Summer in Sonoma County’s Parks

Summer in Sonoma County’s Parks

Summer is a season indelibly linked to parks. But this is not a typical summer. As we navigate the longer-term reality of the pandemic, we must be vigilant about enjoying the season safely and using parks differently.
Below, we’ve outlined the activities available in the Regional Parks. This will help you plan some summer favorites – hiking, camping, visiting the beach and picnicking with your family – and know what’s changed this year.
We wish you a fun Fourth of July weekend, but with a statewide surge in coronavirus cases, we ask you to celebrate responsibly: Stay close to home, skip group gatherings, avoid crowded parks and wear face coverings when you’re near others. Let’s all keep doing our part to protect ourselves and our community.

Plan ahead before visiting the coast or river
Sonoma Coast
All of our Sonoma Coast beaches are open for summer fun. Please know that weekends, holidays and warm days are quite busy at Doran Beach , and the park closes when the parking lot fills. Visit on days that aren’t as popular or at non-peak hours. Have a Plan B destination in case the park is full.
Note: California State Parks has closed its beach parking lots for the July 4th weekend. We anticipate crowded lots elsewhere and recommend waiting until after the holiday to visit the coast.
Russian River
All of our Russian River beaches are open for swimming, paddling, fishing and other summer recreation. But weekends and holidays on the river are busy too, and river parks close when parking lots fill. It’s best to save your visits for days when crowds are less likely. (Please be aware of street parking rules near the river and respectful of park neighbors.)
We aren’t putting up the summer dam at Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach this year, due to the health emergency as well as the low river flows expected. However, the park is open for wading, and without the dam, there’s more shoreline to spread out for picnicking and sunbathing.
River safety
Our Russian River lifeguard patrol is visiting river parks daily through the summer. We don’t yet have our loaner life vests available on river beaches, but we hope to get them out soon, in compliance with new cleaning protocols. If you have your own life vest, please bring it.
Summer activities: Know before you go
Boat rentals at Spring Lake
Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available at Spring Lake Regional Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Personal boat launching on the lake is also allowed.
We do not plan to open the Spring Lake swimming lagoon at this time. The Otter Café and Environmental Discovery Center also remain closed.
Picnics and barbecues
Picnics are a summer tradition, and the latest health order allows an individual or members of the same household to use park picnic tables and barbecues.
Group picnic and barbecue sites remain closed. Groups who do not live together should not use individual picnic or barbecue sites.
Social gatherings
According to the latest health order, it’s OK to visit parks with a small group of friends. The order allows up 12 people from multiple households to hike together or hang out at a beach as long as you maintain at least 6 feet of distance and wear face coverings if you’re going to be closer than that.
Sports courts, recreation equipment
Tennis courts, disc golf courses, basketball courts, pickleball courts, sports fields and other recreation facilities can be used by one person, members of the same household or participants in organized recreation programs (who are following social distancing protocols.) High-touch areas like playgrounds remain closed.
Summer hikes
We’re not able to offer a Trails Challenge this summer, but the 2019 trails guidebook is available on our website as a free download for summer hiking suggestions.
We also have new self-guided “Quest” hikes that are fun, educational adventures to experience on your own, with your family or with socially distanced friends.
As always, we’d love to see your summer trail photos. Tag us with #SonomaCountyParks.
Frequently asked questions
For more information about what activities are allowed or what’s open, please see our Covid-19 status page and answers to frequently asked questions.
Visit the parks safely
Please continue to follow these guidelines to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus:
  • Stay at least 6 feet from others who are not part of your household.
  • Carry a face covering and use it when you are near other visitors, such as when passing on a trail.
  • Bring your own water; don’t use the drinking fountains.
  • Bring your own hand sanitizer and use it after touching shared surfaces.
  • Pack out your litter to reduce the amount of trash staff and visitors come into contact with.
  • Don’t visit a park if you have any symptoms of Covid-19.
Campgrounds, reservations now open
If you already have camping reservations for July or beyond, there’s nothing more to do but gather your gear and look forward to getting outdoors. If you want to reserve a campsite, you can now book one of our 200-plus sites on the Sonoma Coast, at Spring Lake or Hood Mountain one day to 12 months in advance.
You can reserve online anytime or by calling our reservations office at (707) 565-2267 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. (We recommend booking online – we have a new reservations website, one we think is much more user-friendly.)