There is nothing like taking a trip to the park with your family! Enjoying the laughter, the exercise and fun outside is a great way to spend the day.
When it comes to parks, there is no shortage in Sonoma county. With over 50 parks available to visit, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Visiting Howarth Park with the family in Sonoma County, should be on your list of parks to visit. The park has free parking and is located at: 630 Summerfield Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95405. The park is open from 6am to 9pm April – October and 6am to 6pm November – March.
Below are some of the highlights and features of this 152 acre park.
Free Amenities at Howarth Park
Other than free parking, there are a lot of free amenities your family can enjoy at Howarth Park!
There are 17 miles of hiking, walking and horse trails. There are a variety of different choices and each one has different terrain. You can walk all over the park or you can walk around 2 different lakes. Lake Ralphine is the lake near Howarth Park. You can take a trail to visit Spring Lake. For example, the Spring Lake Loop Trail is 3.7 mile round trip, paved, well-trafficked trail.
Looking to take the family swimming? You will have to take the Spring Lake Loop Trail to the swimming lagoon on Spring Lake.
If you are looking for more of a scenic and secluded hiking trail, try the Eagle Scout Trail. This trail is just under half a mile, is rocky and not paved. Takes you through the woods, is low traffic with moderate elevation gain. In the middle of the hike and at approximately 500 ft elevation, the trees open for a peek-a-boo view of Lake Ralphine.
Here is a trail map of Howarth Park.
Another fun, free activity for the kids is fishing (anyone over 16 needs a fishing license). It can be a great way to have fun with the family. If your children have telescoping kids fishing poles, they will be perfect. If you plan on visiting the area, make sure to pack them in your luggage. In Lake Ralphine you can catch Bass, Trout, Catfish, Bullhead, Sunfish, Shiners and more. If you are lucky enough to catch one, and you feel like grilling, you are in luck. Only the bass are required to be 12” and everything else can be fried up as you like it!
There are plenty of BBQ grilling areas in the park. Be sure to bring your own charcoal or you might be able to gather enough dead fall. Just be careful for snakes and spiders when hunting around for sticks and picking them up.
Does your family like to play tennis? Howarth Park has plenty of open courts so your whole family can enjoy a match.
If your children are little, there are several playground options to keep them busy playing and having fun. There are swings, slides, multi-level play structures, sand boxes and even a rock-wall that kids can use.
Be sure to spend some time in the miniature, old-timey town. Lots of little buildings, a bank, a library, the hotel, a jail, will inspire their imaginations to run wild. They also make for some great photo opportunities so be sure to have the camera ready.
If your family just wants to find a nice spot in the sun or an area to toss or kick a ball around, at the entrance to the park, there is a large grass area that is perfect for recreational use.
Here is an up-to-date schedule for park hours, boathouse, rides and attractions at Howarth Park.
Paid Activities at Howarth Park
Do your kids like to go on rides? Howarth Park has a few that will have them captivated.
The first and most noticeable is the quarter-mile train ride. Upon pulling into the upper parking lot, the area can be spotted. If your little ones are looking out the windows, they will spot the brand new miniature train which is a simulated 1863 C.P. Huntington steam train. The ride goes around the park, through a tunnel, by the pond, over a bridge and around the forest.
If your kids like spinning in circles with bright lights and music playing around them, then they might enjoy a carousel. There is a 30-horse whimsical carousel for them to ride.
If you are visiting in the summer, there is an animal barn petting zoo that is great fun for kids of all ages. There are pony rides in an outdoor corral that kids can ride around in.
Don’t forget about going out on the lake in a boat. You can rent paddle boats, sail boats and canoes to enjoy some time on the water.
So much to do at Howarth park, you might have to spend an entire day here just to fit it all in!