With its mild Mediterranean climate, mountains, valleys, forests and more than 50 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, Sonoma County offers a generous range of outdoor activities.
Among the most popular activities among outdoor lovers are hiking and biking, often along trails in the county’s 11 state parks and more than 50 regional parks. Most parks offer other diversions, including fishing, swimming, boating, equestrian trails, and camping.
Of course, you don’t need to confine your walkabouts (or bikeabouts) to dedicated trails; it’s fun to walk or cycle through urban areas, too. The historic plaza in the town of Sonoma, with its ties to early California, is fascinating — and offers lots of things to do.
Be prepared to be amazed when you stroll along Sebastopol’s Florence Avenue, home to many whimsical sculptures by Patrick Amiot and Brigette Laurent. See the quiet side of Santa Rosa on the Santa Rosa Creek Trail. Bicycle to the coast along Highway 12 — and while you’re at it, try to spot the ghost of Alfred Hitchcock in the tiny town of Bodega, where he filmed The Birds.
Another popular way to enjoy a day outdoors? Spend it on the coast. With more than 50 miles facing the Pacific Ocean, the county contains a great many fabulous beaches. Some are intimate coves that require a steep hiking descent to reach (and a steep climb to leave).
At others you can park your car and easily step onto the beach. No matter how you reach a beach, once there you can choose an activity that’s perfect for you on that day: beachcombing, tide pool exploration, whale watching, curling up with a good book, building a driftwood fort, or simply sea-gazing.
There are wind-blown headlands upon which you can ramble quietly while thinking big thoughts. There are beaches with camping, where you can pitch a tent or park an RV. There are beaches from which you can launch a kayak or go diving for abalone or stand at a safe distance and watch Pacific harbor seals at play.
Here are just a few other ideas for outdoor adventuring in Sonoma County.
- Boat camping at Lake Sonoma
- Canoeing or kayaking
- Go-Kart Racing
- Horseback riding through the redwoods or along the coast
- Hot Air Ballooning
- Segway explorations in Healdsburg and Petaluma
- Scuba Diving
- Sky Diving
- Viewing Wildlife (or going on a wildlife safari)
- Water Skiing at Lake Sonoma
- Whale Watching
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez