Just an hour from San Francisco, Sonoma is where you connect with the land. While Sonoma is a food and wine destination, adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts find their happy place among ancient redwoods and ample opportunities for hiking, camping, rafting, and biking. If you prefer a more relaxing getaway, the upscale boutiques, spas, and tasting rooms won’t disappoint. Charter a flight to the Charles M. Schultz Sonoma County Airport, and use this guide to maximize your long weekend.
Where to Stay in Sonoma County
The best place to stay depends on what you’d like to do. A few ideas include:
- Santa Rosa: A picturesque town and the largest city in Sonoma, Santa Rosa places you in close proximity to vineyards, redwood groves, farm feasts, mountain hikes, and the beach.
- Historic Sonoma: Rich with history, the old town is the location where the Franciscans built the last mission in California, which you’ll find in the town square surrounded by restaurants and wineries.
- Guerneville: If your dream is to see towering redwoods, taste Russian River Valley wines, and beach comb, check out Guerneville.
- Bodega Bay: The coastal town is the self-proclaimed gateway to the Sonoma Coast. Go on a back-road wine country bicycle tour, feel the sand under your toes, charter a fishing boat, and hit the links at Bodega Harbour.
- Healdsburg: The up-and-coming town is the go-to destination for city dwellers wanting to escape to a place that’s more laidback and quieter than Napa. It’s also within 20 minutes of three major wine producing regions.
What to Do in Sonoma
- Hire a private limo service: Alcohol and driving don’t mix. Enjoy the vino and leave the driving to a professional who is familiar with the area (and can give you insider tips) with a luxury limo service. The service will accommodate your itinerary or provide high-end tour packages.
- Hot-air balloon ride: Sonoma is filled with great views, but the best is a bird’s-eye view from a hot-air balloon tour. The area offers excellent ballooning conditions throughout the year. Book a private flight and learn about the area’s world-famous wines while celebrating with a bottle of bubbly.
- Explore the arts: The critically acclaimed Green Music Center joined a palette of more than 30 area performing arts centers and 100-plus galleries and museums in 2012. As a result, Sonoma is where more than 27,000 artists call home—more per capita than anywhere else in California. Each month is filled with art events, such as open studio tours, art walks, and art show openings.
- Catch a flick: Sonoma hosts an international film festival each spring that gives you the chance to mingle with actors, filmmakers, and directors on the red carpet; attend exclusive film screenings and celebrity film panels; and have a blast at receptions and parties. Get VIP access with a Soirée or Patron Pass.
- Wine tasting: Sonoma has more than 425 wineries. You’ll find them in farmhouses, hidden caves, grand estates, coastal settings, the mountains and in the quaint towns.
- Explore nature: There are more than 60 regional and state parks in Sonoma, including Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and Jack London State Historic Park. Hike through forests filled with giant ancient trees, kayak along the coast, glamp in a yurt, stargaze on a clear night, or simply enjoy the songs of nature. Sonoma also graces you with miles of coastline filled with rugged cliffs, golf courses, pristine sand, and whale watching opportunities.
- Ride a bike: A cyclist’s paradise, Sonoma has 1,400 miles of off-road bike trails and secondary roads.