Itinerary: Experience A Glamping Getaway
Discover a different type of luxury in Sonoma County, the perfect destination for travelers who want to immerse and connect - with the earth, with nature, or, most importantly, with each other. Whether it's a romantic getaway for two, an unforgettable family vacation, or a gathering of friends, enjoy down-to-earth adventures while 'glamping' in comfort and style about an hour north of San Francisco.
Think 800-count organic cotton sheets and plush décor in a stylish platform tent or classic trailer. Throw in ancient redwoods. The majestic Pacific Ocean. The winding Russian River. Acres of rolling vineyards. Farm-to-table cuisine. Fine wines. Craft beers. Charming small towns. Everything you need for a memorable visit to Sonoma County.
Here's a quick overview of some of Sonoma County's glamorous camping opportunities, so you can create the itinerary that's perfect for you.
Choose between a custom-designed Airstream trailer (with that instantly-recognizable “silver bullet” shape) or a spacious canvas tent with a plush interior at this gorgeous modern “campground” under soaring redwoods trees in the Russian River town of Guerneville. Meander the winding pathways on this unique property, play lawn games, or relax in the midcentury-modern clubhouse. Use the s’mores kit to create campfire memories.
Not far away you’ll find Porter-Bass Winery, where owner Luke Bass crafts highly acclaimed wines that are available only in Guerneville. His 1,000-case winery and cellar is built into the side of the earth. The tasting bar is a slab of wood resting on two barrels underneath a walnut tree, on a gentle slope overlooking breathtaking views of vineyards and forest.
In the nearby town of Forestville, chefs Daniel Kedan and Marianna Gardenhire work closely with local ranchers, orchards, farms, creameries, and foragers, visiting often to see what’s best, and then dreaming up new recipes for their Backyard restaurant. This simple roadhouse with garden seating offers what appears to be a modest if changing seasonal menu — but oh my, the flavor.
Stroll under majestic towering trees at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve (or take a guided gliding tour through the park with Segway of Healdsburg). Then fly through a redwood canopy on zip lines at Sonoma Canopy Tours. Or hop onto one of Autocamp’s fleet of bicycles, and pedal through town, discovering the shops and restaurants along Main Street. If you’re feeling ambitious, explore the West County Trail, a paved pathway from Forestville to Sebastopol.
In addition to 14 former miners’ cabins converted into modern luxury accommodations by founder Christa Luedtke, this unique lodging place offers deluxe platform tents from Memorial Day to the end of October, and a vintage “lovebug” camper that’s available year round. These glamping options include platform beds, organic linens, and a terrific breakfast.
A 1921 bank building in downtown Guerneville (now known as the Guerneville Bank Club) includes the tasting room for Inizi Wines. Founded by four friends — A.J. and Jen Filipelli and John and Kirsti Harley — Inizi (which means “beginnings” in Italian) produces an eclectic mix of Italian and regional French styles: a Sangiovese blend, a rare Tocai Friulano (an Italian white grape), and the very rare, typically deeply hued but food-friendly red varietal Charbono.
Hotel owner Christa Luedtke is also the chef at her modern California bistro, boon eat + drink. (Her “boon” businesses are named after her dog.) This urban-chic restaurant offers two dozens seats and seasonal menus featuring local ingredients.
Paddle leisurely down the Russian River on a 10-mile self-guided canoe or kayak trip with Burke’s Canoe Trips, or take to the river on a standup paddleboard from SUP Odyssey. Alternatively, splash and play at Johnson’s Beach, a favorite family summertime destination for more than 100 years.
Stretching for one mile along the Russian River, where it's nestled into gentle hills and only four miles from the Pacific Ocean in Duncans Mills, Casini Ranch's family-pleasing campground activities include free outdoor movies, beach bonfires, duck feedings, guided hikes, watercraft rentals, summer ice cream socials, an historic barn, and hayrides.
Experience the Sonoma Serengeti at a 400-acre preserve in eastern Santa Rosa that’s home to more than 800 exotic animals —zebras, cheetahs, antelopes, giraffes, wildebeests, and more. Owners Peter and Nancy Lang imported the park’s elegantly appointed safari tents from Africa. Ride in an open-air vehicle, watching the animals socialize, eat, and play, and then dine in the onsite Savannah Café and sleep in delicious luxury with African wildlife as your closest neighbors.
Pale green canvas walls enclose plush beds, hot showers, and rustic but elegant amenities. There are polished wood floors, gleaming copper basins in the private bathrooms, and one-of-a kind hand hewn furniture. About 700 animals reside in this wildlife preserve, and in conditions close to their natural African habitat you'll see them socializing, eating, and playing.
Sleep in a fully-furnished luxury canvas tent at night and, on clear days, view portions of the San Francisco Bay Area and even a glimpse of the Sierra Nevada. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is located northeast of Kenwood in the Mayacamas Mountains, Sonoma County's eastern border. Elevations within the 2,700-acre park range from 600 feet at the entrance to 2,729 feet at the top of Bald Mountain.
Sugarloaf contains the headwaters of Sonoma Creek and offers 25 miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding (some trails are open to mountain bikers). The Robert Ferguson Observatory is open to the public, and trout fishing is good in Sonoma Creek in late spring and early summer.
Get that retro road-trip feeling at this 15-room boutique hotel with eclectic French charm in a 140-year-old-building near Petaluma’s historic downtown. The Metro offers two Airstream trailers on its property, the 22-foot Airstream Bambi and the 28-foot Airstream Honeymoon Suite, both with maid service and complimentary organic coffee and crepes in the morning.
Consistently rated one of the nation's best camping and RV parks, Petaluma KOA campground is situated on 70 rural acres and offers deluxe cabins and lodges in addition to pine-covered tent and RV sites, each with a fire ring and picnic table, cable and WiFi.
There is plenty for the whole family to do, with bike rentals, hot tub/sauna, swimming pool with cabanas, waterslide, off leash dog park, bocce ball court, horseshoe pits, bounce pillow, rockwall climbing, ring toss, basketball courts, petting farm, hayrides, outdoor movies, a farm-themed playground, and Friday karaoke. Guided tours to San Francisco and wine country are available for a fee.