5 Reasons to Book a Mid-Week Vacation to Sonoma County
Sonoma County is proud to be a wildly popular destination for travelers, with some of America's most gorgeous landscapes. Lush vineyards blanket hills and valleys, while towering redwoods filter sunshine from high above the forest floor. Rivers wend their way through cities and countryside to the wild Pacific Ocean coast, which unfurls for miles along craggy cliffs, secret coves, ancient rocks and wide sands. From epic bike trails to lake boating, hot air ballooning and horseback riding, or simply wine-tasting and farm-to-fork grazing to your heart's content, every day here feels like a gift.
With so much to explore and do, weekends here are always busy with visitors. But here's an insider tip: If you want to experience this beautiful area at its most relaxed and peaceful, a mid-week vacation to Sonoma County is just the ticket. Here are five great reasons why.
#1. Fewer Crowds
Between Monday and Thursday, most Sonoma County visitors return home, creating a quieter and more laid-back vibe in weekend-bustling cities like Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Sonoma, and Petaluma. If you crave a Sonoma County vacation with plenty of elbow room and opportunities to connect with locals, a mid-week stay is the way to go.
Winery and restaurant staff can give you even more individual attention, and wine-club pickups are a breeze. You're also likely to have outdoor spaces all but to yourself, from beaches at both the ocean and three area rivers, as well as mountain biking and hiking trails. And you can linger longer at our fascinating museums and historic sites.
#2. Less Traffic
On weekends, scores of wine and adventure lovers take to Sonoma County's roads and highways, creating a recipe for traffic that can be too slow or rushed for comfort. And believe us, we get it: You want to arrive on time to your wine-tasting and tour appointments and enjoy our gorgeous scenery along the way.
So rather than crawling through a weekend traffic jam on Highway 101, you could plan to arrive on a Thursday and leave on a Tuesday. And on Monday through Thursday, driving generally feels more unhurried on the 128 and the Bohemian Highway, as well as winery-lined Westside Road, River Road, and Dry Creek Road.
To help plan your mid-week driving itinerary, check out our road-trip guide.
#3. Special Experiences
During a mid-week vacation, you can experience Sonoma County more like a local ... albeit one who has the day off from work!
For instance, you can enjoy a free Wednesday at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, a first-thing-Friday-morning coffee tasting at Wolf Coffee Roasters, or a more private safari at always-popular wildlife sanctuary Safari West.
You can also kick back at Thursday-night events such as happy hour at Russian River Vineyards, comedy shows at Furthermore Wines, and live music in the bandshell at Dawn Ranch (also performed on Sunday evenings). For more special weekday experiences, check out our deals page.
#4. Special Offers
Hotels, inns, B&Bs, and other Sonoma County lodging often offer lower rates on weekdays. You could even score a discount by staying just one extra night at resorts such as The Stavrand Russian River Valley, The Lodge at Bodega Bay Sonoma Coast, and Highlands. And you could always bring your laptop and get some work done with that extra day (or more) — or at least tell yourself you will.
Take advantage of the best weekday happy hours at local bars, enjoy weekday specials at local favorite eateries, and exponentially increase your chances of nabbing a reservation at fine dining restaurants like the three-Michelin-starred SingleThread.
#5. You Still Have the Weekend
Ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? Well, if your trip starts on a Monday and ends on a Friday, you still have the weekend to unpack, take care of things you may still need to do and/or simply take a few extra days to relax at home before getting back to your regular routine.
And just think of your social media posts! When it comes to sharing photos from your trip to Sonoma County, it’s one thing to post a cool wine-tasting photo during a weekend. But plan a trip mid-week and your posts can become not just a source of envy to your followers, but also an inspiration.
Snap a selfie of yourself overlooking the Pacific from the soaring cliffs at Bodega Head, and caption it, “Another Monday in paradise.” Take a break from your countryside bike ride to dip your feet in a shimmering lake or river, and describe it as,“Just your average Tuesday.” Or stroll, wine glass in hand, through a legendary vineyard at golden hour — and post it as, “Wednesday in Sonoma County vs. Hump Day at Home.”
Extend your Sonoma County weekend to include weekdays, and just you wait: You'll be seen as a work-from-the-road champion, or a leisure-time hero.
And remember, when you're posting those photos from your mid-week adventures, be sure to tag us on Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtags #SonomaCounty and #LifeOpensUp. We look forward to seeing you!
Written by Melanie Wynne