The Petaluma River Turning Basin is a public launch located near the heart of downtown Petaluma, with many restaurants, shops, and a hotel nearby. The floating dock provide access to the Petaluma River, which is navigable downriver all the way to the San Pablo Bay.

Boat Facilities

There is a large, U-shaped dock called Cavanagh Landing in the Turning Basin. There are two gangways leading to the dock located on opposite sides of the “U”: The River Plaza and Weller Street. The high-freeboard dock and boat ramp are open from sunrise to sunset daily.

Clavey Paddlesports, a local vendor, has a shop a few blocks from the Turning Basin offering a variety of rentals, sales, and lessons.


From US-101 exit at  Washington Street toward Central Petaluma. Take East Washington Street approximately one mile. The launch can be accessed from Weller Street approximately one block south of Washington Street.

The launch can also be accessed from the southeast end of the River Plaza Shopping Center, located just past Weller Street on Washington Street.


There are five parking spots in the public Weller Street lot, one of which is an accessible parking spot. There is also street parking along Weller Street. There is also limited parking available in the River Plaza Shopping Center.


There are currently no restrooms at the site; however, one is proposed for construction in 2018 in Cavanagh Landing Park, near the top of the Weller Street access.


There are many points of interest in downtown Petaluma, including restaurants, breweries, cheese tasting, shopping, and farmer’s markets. Hotel Petaluma is located downtown, less than a half-mile away.

The Petaluma Small Craft Center is proposed for construction within the Turning Basin in summer 2018, which will provide numerous amenities to non-motorized small boaters including a low freeboard dock, small craft rentals, lessons, and a boat washing station.


The only options for water entry are from the boat ramp or high-freeboard dock, which limit accessibility. The path of travel, restroom, and parking on the Weller Street side appear to be well designed and maintained. The City plans to remove a flagpole that currently reduces accessibility. The River Plaza side contains stairs and is not accessible.

Safety Tips

Non-motorized small boaters need to be aware that the Petaluma River is tidal and currents and winds can be strong. Use of Petaluma River by large barges or other commercial vessels is infrequent, but boaters should be aware of how to navigate near other vessels.

Wildlife Tips

The Petaluma River offers ample opportunities for wildlife viewing, with chances to see a wide variety of birds, including willits, curlews, dowitchers, night herons, and herons. Nearby there are several active heron and egret roosting sites located near the Petaluma River. The Water Trail recommends boaters avoid sudden movements or paddling directly at wildlife, and to maintain a buffer distance from roosting locations.

Trailhead Photos