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Explore the Tranquil Petaluma River

Petaluma River Festivals

The Petaluma River is a veritable sea of activity attracting recreational boaters, rowers, kayakers, photographers, bird watchers and anglers to explore, play or just relax.

Since the mid 1800s, the Petaluma River has been a vital commercial link for shipping produce and poultry to San Francisco. Today, the river overflows with personality-packed events and recreational options.

A bird watcher’s paradise at the Petaluma Wetlands

Only two miles from downtown, this serene haven for bird watchers seems hundreds of miles from civilization. Over 200 species of birds have been identified in the 500 acres of public wetlands with nine distinct habitats.

You’ll want your binoculars because during the active season from April to July, more than 60 nests of Great Egret, Snowy Egret and Great Blue Heron can be seen. The wetlands have trails through a variety of habitats ranging from tidal salt marshes to freshwater marshes.

Central to the wetlands is Shollenberger Park, one of Petaluma’s natural treasures. Bird watching, walking or jogging, and dog walking are popular activities on the more than seven miles of scenic trails. Our mild climate means that you can enjoy them year-round or learn about the wildlife from a Petaluma Wetlands expert on free docent-guided nature and bird walks October through June.

Let your cares float away on the Petaluma River

If you want to experience the Petaluma River but don’t have a boat, Dolphin Charters offers educational three-hour cruises in April, May and October.  You will want to bring your binoculars for viewing the many varieties of waterfowl.

Or get eye-to-eye with an egret in a kayak or paddleboard. Let the experts at Clavey Paddlesports get you outfitted and on the water in no time.

If you’re not sure what type of non-motorized vessel suits you, Friends of the Petaluma River will help you try a canoe, kayak, rowboat or sailboat. Join them on Sundays from 10am to 1pm at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center at Steamer Landing Park. Low tide cancels; visit their website to confirm.

Petaluma River events

Rivertown Revival in July celebrates “The Greatest Slough on Earth” (the Petaluma River is actually a tidal slough that leads to San Francisco Bay). Produced by Friends of the Petaluma River, the festival features art boat races, live musical entertainment, and arts and crafts like you’ve never seen before.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, kick off the holiday season with Santa and Mrs. Claus’s Riverboat Arrival. The Christmas couple arrives at River Plaza Shopping Center by tugboat and then they stay for family photos and wish lists.

For more details about seasonal events taking place on the Petaluma River, click here.

Step off your boat and into historic downtown

If you dock in Petaluma, you’ll be within steps of dozens of excellent restaurants, unique shops, antique stores, and live entertainment. Or take in the latest blockbuster at Boulevard Cinemas, you still won’t need any car keys.

For drawbridge openings call (707) 778-4303. For Petaluma Marina information call (707) 778-4489.

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