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January to May

*phone numbers 707 unless noted
  • Whale Watching
    Great sites along the Sonoma Coast State Beaches, but two of the best are Bodega Head and Salt Point, which is about 10 miles north of Bodega Bay. Rangers and volunteers are usually on hand to answer questions on weekend afternoons. Time: 12 Noon - 5pm, 865-2391. The annual gray whale migration begins sometime in December and continues into April, but January is often considered to be the "peak time" for sightings due to the sheer numbers, but that really can vary. From December to early February the whales are migrating south to Baja's waters. In February whales begin migrating back to Alaska with their calves, so there's an overlap. On their northern migration they generally swim closer to shore with their babies on the shore side, so in early March you could very well see some to the calves--but tour boats are restricted from getting too close. Each year is somewhat different from the number of sightings, so you just have to approach it with a sense of adventure.

March to September

  • View harbor seal pups at Goat Rock, Stewards of Slavianka, Sonoma Coast State Beach, Jenner


  • Salmon Fishing season
  • Abalone diving season
  • April
    Russian River Wine Road Barrel Tasting
    Over 70 wineries participate in the longest running "Free" wine event in California, offering the opportunity to taste wines straight from the barrel and to purchase "futures." An event not to be missed! (800) 723-6336

    Semi-Annual Outdoor Antique Faire Held in Historic Downtown Petaluma (recently added to the national register) at Kentucky and Water Streets. Features 200 vendors. Come browse and bargain! Time: 8am - 4pm (707) 765-1155

    Butter & Egg Days Parade, Downtown Petaluma Parade features Petaluma's history as the World's Egg Basket. Cutest Little Chick contest, floats, and food booths. Parade starts at noon. 762-9348

    Apple Blossom Festival in Sebastopol. Family friendly celebration of Spring in the Wine Country. Saturday Parade kicks off two day fair with over 100 arts & crafts booths, 3 music performance stages, Sonoma grown food & wine pavilion, micro-brew garden, and lots of children's activities. Ed and Kathy's daughter is, of course, one of the most famous among the Apple Blossom Queens.
    The Festival is held at Ives Park, Sebastopol. 823-3032

    Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival, Bodega Bay. A weekend of wine, music, tradition, and fun. Bathtub races, decorated boat parade, crafts, art show & more. Blessing of the fishing fleet on Sunday. 875-3866


  • June
    Russian River Stumptown Days, Guerneville. Parade at 11am Saturday, Downtown Guerneville. Barbecue and rodeo in Duncans Mills Saturday & Sunday. (800) 253-8800

    Festival of Art and Wine, Duncans Mills. Featuring a fine art and quality craft show, 2 stages of entertainment, food, kids zone, art competition, a tasting with 15 wineries and 12 micro breweries, and the Duncans Mills duck races. Little rubber ducks race for great big prizes. A benefit for Stewards of Slavianka, the volunteer arm of State Parks. Fee: $5 Time: 10-5 pm 824-8404

    Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival
    , Sebastopol. Memorial concert featuring Arlo Guthrie, Iris Dement, Richie Havens, Utah Phillips and many, many more. Camping Available. Workshops and a Kids Area with Storytelling.

  • July
    Fireworks over Bodega Bay!

    Fireworks Over the River
    , Guerneville, Celebration usually includes other family activities beginning at dusk on the beach. Johnson's Beach, Guerneville. 869-9000

    Living History Day at Fort Ross, Fort Ross, Come join over one hundred costumed participants as they recreate the sights and sounds of a day in the life of this 19th century Russian-American Company settlement. 847-3286
  • August
    Petaluma Summer Music Festival. The City of Petaluma is the star each August when Cinnabar Theater stages this three-week celebration of the musical arts. Concerts are presented in the city's finest Victorian and Queen Anne homes, musical brunches are held in lush private gardens, children's programs are performed in the Polly Klaas Theater, and the Cinnabar Theater itself is host to a varied program of candlelight concerts, special events, operas, musicals and cabaret offerings. 763-8920

    Gravenstein Apple Fair, Sebastopol. For old-fashioned fun, visit the sweetest little fair in Sonoma County. Highlights the area's agriculture bounty with apple displays, sheep dog demonstrations, pie-eating contests, chef competitions, hay rides, arts and crafts, live entertainment and delicious foods, and much, much more! Held at the oak tree adorned Ragle Ranch Park, Sebastopol. Fee, Saturday / Sunday, 571-8288

    Grape to Glass, Russian River Winegrowers, Meet the growers, talk with the winemakers, taste the wines, experience the beauty! Exclusive vineyard and winery tours and tasting are open to the public once a year during this 3-day event. Over 30 vineyard and winery tours to choose from. Call RRVW, 546-3276

    Bodega Bay Seafood, Art and Wine Festival, Bodega Bay, This treasure of an event features delicious seafood offerings from over one dozen caterers, wine and beer tasting with an ocean view, a top-quality music and entertainment program, a hundred select art and craft exhibitors, a Recycled Art Competition, a hands-on Kids Art Zone, horseback riding and more! Held on the 700 acre Chanslor Ranch, on Highway 1, one mile north of the town of Bodega Bay. This event benefits the Chanslor Wetlands Wildlife Project. Fee: $6 Adults, $5 Seniors, Under 12yrs. Free Time: Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5, 824-8404


  • September
    Annual Studio Discovery Tour, North coast artists from Cazadero to The Sea Ranch, Gualala, and Little River will open their studios to the public. Visit the studios, meet the artist and see their sculpture, stained glass, paintings, ceramics, tiles, jewelry and much, much more! Contact Gualala Arts Center or the North Coast Artists' Guild for a free brochure. 884-4602 or 884-1138
  • September to March
    Winemaker Dinners at Bay View Restaurant, Inn at the Tides, Bodega Bay, 875-2751

    Russian River Jazz Festival
    , Guerneville, Two days of amazing music! Among the best festivals in Northern California, lying on the beach, splashing in the river, and resting among the redwoods while listening to music that moves you. The earlier you buy your tickets the less you pay. No glass, cans, pets or audio/video equipment allowed. Johnson's Beach, Guerneville. 869-3940

    Annual Sebastopol Celtic Festival, Sebastopol, Workshops, Scottish Games, and more! Call for schedule of performers and events. Fee, 823-1511
  • December -- Occidental Holiday Crafts Faire, The Occidental Community Council will host their 16th Annual Faire at the Occidental Community Center. This traditional event includes offerings from the rich cultural diversity that is West County. Entertainment, food. 874-3420

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