You’ve decided to spend a day in Sonoma County. Wise choice! Here are five suggestions to create your one-of-a-kind Sonoma County experience.
With 50-plus miles of ocean coastline, Sonoma County begs visitors to take a day trip to the beach. The easiest access point from San Francisco is Bodega Bay, about 90 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Drive around to the west side of the harbor and hike Bodega Head for spectacular views of the ocean. If you want to swim, check out the protected waters of Doran Regional Park; for sustenance, swing by Spud Point Crab Company and order up some of the best clam chowder and a crab sandwich.
Into the Woods
Sonoma County is home to a huge concentration of Coast Redwoods, some of the largest trees in the world. The best place to experience these trees is Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guerneville.
Take a guided hike with a ranger or explore on your own. Later, drive down to Occidental and zipline through the forest with Sonoma Canopy Tours.
Valley of the Moon
State Highway 12 runs through a crescent of fertile land between Santa Rosa and Sonoma — a sliver known as the Valley of the Moon. Here, ogle at exotic plants at Quarryhill Botanical Garden, and luxuriate near the pool at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. For a real treat, tour the ruins at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen; the author wrote some of his most famous works in homes here. Want to go winetasting in Sonoma Valley? Find wineries info here.
History in Sonoma
Downtown Sonoma, about an hour from the Golden Gate, is brimming with history. Start your tour at Buena Vista Winery, which dates back to 1857 and still has the original press house. From there, head to Mission San Francisco Solano, which dates back to 1823 and now is one of the historic buildings that comprise Sonoma State Historic Park.
Foodie Heaven in Healdsburg
Healdsburg, at the northern end of the county about 90 minutes from the Golden Gate, has emerged in recent years as a Mecca for food-lovers. Standout restaurants include Campo Fina, Bravas, and Barndiva.
To sample food right from local farms, check out Healdsburg SHED, a modern spin on the traditional grange.
Written by Sonoma Insider Matt Villano.