Petaluma Turning Basin

The waterway now known as the Petaluma River is actually a tidal slough, a tributary of San Pablo Bay.

According to local historian Skip Somer,  “In 1848, it was navigable at high tide for small craft and scows of shallow draft for about 16 miles upstream.” Within twenty years, it would become a route for commerce, as schooners, sloops, and other watercraft  carried produce, poultry and dairy products from this fertile valley to the rapidly exploding populations of San Francisco and Oakland.

At one point, Petaluma was the third busiest inland port in the state, with more tonnage and dollar value hauled on the Petaluma River than on any other river in the state.

The increasing number of water craft, and the introduction to the Petaluma River of larger paddle boats, made for a congested port. The Turning Basin was developed in 1921 to enable boats to turn around and head back into the San Pablo Bay.

Today the Turning Basin is anchored on one side by Petaluma Yacht Club and the downtown riverfront, and on the other by the Golden Eagle Shopping Center, with a footbridge connecting the two. It serves as an unofficial water park and continues to be a hub for the community. Where once you’d see paddle boats and scows, you’ll now find watercraft of a different kind:  kayaks, sailboats, even stand-up paddle boards.

5 Lessons from Water-Wise Companies

For updated water rules and water conservation programs, please go to Thank you!

Petaluma Is the ‘It’ Town of Sonoma County

Petaluma is emerging as a destination for nightlife, festivals, shops of curated bespoke goods and a thriving brew pub scene.

New Water Rules in Petaluma

For updated drought regulations and water conservation tips, please go to

Festival of Trees Grants Open To Petaluma Nonprofits

Petaluma’s Scott Laboratories  is hosting FERMENT, researchers and producers in wine, cider, coffee, and other fermented beverages industries.



Learn what makes Petaluma a great place to grow a career and build a life.

View online or request a printed copy today!

Please take a moment to: