Photo: Cyclists in town

Cycling is popular in Petaluma, thanks in part to the many lightly trafficked roads winding out to numerous dairy farms.

Photograph by Scott Hess

Pop. 56,727
GPS: 38°14'N 122°38'W

Forty-five minutes north of San Francisco, Petaluma was once known as the “world’s egg basket” because of its abundant dairy farms. What we’re keen on are the roads that wind through those dairy farms: long and lightly trafficked biking loops that stretch through the countryside. In the town center, sailors and kayakers can step right off the river and directly into the local restaurants and antique shops that line the historic district.

PLAY

Bike the rolling green hills of wine and dairy country on the 30-mile (48-kilometer) Chileno Valley Loop, a local favorite, or sign up for a free group ride at the Bici Sport bike shop and pedal through Sonoma County and to the coast (www.bicisportusa.com). Or rent a kayak from Clavey and launch off the town dock onto the Petaluma River (one-day kayak rentals, from $50; www.clavey.com).

EAT

Della Fattoria, which means “from the farm” in Italian, serves up pastries and fresh organic artisan bread (www.dellafattoria.com). Come evening, head over to Lagunitas Brewing Company for a tour, tasting, and live music Wednesday through Sunday (www.lagunitas.com).

SLEEP

Bed down in bright colors at the quirky Métro Hôtel & Café, a shockingly pink inn with a French flair (doubles from $99; www.metrolodging.com).

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