Things to Do on a Budget in Santa Rosa this Summer


Renowned for its world class wineries, Santa Rose may be an epicurean’s paradise, but it’s also a city you can enjoy on a budget – with some great things to see and do during the summer months that won’t break the bank.

(Photo: harminder dhesi via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

Situated in Sonoma County in California, the city of Santa Rosa benefits from a superb climate that adds to its broad appeal as a summer destination. And while many come here to immerse themselves in the area’s rich wine-making scene, there are plenty of attractions and activities that are perfectly affordable too. Here are 12 of the best to enjoy this summer time.

Annadel State Park

Santa Rosa is surrounded by breath-taking natural scenery, and one of the jewels in its pastoral crown is Annadel State Park. A haven for hikers and cyclists, the 5,200 acre park offers access to over 40 miles of interconnected trails of varying length and difficulty, each providing stunning views over the Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma Valley. During the summer months, visitors can also enjoy the shaded respite afforded by the park’s riparian woodland, dotted as they are with large oak and manzanita trees.

6201 Channel Drive

Children’s Museum of Sonoma County

If you’re in Santa Rosa with the family during one of the city’s blisteringly hot summer days, then you may like the idea of heading indoors for at least a chunk of the day. Step forward the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County, one of the city’s best family-friendly attractions, designed to inspire curiosity and creativity in your little ones through joyful, transformative exhibits, activities and experiences. First opened in 2005, the museum continues to attract visitors in their droves, with something to entertain every age and taste. Whether your child tends to gravitate towards art, nature, science, or simple free play, the museum guarantees a memorable day out for everyone. For more info go to

1835 West Steele Lane / Weds-Mon 9am-4pm Closed Tues

(Photo: Children’s Museum of Sonoma County)

Country Summer Music Festival

Northern California’s biggest country music festival returns for 2021 promising to be bigger and better than ever. Attracting tens of thousands of revellers every year, the latest edition will once again feature a stellar line-up of musical acts performing country classics and new hits. Between headliners on the Chevy Silverado Stage, a secondary stage will host up and coming musicians from the regional area. There are also interactive activities, a variety of culinary delights, and lashings of beer, wine and spirits to keep fans well juiced.

Sonoma County Event Center at the Fairgrounds / June 18-20 2021

(Photo: Country Summer Music Festival)

Spring Lake Park

Another local attraction that’s ideal for escaping the oppressive heat of the city during summertime, Spring Lake Park is popular with swimmers, as well as boating and fishing enthusiasts. Centered on the Santa Rosa Creek Reservoir, an 8-minute drive east of central Santa Rosa, spread across its 320 acres is a 3-acre lagoon and a large lake. There are also plenty of picnic spots as well as a campground for those keen on an overnight stay.

5585 Newanga Avenue / Mon-Sun 7am-8pm

Sonoma County VegFest

With growing awareness around the importance of sustainable and ethical lifestyle choices, vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise and animal-free foods are growing in popularity. In Santa Rosa, the wonderful diversity, not to mention the benefits to both our individual health and the environment, of a plant-based diet is celebrated at the Sonoma County VegFest. Dozens of local and bay area vendors descend on the event each year, with mouth-watering food, refreshing drinks, wellness and nutritional information, and eco products, all on show for a full day of culinary flavours and fun.

Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Avenue / 26 September 2021

(Photo: Sonoma County VegFest)

Charles M. Schultz Museum

Celebrating the prolific life and works of legendary American cartoonist and ‘Peanuts’ creator Charles Schultz, the Charles M. Schultz Museum is an essential visit fans of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and friends. On display at the museum are a large assortment of Schultz’ personal artistic equipment, along with plenty of memorabilia and artistic analyses of Schultz’ signature and highly distinctive drawing style.

2301 Hardies Lane / Mon-Fri 11am-5pm Sat-Sun 10am-5pm

Howarth Park

Sports and fitness fans looking for a summer opportunity for some semi-competitive action may well want to head to Howarth Park, a 152-acre community park on the borders of Annadel State Park. Here you’ll find an array of recreational opportunities, including a softball field and tennis courts, along with picnic areas, unique playground structures, miles of hiking and jogging trails, and a lake for fishing & boating.

630 Summerfield Road

(Photo: harminder dhesi via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

Pacific Coast Air Museum

The Pacific Coast Air Museum will have its doors open throughout the summer, inviting visitors to come and admire its array of exhibits and artefacts that chart the history of aviation in the Pacific Coast region. With 35 historic aircrafts on display, and the chance to climb aboard some of them on once-a-month Open Cockpit weekends, the museum is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser with families seeking a fun, educational and engaging day out.

One Air Museum Way / Weds-Sun 10am-4pm Closed Mon-Tues

(Photo: Pete Webber via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

For a more sedate form of outdoor recreation, the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens makes for a tranquil and idyllic day of exploration. Dedicated to preserving the work and legacy of horticultural pioneer Luther Burbank, the unique urban garden is officially designated as a  historic landmark and offers daily self-guided tours of its picturesque environs, which contain the former home, greenhouse, gardens, and grave of its late and distinguished green-fingered owner.

204 Santa Rosa Avenue / Tues & Thurs-Sat 2pm-7pm Weds & Sun-Mon 2pm-7pm

(Photo: tiarescott via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

The Scandia Family Fun Center

Located a 10-minute drive south of central Santa Rosa, the Scandia Family Fun Center offers a wide array of action-packed amusements for visitors of all ages and tastes, making it a hugely popular summer attractions. Among the favourite amenities are a miniature golf course, bumper boats, bumper cars, blaster boats, and an arcade packed full of classic machines and video games.

5301 Redwood Drive, Rohnert Park / Mon-Sun 10am-10pm

By Paul Joseph