These bikes are ideal for “riding around the neighborhood”, easy gravel roads, and light trail riding (like the American Tobacco Trail). You may see some other models with disk brakes and/or suspension forks, but the reality is that the less expensive versions of these technologies just don’t work that well. Unless your budget gets up near $1000 I recommend rim brakes and a rigid fork for most riders (there are exceptions).
KHS Brentwood: If comfort is your top priority when you ride a bike, this is the one for you. The high handlebars put you in a very upright position that’s easy on your back, shoulders, and wrists. The seat is nice and wide and the post under it has a shock for the bigger bumps. The classic looking bike is available in either a standard or a drop-through frame (both shown), and it’s affordable at $340. Visit the KHS Brentwood site for more specs and color options.
Marin Kentfield/Larskpur: These bikes are very similar to the KHS Brentwood but have a nicer frame and parts spec $400. The Larkspur has a traditional frame shape while the Kentfield is a drop-through (both pictured). There is also another spec bump at $450. See the lineup here
Marin Fairfax SC: This is a little different animal than the comfort hybrids above. It’s almost as efficient as a road bike, but the flat handlebars improve control and the wider tires can handle smooth trails quite well. At $400, this bike is also quite a value. Full specs are here. There’s also a full lineup of nicer versions here.