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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Brunch to Beach

Jun 29, 2015 12:00AM

One of the most pleasurable ways to spend the weekend is enjoying a hearty brunch and then hitting the beach. Here are some terrific places to get good eats and soak in sun.

Note: Unless otherwise mentioned, beaches are free, dogs are required to be on a maximum six-foot leash, and swimming is not allowed.

Toast and Boats

Fork Roadhouse, Sebastopol This place comes highly recommended for its super fresh, organic ingredients and beautifully presented dishes adorned with edible flowers. Sit outdoors by a creek while you chow down on the Kale and Mushroom Scramble, made with organic eggs, and treat the kids to house-made bread pudding French toast drizzled with organic maple syrup. forkcatering.com.

Doran Regional Park, Bodega Bay When you’ve finished your mid-morning feast, head up Bodega Highway 20 minutes to Doran Beach. Protected by Bodega Bay, this beach is relatively safe for swimming, but there are no lifeguards and the water is cold, so bring wetsuits. A boat launch accommodates up to 20-foot vessels while a rock jetty at the harbor’s mouth is perfect for fishing and crabbing. The two-mile beach welcomes long walks, kite flying, and sand castle construction. Flush toilets are available. The day-use fee is $7 per vehicle. parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov.

Waffles and Waves

Howard Station, Occidental This place is serious about breakfasts, offering everything from build-your-own omelets and piles of potatoes to blueberry cornmeal pancakes and gluten-free waffles.Breakfast is served until 12:30 p.m., but several items are available all day. Note: Only cash is accepted. howardstationcafe.com.

Furlong Gulch Beach, Bodega Bay After everyone has had their fill, travel 20 minutes up the twisty-turny Coleman Valley Road, which, on a clear day, will wow you with unbelievably breathtaking coastal vistas before delivering you to Highway One, where you’ll find several beach options. One of them is this spot, a cozy hidden cove with plenty of nooks and crannies for play protected from the wind and sun. To get to this unmarked gem, just turn onto Carlevaro Way, drive a block or two, and find the trailhead on the right. It’s a gentle 5–10 minute walk down to the beach. Note: There are no toilets here. But, you can also access the beach via a 20-minute flat walk on the southern part of the Kortum Trail at Shell Beach, where there are pit toilets. parks.ca.gov.

Scones and Dunes

Tea Room Café, Petaluma This little downtown spot has a great Sunday brunch, including tasty pastries made in its in-house bakery. Try the scones along with the savory Vegetable Frittata or for, wee ones, the Kid Mélange—a piece of French toast and two scrambled eggs, a good protein/carb combo. Gluten-free pancakes as well as a Vegan Tofu Scramble are available. Expect to order at the counter and pay with only cash or checks; no credit or debit cards are accepted. tearoomcafe.com.

Dillon Beach From the Tea Room, travel a half hour on back roads to Dillon Beach, a small town with an expansive stretch of sand. Take a long stroll, climb and explore dunes, or go tide-pooling. Let your canine buddies run free; leashes are not required. A well-maintained restroom with flush toilets and a roomy, beach-accessible parking lot make it a hit with families. There is an $8 entrance/parking fee. dillonbeachresort.com.

Scramble and Surf

Breakers, Stinson Beach If you don’t want to spend a lot of time going from brunch to beach, then head over to Breakers for a down-home breakfast (served all day) or lunch. Kids can gobble down bagels dressed up with Nutella and banana while you dive into Bill’s Breakfast Enchiladas. stinsonbeachcafe.com.

Stinson Beach After your meal, walk five minutes to a wide, two-mile beach that’s great for walking, wading, and general summer fun. With a backdrop of rolling green hills, Stinson Beach is magnificent and the town itself, charming. Calm waters mean swimming is okay between late May and early September, when lifeguards are on duty. (Watch out for rip currents and sneaker waves, and wear a wetsuit—it’s brrr-y!) Stinson’s only real downside is that it can get crowded, especially on hot weekends and holidays. If it’s packed at the main entrance to the beach, hang a left, and walk toward the rock formations on the southern end. You’ll find a lot less people there and have access to the less frequented flush-toilets that are adjacent to the back parking lot, just behind the dunes. Leashed dogs are allowed on the county section of the beach, but not on the part owned by the National Park Service. nps.gov.