Summer Events in the Sonoma County Parks
There’s always something happening in Sonoma County’s state and regional parks, especially when the weather warms up. Here’s a look at some of the big-time events and ongoing fun in our parks during the summer of 2018.
All Summer Long
Camping in State and Regional Parks
Coastal and inland camping is available in Sonoma County’s state and regional parks throughout the year, and demand increases during the summer (read our guides for the county’s state parks and regional parks, as well as our Guide to Camping in Sonoma County). Try to reserve as far in advance as possible.
One of the newest additions to the county’s regional park camping scene: three sleeping cabins at Spring Lake Regional Park. Each rustic cabin provides sleeping platforms with mattresses (bring sleeping bags or bedding), decks with seating, a picnic table, fire ring, charcoal grill, food locker, and a porch. Cabins have no electricity; they are sized to accommodate four or six people, with room for one or two tents outside. Download a cabin guide. For more info, visit this page.
With more than 120 tent and RV campsites on the Pacific Ocean and a pristine, two-mile stretch of beach, Doran Regional Park is one of the county’s most popular seaside campgrounds. Learn more and reserve a site here.
Lifeguard, Surf, Sea Squirts and Environmental Science Camps for Kids
This series of kid-oriented camps is adventurous and fun as can be — but it’s also a terrific way for youngsters to learn lifelong safety skills (from the water sports camps) and deepen an appreciation for nature (from the environmental science camps). The camps begin on June 18 with the Spring Lake Junior Guard Camp, which runs through June 22; the last classes are Discovery Camp (Aug. 6-10, Spring Lake Regional Park) and Surf Camp (Aug. 6-9, Doran Regional Park). Fees per class range from $125 to $250; some scholarships are available. Classes are held at either Spring Lake, Doran, or Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach regional parks. More info.
Trails Challenge: Get Active Together Series
Want to be more outdoorsy but unsure how to get started? This series of three free guided treks — all on easy trails — is perfect for you. Explore three different wild spaces in the county with an experienced guide while learning how to read a trail map, observe the nature around you, and the ins and outs of proper trail etiquette and safety. It’s also a great opportunity to make new hiking friends. The treks are held on June 3 at Spring Lake Regional Park; July 29 at Ragle Ranch Regional Park; and August 19 at Riverfront Regional Park. For more info, visit this page.
Beach Side Campfire Program (Saturday evenings)
Join other outdoor-lovers for an interactive campfire on the beach at Doran Regional Park, with topics ranging from local animal habits to the area’s cultural history. Campfires — open to the public as well as to Doran campers — run every Saturday evening through Thanksgiving weekend. More information. Doran Regional Park, 201 Doran Beach Rd., Bodega Bay.
Nature Heals Outings
This free series sponsored by Sonoma County Regional Parks allows you to enjoy the beauty of various parks while exploring nature’s various restorative and healing methods. Practice yoga beneath the oaks of Shiloh Ranch, laugh with the Chalkboard Players at Crane Creek, practice photography with others at Sonoma Valley Regional Park. Events take place on various days, both morning and evening, at these and other regional parks through August. For more information, visit this page.
Explore the Redwoods with the Family
June 9 (Saturday)
Bring the kids to Family Day in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. On hand in the picnic area: loads of interactive activities and festivities geared to all ages, including nature stations, the "Steward Ship" marine van, live music, food, and drinks (unlike previous years, however, no horse & carriage rides will be available in 2018). Parking is free in a designated area less than a mile from the park entrance (a shuttle can ferry those unable to walk to the picnic area). Parking in the picnic area will also be available, but at the normal day-use fee of $8/vehicle. Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville.
Hike the Coast with your Kids
July 26-28 (Thursday-Saturday)
Coastwalk California’s Sonoma Family Adventure is two fun days of learning, exploring, and camping in the county’s northernmost coastal parks. Your family will get to know the scenic trails of Salt Point State Park and the tide pools of Gerstle Cove Marine Sanctuary; learn about the coastal native habitats along the trail to Stump Beach; collect salt on the Tafoni rock formations; and attend the annual Fort Ross Festival on July 28. Biologist Peter Leveque leads all walks. Evenings are for in-camp hot meals, storytelling, and singing. Cost: $200 per adult (each paying adult may bring one child for free). Information: Cea Higgins, 707-829-6689 or [email protected]. Location provided at registration.
Visit Fort Ross on an Unforgettable Day
July 28 (Saturday)
The annual Fort Ross Festival provides a fab excuse to venture to the county’s beautiful far northern coast. Taking place at Fort Ross State Historic Park, this year’s festival highlights the Kashia, Russian, Alaska Native, and California ranch-era peoples who lived at Fort Ross over the centuries. So expect to enjoy Kashia Pomo ceremonial dancing, costumed historical vignettes, horse and buggy rides, Russian bell ringing, Alaska Native craftspeople, traditional Russian performances by the San Francisco Balalaika Ensemble, and even a bit of singing along to American Swing. And, of course, an international food bazaar and the Fort Ross Beer Garden. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $20 per car. Fort Ross State Historic Park, 19005 Coast Highway One, Jenner.
Take a Big Bite of Sonoma’s Apple
August 11 & 12 (Saturday & Sunday)
The 45th Gravenstein Apple Fair will once again offer up a bountiful weekend of good old-fashioned fun at Sebastopol’s Ragle Ranch Regional Park. The county’s famed Gravensteins will be widely available and celebrated, of course, but fair-goers will also find live music on two stages, scrumptious food from a multitude of vendors, a Chef’s Tent with guest chefs sharing recipes and tastes, and local wines, craft ciders, and microbrews. As if that weren’t enough, other enticements include a Children’s corner (arts & crafts, farm animals), DIY workshops with experts, artists and crafters, cowboy storytelling, sheep shearing, and much more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets range from $8-$15 (kids under 5 enter free). Ragle Ranch Regional Park, 500 Ragle Road, Sebastopol.