We are thrilled to partner with the 2018 Sonoma County Fair to bring you our Ultimate Guide to Summer Activities. Every year we search for items that would make a perfect “bucket list” for you and your kids to tackle during the summer season and this year we are proud to share a list with well over 100 activities, events, and sight-seeing experiences, most of which are cheap or free!
::HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE::
We included anchor links at the top and bottom of our content so you are able to jump to any section you’re interested in re-reading. Otherwise, scroll and enjoy! Most of our images are linked to more great summer friendly content. First, check out what the fair has to offer this year!
Salute To Heroes:: The 2018 Sonoma County Fair
Plan Your Fair Days Now:
- Participate in Pre-Fair Contests to win Fair tickets and carnival ride passes for the Sonoma County Fair. (Entries due by June 29th)
- Every THURSDAY is Kid’s Day at the Sonoma County Fair! Children 12 and younger receive free General Admission to the Fair every THURSDAY. (August 2 & 9)
- Visit the FREE Kids Area. Packed full with craft projects and hands-on activities plus plenty of grass and shade to relax. The Parent’s Rest Station is a clean and comfortable place for changing diapers and nursing.
- Rock out with one of our FREE Community Concerts every night of the Fair. All live music is FREE with Fair Admission.
2018 Concert Line Up:
- Queen Nation (August 2),
- Batalla de Bandas (August 3),
- Blues Festival featuring Joe Louis Walker, Carolyn Wonderland and Grady Champion (August 4),
- Ismael Gallegos and Uri Ceballos (August 5),
- John Michael Montgomery (August 6),
- Blood Sweat and Tears (August 7),
- Super Diamond (August 8),
- La Raza Obrera del Gurrumino y El Viejito (August 9),
- Sawyer Brown (August 10),
- Elvis Singing Contest (August 11),
- Arkangel R-15 (August 12).
- You don’t have to be a Farmer to love Farmers Day, August 5th, at the Sonoma County Fair. Bring the whole family to enjoy an afternoon of barnyard events for all ages. And, like so many great shows, it’s free with your general admission.
- Don’t miss out on this year’s most popular carnival rides! Pre-sale carnival tickets are available through August 1 at the Box Office.
- Stop by Sweet Lil’s for lots of ag-tivities! Visit with baby animals and learn about life on the Farm.
- Have a Mom’s Day Out at the Sonoma County Fair’s Wine Country Races!
- Dress up, don your most fashionable hat and come to the track for Hat Day at Wine County Racing. Trackside lunch and wine make this afternoon of elegance even more enjoyable.
Quick Links By Activity
click any icon below to be directed to that category of activities
Take A Dip or a Dive
- Jump into the floating Water Park at Spring Lake.
- Burke’s Canoe Trips invites you to spend a day (or more) canoeing down the famous Russian River.
- Enjoy the beautiful Veteran’s Memorial Beach on the Russian River in Healdsburg.
- Take a dip in Lake Berryessa.
- Grab some sand, riverfront at Johnson’s beach, where you can also rent paddleboats!
- Rejuvenate in the two warm mineral spring pools, relax under the oak canopy, and picnic on the grassy hills at Morton’s Warm Springs.
- Take your kids down to a public swim and dip under the water features at Ridgway Swim Center.
- Go Paddle Boating!
- Splash around at the community pool in Calistoga.
- Take a swim lesson at St. Helena’s gorgeous pool.
- Cool off in Yountville’s fantastic community pool.
- Whereever you go, make sure to take our 10 Brilliant Beach Hacks post with you!
FREE Library Events:
- Marin Libraries Kid’s Activities
- Marin Libraries Teen Activities
- Napa Libraries Activities
- Sonoma Libraries Kid’s Activities
- Sonoma Libraries Teen Activities
Fun Local “Field Trips”!
- Environmental Discovery Center at Spring Lake hosts Science Saturdays experiments at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month.
- Check out the Petrified Forest and be a witness to redwood trees that once grew in abundance here and were turned to stone 3.4 million years ago by a local volcano.
- Watch the Old Faithful Geyser explode, and read about it’s history of earthquake prediction!
- Take in the night sky at the Star Parties at Sugarloaf.
- Dig deep into Crazy Awesome Science the the children’s museum, geared for kids of all ages, every Friday.
- Civil War Days in Duncan Mills Every July, people from all over flock to the beautiful Russian River Valley to watch history come alive.
- Take a step back in history at the Petaluma Adobe and learn about General Vallejo’s ranch.
- Open cockpit at the Pacific Coast Air Museum! Look right into the cockpits of vintage aircraft, and actually climb aboard and sit inside some of them!
- Learn about the former state capitol, Sonoma by visiting Sonoma State Historic Park.
Explore Uniquely Wine Country Experiences
- Take your toddler to Train Town and enjoy a little locomotive action!
- Come to Doran Beach Campgrounds in Bodega Bay the Friday Night Kite Fly with demonstration kites, or bring your own.
- Get Coastal in Tomales Bay with a Picnic and Oysters. When you book a picnic table with a grill, they provide oyster shucking tools, lemons, hot sauce, fresh grated horseradish, Hogwash and a complimentary shucking lesson (just ask).
- Get your mom-chill on at two of the most mild beaches in the crisp and salty NorCal: Heart’s Desire (Tomales) and Doran (Bodega).
- Grab Some Taffy at Patrick’s Taffy in Bodega Bay.
- Stroll down Florence Avenue in Sebastapol and enjoy all the funky junk art from local artists, Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent.
- Grab your binoculars and check out the Harbor Seals at Jenner and Goat Rock Beach.
- Feed the Ducks at Howarth Park.
- Root for the home team and go to a baseball game, in Healdsburg, Sonoma, and Napa!
Beat the Heat with these Air-Conditioned Activities
- Dust off the your boogie-woogie and head on over to CalSkate for either $2 Tuesdays or Free Quad Fridays.
- Enjoy one of the many, many, local storytimes in Napa and Sonoma County.
- Kick off Summer Play Days at the Disney Store! Join us for in-store events including Art of Animation, Showtime, Story Time and Star Wars Trivia.
- Find the next great read with the Kids’ Next reading list at Copperfield’s Bookstore.
- Get your lego on at the Sonoma County Library.
- Go Bowling for FREE where kids who register, can enjoy two great games every day, all summer long at Windsor Bowl and Double Decker Bowling Alley.
- Join us at your local library at the estimated day and time to open Summer Reading at each site!
- Go Ice Skating at Snoopy’s Home Ice, where it feels like an Alpine village in a Redwood Forest.
- Get your sticker on with a guided tour at Mrs. Grossman’s sticker factory.
- Learn the secrets to how we create the legendary Jelly Belly in a FREE factory tour, and discover why it takes more than a week to make a single bean.
- Get your inner-racing needs met with a lap or six at Driven in Rohnert Park and Fairfield
Click below for more ways to stay cool this summer:
Get Out of Town
- Here are 15 Fun and Unique SF ideas for kids.
- Go to a Giants game (Bleacher seats are pretty cheap, and right in front of the crab sandwiches!)
- Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Go to the Marine Mammal Center.
- Hike and enjoy the stunning beauty of Point Bonita Lighthouse.
- Go to Chinatown.
- Drive down the world’s windiest road.
- Picnic in Golden Gate Park.
- Ride a Cable Car, the city’s only moving historic landmark.
- Enjoy a free day at the Cal Academy of Sciences.
- 10 California Coast Vacays
- Take a Road Trip to Santa Cruz
- Plan a Staycation in Bodega Bay
- Enjoy a day trip to Tiburon
Free and Cheap Movies
- American Canyon Movies in the Park every 2nd and 4th Saturdays June 9th to September 22nd! Showtime at dusk.
- Enjoy the cheapest movie theater experience with Summer Movie Clubhouse in Napa AND Vallejo where movies are only 1 dollar per person or $5 for 10!
- The Town of Yountville Parks and Recreation Department is thrilled to announce their “Hot Summer Movie Night Series” Once a month on Fridays from June to September.
- FREE Beat the afternoon summer heat and chill out in the library with our Summer Cinema in Healdsburg.
- Reel Kids Summer Movie Series at Reading Cinemas, offers discounted tickets in Rohnert Park.
- Bring our blankets for Outdoor Movies at Howarth Park- FREE, East Santa Rosa.
- Free Movies on the Green at the Green Music Center in Rohnert Park
- Tuesday Night free movies, on the Green in Windsor.
Great Local Music & Night Markets
- Napa City Nights Concerts downtown from 6:30-10 pm every Friday.
- Yountville Music in the Park at Veteran’s Memorial Park on Sundays once a month from June to September.
- Dance your cares away at Live at Julliard: Now celebrating its 25th season, this FREE concert series brings some of the Bay Area’s finest bands to Julliard Park.
- The Peacetown Summer Concert Series at Ives Park (Sebastapol) is just around the corner, FREE, beginning July and continues all summer on Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m.
- Head to Healdsburg for Tuesdays in the Plaza: A true community gathering, bring blankets, chairs, and a picnic, FREE!
- Downtown Cloverdale comes alive every Friday evening throughout the summer, with Friday Night Live at the Plaza and the Cloverdale Farmers Market, FREE.
- Windsor Summer Nights hosts the The Windsor Farmers Market, complete with food trucks and lawn games, concert starts at 6 p.m, FREE.
- Rockin’ Concerts take place each Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. in Village Court, FREE.
- The Wednesday Night Market is back in full force this year for downtown Santa Rosa, have you been?
Exercise Options for the Kids
- Zumba at the Petaluma library FREE for ages 5 and up.
- Enjoy the gentlest of the giants at Armstrong Redwoods Preserves.
- Hike the Bouverie Preserve, where four hour guided nature walks only come with a $20 per person suggested donation.
- Walk and Learn at the PlanetWalk, a scale model of the solar system designed to fit within the boundaries of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. Trails and signs were severely damaged in the recent fires, restoration and some re-routing are in progress, with an expected completion in July.
- Enjoy a FREE docent-led tour at Jack London State Park and learn about the man behind Call of the Wild.
- Hike Helen Putnam in Petaluma.
- Do a Peanut’s inspired treasure hunt and find all the Snoopy Characters around Sonoma County!
- Download a Geochaching app, and start digging!
Other Summer Fun, for Home and Beyond
- Host a Backyard movie night.
- Build a backyard fort.
- Make some art.
- Picnic at the park.
- Make a kite.
- Run a lemonade stand.
- Go berry picking.
- Join Scholastic’s Summer Reading Program.
- Start up the backyard firepit and make some Smores
- Camp in the backyard!
- Play some boardgames.
- Make sun tea.
- Write a letter.
- Organize a “backyard grape stomp” in honor of our region!
- Make some welcoming sidewalk chalk art, paint style.
- Make a bird feeder with a pinecone, nut butter, and seeds.
- Make some homemade ice cream in a bag.
- Create a neighborhood scavenger hunt.
- Host a neighborhood bike parade.
- DIY with tie-dye t-shirts.
- Make a kid “car” wash.
- Host a neighborhood popcicle party with homemade popcicles.
- Make some Giant Bubbles.
- Go treasure hunting for a garage sale (in the garage).
- Make some garden art.
- Watch a movie series at home.
- Have a sleepover.