Published: October 2009Best Adventure Towns

Petaluma, California

Plan a long weekend getaway with our Petaluma adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat. Then chime in with your picks.

Photograph courtesy of 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.

Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite Petaluma adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.

Bike the rolling green hills of wine and dairy country on the 30-mile 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 ( Or rent a kayak from Clavey and launch off the town dock onto the Petaluma River (one-day kayak rentals, from $50;

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

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

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