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5 Fun October Outdoor Events in Sonoma County

The Tolay Lake Fall Festival in Petaluma is a great stop during October!

October in Sonoma County is a great time to be out and about, with farm stands brimming with pumpkins, warm days and cool — even chilly — nights, ponds and marshes packed with migrating birds, and fewer people on the coast. Here are a few ideas to spark your next adventure:


Now through November:

Tolay Lake Fall Festival in petaluma, sonoma county

Get Active with Sonoma County Regional Parks

Plan fun and fabulous autumn activities at beautiful regional parks (most activities are free). Learn how to fish, bring the kids to a fascinating Science Saturday, attend the annual Tolay Fall Festival, take a sunset seaweed walk, attend a bilingual campfire talk at Stillwater Cove — and much, much more. To get started, download Regional Parks’ free Activities Guide for Fall.


Tour Sonoma County’s Water Supply and Russian River Fish Ladder

Oct. 13, 20, 27 (Fridays) and Oct. 14 (Saturday)

sonoma county russian riverCome along on one of Sonoma County Water Agency’s rare and free half-day tours of the Russian River Water Supply System, visiting facilities that divert, pump and treat the water delivered by the Water Agency to 600,000+ residents in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. The tour also provides an opportunity to see the Russian River fish ladder and viewing gallery, with the possibility of spotting migrating fish. The facilities on the tour are only open to the public during these infrequently scheduled tours. To learn more and sign up, visit www.scwa.ca.gov/tours/.


Enjoy a Weekend Along the Farm Trails

Oct. 14 & 15 (Saturday & Sunday)

sonoma county shone farm trailsExplore Sonoma County’s gorgeous back roads and celebrate our renowned agricultural community during this wonderful annual event. Farm Trails members’ gates and barns will be open for visitors the entire weekend. Among other things, you and the family can learn how to milk a cow, see the way cheese is made, meet farmers and vintners, take a hay ride, pet baby animals, sample fabulous food, and a whole lot more. This event is not to be missed! Most stops along the route are free, but you’ll need to register for the event in order to receive a list of participating venues. To register for the weekend, visit this page. You can download a free Sonoma County Farm Trails Map & Guide here. To learn more about Farm Trails, visit www.farmtrails.org.


Snap Night Photography at Jack London State Historic Park

Photo of Jack London State Historic Park at night by Ray Mabry

Oct. 21 (Saturday)

Enjoy the rare privilege of night photography at Jack London’s Beauty Ranch (now Jack London State Historic Park), chasing the light while capturing night photography styles such as sunset, light painting and possibly star fields. Professional photographer Ray Mabry (Photo on Right) will take participants through his camera settings, equipment, tips, and techniques that make dramatic and surreal evening images. You’ll then turn theory into reality by capturing the golden light of sunset on the color-tinged vineyards, and, as the sky darkens, transforming the historic stone buildings with light painting (if it’s a clear evening, you’ll capture a star field to augment the light painting). Light refreshments will be served. 4:30-11:30 p.m. For more info, visit this page or phone 707-938-5216.

Jack London SHP, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen.


Gain or Improve Motorcycle Skills at Moto Camp 

Oct. 27-29 (Friday-Sunday)

moto camp in sonoma countyJoin other beginning and experienced women motorcyclists for award-winning racer Shelina Moreda’s Halloween Costume Moto Camp, where you’ll learn new skills and enhance old ones from professional female motorcyclists. The camp is held in Sonoma County’s bucolic Petaluma countryside. Enjoy fun activities, including rides to a pumpkin patch and riding with costumes. Rental bikes and lodging options are available. Open to riders of any level, no experience required (for beginners, there’s a required “kickstarter” program on Oct. 27). Tuition: $490/person before Oct. 13; $535 after that date (“Kickstart,” if needed, is an extra $150). To learn more, visit shezracing.com/programs/.


Looking for more things to do on your visit? See more fun things to do in Sonoma County. 

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