Summer’s underway, which means there’s even more than usual happening in Sonoma County right now. If you’re visiting for the first time—or if you live here and are seeking ideas for new ways to have fun outdoors—here are a few suggestions for July:
Tour a Field of Beautiful Blooming Lavender
Every Weekend in July
On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays this month you can enjoy the Monte-Bellaria Lavender Bloom. Your $10 pre-paid, time-access ticket includes admission, parking, and a tour of the property’s expansive lavender fields, beehives, and distillation laboratory (the farm store sells fresh lavender, lavender essential oils, olive oil, and honey products). Picnic tables by the farm pond will be available for everyone’s use. Admission is limited to 25 people per hour. Children under 18 go free. More info.
Monte-Bellaria de California, 3518 Bloomfield Rd., Sebastopol 95472
Hike to a Spectacular Fourth of July Fireworks Display
July 4 (Thursday)
Want to see 18 different fireworks displays all at once? Climb Sonoma Valley’s tallest peak, Bald Mountain, during the annual Fireworks Hike at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. This is a steep and strenuous hike, demanding that you be fit enough to gain 1,500 feet in elevation and walk 6.5 miles. From atop Bald Mountain you’ll watch the sun set, followed by fireworks going off across the Bay Area—all while enjoying lemonade, libation, hearty snacks, and sweets. Reservations required: $50/adults, $10 kids 12-17 (not recommended for kids under 12). More information.
Explore the Wonders of Seaweed and Sea Veggies
July 6 (Saturday)
Walk about half a mile down a steep trail at Stillwater Cove Regional Park to learn about the algae that forms the base of the ocean’s food chain, and also meet some intertidal animals who feed on seaweed. After the hike, stay to try a cup of seaweed soup. Wear shoes you don't mind getting wet. Meet at the trailhead in the northwest corner of the day use parking lot. Free, but $7 parking fee applies (free for Regional Parks members). More info: 707-847-3245.
Stillwater Cove Regional Park, 22455 Hwy 1, Jenner, CA 95450
Take a Sunset Hike at Bear Canyon Wildlands
July 11 (Thursday)
Here’s a rare opportunity to explore, on a guided hike, a 96-acre conservation easement protected by Sonoma Land Trust since 2002. Bear Canyon drains into Sausal Creek, a tributary to the Russian River, and its wildlands offer rugged terrain with amazing views. Expect a steep Level 3 hike (not for beginners), but the pace will be slow enough that hikers can enjoy the sight of the sun going down over the wilderness. 6-9 p.m. Fee: $15, with registration required (scholarship tickets available at registration). For more information, email [email protected] or phone 707-526-6930 x. 110. Meetup location will be given after registering. Note: This hike will also be given on Thursday, July 25.
Compete in the Salt Point Trail Run
July 13 (Saturday)
At one of Sonoma County’s most beautiful green spaces – Salt Point State Park – you’ll run the ancient trails of the Pomo people along the rugged north Sonoma County coastline, passing sandstone cliffs, kelp-dotted coves, tide pools, pygmy forests, and panoramic views. The Salt Point Trail Run features 50K, 26K, 15K, and 9K events, quality aid stations, high energy volunteers, and a festive BBQ atmosphere at the finish line. The day starts at 8 a.m. Entry fees vary with the race, ranging from $55-$109 ($15 extra on Race Day). Camping available. For more info and to register, visit this page.
Salt Point State Park, 25050 CA-1, Jenner 95450
Enjoy Free Concerts at Lake Sonoma
July 14 & July 28 (Sundays)
Take in the beauty of Lake Sonoma and the view from the scenic Red Barn while enjoying great music at the Lake Sonoma Music Series. On the schedule are Indie Rockers Justin Schaefers & The Blind Barbers (7/14) and Funk & Soulsters Trace Repeat (7/28). Entry is free; beer, wine, and food are available on site. 4 p.m.-Sunset. Consider coming early for a hike or a horseback ride.
The Ranch at Lake Sonoma, 100 Marina Rd., Lot A, Geyserville 95441
Investigate the Past with a Scavenger Hunt
July 20 (Saturday)
Explore Helen Putnam Regional Park’s cultural history by way of a scavenger hunt that will reveal what the landscape looked like prior to Spanish/Mexican settlements. You’ll also learn about the Coast Miwok, and take a journey back in time to General Vallejo’s ranches. Families and folks of all ages welcome. Parking $7 or free for Regional Parks members. For more information, contact Irma Cuevas ([email protected]) or phone her at (707) 565-7888.
Helen Putnam Regional Park, 411 Chileno Valley Rd., Petaluma 94952
Sing and Dance at the Fabulous Fort Ross Festival
July 27 (Saturday)
Don’t miss the annual Fort Ross Festival, which takes place on Sonoma County’s beautiful far northern coast at Fort Ross State Historic Park. You’ll get a glimpse of the Fort Ross past by experiencing Kashia Pomo ceremonial dancing, traditional Russian performances, the works of Alaska Native craftspeople, musket and cannon firings—and even a bit of singing along to American Swing. Maybe you’ll want to enter the 2nd Annual Fort Ross Borscht Cook-Off? And, of course, there will be an international food bazaar and the Fort Ross Beer Garden. 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. $20 per car. Pay at the gate or online in advance.
Fort Ross State Historic Park, 19005 Coast Hwy, Jenner 95450