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood CA 95452
Welcome to historic Kenwood Vineyards. Our friendly staff invites you to taste a variety of award-winning wines from some of Sonoma County’s most well-known vineyards.