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5 Insider Tips on Vacation Rental in Wine Country

Lounge by the pool overlooking vineyards in a Sonoma County vacation rental. Photo of Beautiful Places - Vineyard Knoll.

Sometimes, only a real home can offer that comfy, all encompassing private escape you want on a Wine Country vacation. Or perhaps you’ve got a group of friends and family with you on your Sonoma County visit, and you want to stay close together for communal fun like cooking meals, watching movies, and group activities like a spa day.

Fortunately, planning such a retreat is as effortless as booking a hotel, thanks to Sonoma County specialists like Beautiful PlacesRussian River Getaways5starvr, and HomeAway.

Using an agency comes with many perks, including lower prices negotiated by the professionals, access to exclusive properties that otherwise would not be discovered, peace of mind that your vacation rental is professionally managed and concierge service for extras like restaurant and winery reservations, outdoor adventures, and even pet-friendly pampering. Get a free Visitors Guide and Wineries Map here.

Here are 5 tips for putting together that perfect Sonoma County Sneakaway:

Location, Location, Location

Be sure to explore Sonoma County’s many distinct regions before booking with any agency, since with more than a million acres of largely open space landscape, the region brims with many gorgeous options ranging from river front, Pacific Ocean coast, mountaintop, meadow, and, of course, vineyards.

Russian River Getaways owner Rachel LeGrand specializes in pet-friendly vacation homes located between Santa Rosa and the Coast, for example, including Guerneville, Forestville, Monte Rio, Cazadero, Duncans Mills and Jenner. From a one bedroom storybook cottage tucked amid the redwoods, to a six bedroom Victorian country house on a private estate edging up to vineyards, her portfolio caters to renters wanting the best of West County.

Dream Up Your Extras

Some rental agencies offer resort-quality add-ons, for amenities like a personal shopper who stocks your home with local artisanal food and wines. Beautiful Places of Sonoma takes it further, offering fresh flower arrangements, luggage shipping and unpacking, helicopter transfers from area California airports, catering, and even top star private chefs to cook in your kitchen. Consider getting a private car and driver, too, from a service like Pure Luxury Transportation of Petaluma, since that brings the extra bonus of chauffeurs who can recommend wineries, restaurants and shopping customized to your taste.

Make it a True Vacation

It’s the ultimate relaxation, with a private chef and a masseuse included with your rental. Husband-and-wife team Cindy Scott-Fuchs and Trip Fuchs own The Spa Gourmet, where Scott-Fuchs coordinates a private, luxury 5starvr rental home such as the beach hideaway, then sets up a complete spa on-site, while Trip cooks a gourmet meal.

Everyone in the group can enjoy individual pampering that might include a detox elixir, a facial, and an aromatherapy massage with warm reflexology stones that are often collected from the area around the home for an extra soothing, earth-centric vibe. While massages are under way, Fuchs works in the kitchen, crafting a spa meal paired with Sonoma County wine.

Make it Your Lifestyle

Because rental agents are experts in the many, differing towns across Sonoma County, they can help you choose the perfect destination for the things you love to do. If you’re a biking fanatic, maybe you want to be in the Healdsburg area with its winding rural roads around wineries, and numerous bike rental shops. Ocean lovers might choose Bodega Bay, for a cliffside cottage steps from the beach, kayaking, surfing and whale watching. If you love to horseback ride and hike, meanwhile, Glen Ellen offers an exquisite location for both, in the heart of breathtakingly beautiful national destinations like Jack London State Historic Park. Find nature parks here.

Convenience Brings Extra Charm

Your agent will also be able to map out the basic pleasures of daily life, such as nearby grocery stores, local farmers markets, and perhaps even a skateboarding park for the kids. If you’ve got a theme, too, your agent can help you plan all the bells-and-whistles.

Maybe you're celebrating a girls’ getaway – just ask, and your agent can coordinate complete spa days, tasting room crawls, and a gourmet cooking class, leaving you with nothing to do but enjoy the fun.

Ready to escape to wine country? Browse Sonoma County vacation rentals here.

Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.