Located just two hours north of San Francisco, Petaluma is a town that's home to just over 57,000 residents, making it the second largest city in Sonoma County. The city got its start back in 1836, when a Mexican commandant ordered the construction of the Rancho Petaluma Adobe, which is a ranch built in the colonial Monterrey style. About 25 years later, settlers flocked to Petaluma when gold was discovered in the nearby Sonoma Mountains. When the gold dried up, many people stayed to farm around the Petaluma River, and the city became known as the "Egg Capital of the World" because of its poultry farms.
Today, Petaluma is more famous as a getaway for city dwellers from Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco. The region offers famous wines, artisanal cheeses, and a plethora of late 19th century architecture that managed to survive the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Whatever your reason for heading to the Egg Capital, make sure to find the right hotel to fit your budget, as well as a place that's close to everything you want to do.
When to Visit Petaluma, CA
Petaluma enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate that's characterized by temperatures that get neither too hot nor too cold. Perhaps the best time to visit is in the summer when temperatures reach a high of about 80 degrees and a low of 60. The mornings start off a bit chilly, so it's important to pack a light jacket or long sleeves, but during the day, shorts and a tee-shirt are more than enough. At this time of year, it's perfect to walk through the vineyards or saunter through the downtown historic district's antique stores, restaurants, and shops. However, this is a popular time for tourists from close and far, meaning you'll need to book a hotel well in advance to meet your needs.
The least popular season is the winter, as the mix of lower temperatures and incessant rainfall often limit tourism. Precipitation in the winter regularly exceeds four inches per month, making it wet, and when mixed with temperatures in the 40 degree range, weather is far from ideal. During this time, you can often score a stellar deal on a hotel as many establishments look to cut their losses by reducing rates. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you can drive a few hours east to some of the best skiing in the state.
In the fall the weather is usually comfortably cool, making it perfect for a romantic getaway. Wine season goes into full effect just after August, as harvested grapes have already been made into fine wines. This makes getting a room at a winery more difficult, so advanced booking is highly recommended. The slow season of winter tends to extend into spring in Petaluma, as the weather still isn't the greatest. However, it does lend itself to some superb prices on lodging.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Petaluma, CA:
Averate Rates by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts displaying average nightly cost trends by star rating class in Petaluma, CA. Analyze these charts to calculate the most cost effective seasons to stay in Petaluma during the year.
Luxury Hotel Options in Petaluma, CA
4 Star Average Prices: $237.19
If you're looking to get pampered and enjoy some of the nicer things in life, you may have to go about 20 miles away from Petaluma, but the results are worth the distance. Located among hundreds of acres of beautiful vineyards, The Meritage Resort & Spa is one of the premier opulent destinations in the region. Whether you want a guest room or one of their 12 lavish suites, you're bound to have a memorable experience.
Here, you'll enjoy free wireless internet, a refrigerator, an MP3 dock with stereo, and a 32-inch flat screen television. Amenities around the resort grounds include two swimming pools with a poolside bar, two bars and lounges, four restaurants, a nightclub, and an adjacent winery. In addition, there's a full spa to provide you with massages, facials, and any other thing you require.
Overlooking the Napa River and just a 20-minute drive from Petaluma, the River Terrace Inn is another luxurious option in the area. Perhaps one of the best aspects of this getaway is the heated outdoor pool, which allows you to swim outdoors any time of year. The River Terrace Inn also has in-room spa treatment, meaning you don't have to leave the comfort of your room to get a massage or a facial. For kids, the Inn is right near the Scientopia Discovery Center. On the weekends you can also get some delicious food at the Oxbow Public Market. Rooms on-site include full minibars, DVD players, digital programming, and free internet access.
Affordable Hotel Choices in Petaluma, CA
3 Star Average Prices: $187.96
Although Petaluma is full of wineries and luxury getaways, finding affordable accommodation isn't as hard as you might think. America's Best Value Inn & Suites offers a nice amenities and is only three miles from downtown Petaluma. Nearby attractions include the 101 Casino, the Cinnabar Theater, and the Petaluma Village Premium Outlet store. Once you're ready to relax in your room, you'll love features like an LED TV with premium channels, complimentary Wi-Fi, free local calls, a refrigerator, and a microwave. You'll also have your choice of a room with one queen bed, two double beds, or a standard room. There's also an outdoor pool and free breakfast each morning.
If you don't mind being a bit farther from Petaluma, the Motel 6 Rohnert Park is a nine-mile drive from the city, although it's conveniently located a short distance from the Suncadia Family Fun Center, Spreckles Performing Arts Center, Graton Casino, and Foxtail Golf Club. Amenities here include an outdoor pool, free coffee and tea in the common area, cable programming, and daily housekeeping services.
2 Star Average Prices: $131.10
Where are the real discounts in Petaluma
To save even more money on your trip, many hotels in the Petaluma area offer fantastic discounts for various travelers. Just nine miles from Petaluma, you'll find the Rodeway Inn Wine Country a great place to stay during your visit, offering discounts to card-holding members of AAA and the AARP. This inn offers some exciting features such as wireless internet access, a complimentary continental breakfast, and a seasonal outdoor pool.
Another hotel where AAA members, AARP members, and seniors can receive discounts is the Quality Inn & Suites Wine Country. Located 13 miles outside of Petaluma, this suburban getaway provides close proximity to the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, and the Sonoma County Museum. Here you can stay in one of 61 guest rooms that feature items such as complimentary Wi-Fi and a flat screen television with digital programming. Other amenities include free continental breakfast, dry-cleaning services, and a free fitness facility.
Best Value Options in Petaluma, CA
If you're looking for something of value or in the mid-range hotel market, Petaluma still offers a ton of impressive options. The Best Western Plus Novato Oaks is one of the best options in the area with some awesome amenities such as rooms with a self-controlled air conditioner, complimentary wired and wireless internet, free local calls, and flat-screen televisions. You'll also be just minutes from the Pacheco Ranch Winery, the Space Station Museum, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Marin County Civic Center Farmers' Market.
You can also choose the Sandman Hotel if you're looking for a hotel of a similar stature. At this hotel, you're close to the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate, the Charles M. Schulz Museum, and the Redwood Empire Ice Arena. On top of this, you'll also be entertained by amenities such as an indoor pool, a fitness center, a concierge service, complimentary Wi-Fi, and free continental breakfast.
Top Things to Do in Petaluma, CA
No matter where you decide to stay in Petaluma, you'll be close to a host of entertainment features. In downtown Petaluma, take your time exploring art, antique, collectibles, and vintage clothing stores. After you're done buying all-new decor for your home and an awesome outfit, head over to the Carnegie Library and check out one of their permanent or revolving exhibitions. Another fun thing to do around town is to take the Petaluma Film Location Tour. Over the years, iconic movies such as "American Graffiti," "Basic Instinct," and "Peggy Sue Got Married" have been filmed throughout the town. This tour gives you the opportunity to see the sets and learn a bit about how the films were made.
If you get done exploring the ins and outs of Petaluma, start a trek to one of the charming places outside the city. Located just west of Petaluma, the Point Reyes National Seashore is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It features a stunning coastline as well as a diverse ecosystem of plants and wildlife. You can also head north or east and go wine tasting in one of Sonoma County's famous wineries.
Before you hit the sack, don't miss out on some of Petaluma's nightlife. Make sure to stop off at the legendary Lagunitas Brewing Company for some fantastic beers and grub. Then, head over to a venue like the Cinnabar Theater to catch a local or national act.
Whether you're in Petaluma on business or pleasure, make sure to pick the perfect hotel to suit your needs and tastes.