Play tag on wild beaches, search in tidepools, and explore a Russian fort.
Trip length: 2-3 days
Total distance: 207mi/333km
SANTA ROSA Catch up with Snoopy and the gang at Charles M. Schulz Museum . Visit the California Welcome Center for more travel destinations, like Safari West , with guided Jeep tours to see exotic animals. INFO 800/404-7673
SEBASTOPOL (7mi/11km; 11min). Choose from 16 different types of perfect pie, especially the signature apple, at Mom’s Apple Pie . Many downtown shops and galleries offer special deals on Super Saturdays (the first Saturday of each month). INFO 707/823-3032
FORESTVILLE (7mi/11km; 14min). Join a local summertime rite of passage, a paddle on the Russian River (rent all the gear you need from Burke’s Canoe Trips). Look for river otters, egrets, and ospreys. INFO 707/887-1222
BODEGA BAY (21mi/34km; 38min). Saddle up at Chanslor Stables to trot along wide-open beaches (scan the Pacific for whales Dec–Mar). Stop in at Spud Point Crab Company for spot-on clam chowder and Dungeness crab cakes. INFO 707/875-3866
JENNER (11mi/18km; 23min). Explore Fort Ross State Historic Park , built two centuries ago as an outpost for early 19th-century Russian hunters in search of sea otters. Look for shells along the fort’s sheltered Sandy Cove . INFO 707/847-3286
SALT POINT STATE PARK (6mi/10km; 16min). This waterfront preserve also protects one of California’s first underwater parks. Look for anemones, sea stars, and chitons in tidepools swirling with life. INFO 707/847-3221
POINT ARENA (34mi/54km; 54min). Listen for thundering hooves at B. Bryan Preserve , where African mammals like zebras and kudus roam freely in large enclosed fields. Time your visit to join afternoon feedings. INFO 707/882-2297
MENDOCINO (35mi/57km; 58min). Take a bluff-and-beach walk to work up an appetite for Frankie’s , scooping locally made ice cream with unexpected flavors (we dare you to try mushroom).
PHILO (34mi/54km; 43min). Handsome coast redwoods at Hendy Woods State Park include a fallen stump that was once the home of the infamous Hendy Woods Hermit. Splash and swim in the inviting Navarro River, which bisects the park. INFO 707/895-3141
HEALDSBURG (52mi/84km; 59min). At Arista Winery , kids can explore Japanese gardens while you sip Pinot Noir. Stop by Jimtown Store , with top-quality handmade gifts, old-fashioned toys, and irresistible gourmet sandwiches. INFO 707/433-6935