10 Highlights of Sonoma County

Gustafson Family Vineyards

Looking for the best wineries in California? The top beaches on the Northern California coast? Award-winning California spas and resorts?

World-class concert hall? California redwoods? Here’s a brief list of Sonoma County highlights.

Already thinking about how to get here? Consider flying into STS – Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, where you can fly direct from 10 different locations.

1. Taste wine 

Sonoma County has more than 425 wineries for tours and tastings.

Discover a new favorite at Francis Ford Coppola Winery (pictured), Korbel Champage Cellars, St. Francis Winery, Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens.

Or discover unique wineries with hidden caves, amazing vistas, historic legends, amazing food and wine pairings, wineries off the beaten path and much more.

If you’re new to the area, these are the wineries we recommend for our first time visitors.

The grand entrance to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville
Francis Ford Coppola Winery

2. Attend a wine and food festival

Fabulous food paired with amazing wines tickle the taste buds and enhance your visit.

Just a few of our top festivals include Taste of Sonoma, Wine & Food Affair, Barrel Tasting.

Check our calendar of events for dates and info.

We also recommend checking our list of the biggest + best annual festivals in Sonoma County

Guests enjoy wine and food at the Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma County
Taste of Sonoma

3. Explore nature parks

More than 60 regional and state parks beckon travelers to hike through redwood forests, paddle along the coast, or just sit down and enjoy the sounds of nature.

Must-sees include Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, Spring Lake Regional Park, Trione-Annadel State Park, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park (with the Robert Ferguson Observatory’s PlanetWalk), and Jack London State Historic Park

Learn more about our Sonoma County California State Parks as well as our Regional Park System.

A couple walks along a trail below the trees at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, Guerneville
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

4. Dip a toe in the Pacific ocean

Miles of pristine sand, rugged cliffs, scenic viewpoints, whale watching, and more give visitors reasons to visit more than 55 miles of amazing Pacific coastline.

A few places to highlight along the Sonoma County include Bodega Bay, Doran Regional Park, Goat Rock, Salmon Creek, Stillwater Cove, or Salt Point

On the Sonoma Coast, you can go whale watching, explore Bodega Head (pictured), discover Sonoma Coast State Park, swim at a few of our great swimming beaches, or take a peaceful beach walk.

A couple walks along the bluff top trail at Bodega Head, Sonoma County
Bodega Head

5. Unwind at top spas and resorts

There’s nothing as rejuvenating as a great massage. Resorts and stand-alone spas enhance any visit.

Check out Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Kenwood Inn & Spa, Bodega Bay Lodge, and Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary (pictured).

Choose between rejuvenating at some of the areas top spas or staying in a wine country resort with a spa, to practicing yoga and fitness in unique ways in Sonoma County.

A couple walks down a bamboo-lined path at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, Freestone
Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary

6. Eat gourmet local cuisine

Get a true taste of Sonoma County. Many restaurant owners either grow their own produce and meats or source them locally.

Dine at such places as Stark’s Steak + Seafood, the girl & the fig, and Terrapin Creek Cafe.

Here are some other great options to get your started on enjoying local cuisine:

A chef preps dinner with fresh vegetables at Lowell's, Sebastopol

7. Experience history! Sonoma County is …

  • The birthplace of California’s wine industry. Self-proclaimed count Agoston Haraszthy brought cuttings from 165 of the greatest European vineyards to California. Considered one of the pioneers of the California wine industry, Haraszthy founded Buena Vista Winery and promoted vine planting over much of Northern California.
  • Home of the northernmost and last Spanish-Mexican mission built along California’s historic El Camino Real.
  • The location of the Bear Flag Revolt, which transferred ownership of California from Mexico to the United States. Gen. Vallejo’s home, barracks, and the Mission San Francisco Solano are all part of the Sonoma State Historic Park.
  • The coastal settlement of Fort Ross was established in 1812 by the Russian-American Company, a commercial hunting and trading company. It was the southernmost Russian outpost in North America and, in 2012, celebrated the bicentennial of its founding.
  • Petaluma, one of the oldest cities in California, with one of the best-preserved historic downtown areas (it’s on the National Register of Historic Places). Victorian homes and iron-front buildings surround this charming riverfront town. Spend a weekend in Petaluma with this 48 hours guide, and enjoy the culinary delights that the city offers.
  • Jack London, author of ‘The Call of the Wild’ and ‘White Fang,’ a pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, and one of the first Americans to make a lucrative career exclusively from writing. Visit his final home and ranch, now the Jack London State Park, located in Glen Ellen.
Guests take photos of the Wolf House ruins at Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen
Jack London State Historic Park

8. Enjoy a wide variety of recreational activities

With over 19 golf courses, Safari West Wildlife Preserve, Sonoma Canopy Tours (zip line), horseback riding, kayaking, hot-air ballooning and more, you will always have something fun to do outdoors in Sonoma County.

Get a glimpse of the wide range of outdoor activities here, or dive into more details surrounding your favorite Sonoma County outdoor activities here.

A group photographs a giraffe up close while on safari at Safari West Wildlife Preserve & African Tent Camp, Santa Rosa
Safari West Wildlife Preserve & African Tent Camp

9. Ride a bike

Sonoma County is known as a cyclist’s paradise – 1,400 miles of secondary roads and off-road bike trails.

Go all out, attacking tough climbs or cycling from winery to winery on a tasting tour; Sonoma County offers you the best cycling experience in Wine Country.

Take a look at our guide to cycling in Sonoma County and our different cycling options for all levels in Sonoma County.

A group cycles next to vineyards with Ace It Bike Tours in Sonoma County
Ace It Bike Tours

10. Discover a vibrant arts scene

The acclaimed Green Music Center opened in 2012 to critical acclaim.

This world-class performing arts center joins a palette of 30-plus performing arts centers, and more than a hundred galleries and museums.

With 27,000-plus artists and hundreds of music and art events each month – open studio events, art walks, art show openings – is it any wonder that Sonoma County is said to have more artists per capita than anywhere else in California?

The audience enjoys the show on the outdoor lawn at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park
Green Music Center at Sonoma State University

A bonus highlight

Bask in the amazing California weather: Sonoma County’s natural beauty and moderate temperatures seldom dip below freezing, even in the winter.

The area’s 25- to 30-inch annual rainfall happens primarily from November through April. In January, the average high/low temps inland is 58 F (14C)/36F (2C); on the coast, 56 F (13 C)/35 F (2C).

In July, the average high/low temps inland is 90 F (32 C)/52 F (12 C); on the coast, 80 F (26 C)/48 F (8 C).

Have more questions about Sonoma County? These should help you out:

See more Sonoma County highlights in What Sonoma County is Famous For: A-Z Guide.

Looking for more fun things to do during your trip to Sonoma County? Take a look at the many outdoor activities to enjoy in the valleys, vineyards, coastline and Russian River areas of Sonoma County. 

Take a pick at one (or more!) of the 425+ wineries to taste at in Sonoma County, and enjoy farm-to-table delights at these great restaurants when you get hungry.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more ideas when planning your trip to Sonoma County. 

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