couple in redwoods

Itinerary: Explore Redwood Forests in Sonoma County

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In Northern California's renowned wine country, Sonoma County, you'll find giant redwood trees in local and state parks, and along winding back roads. These mighty trees can live to be 2,000 years old, and can grow to more than 350 feet tall. They thrive in Sonoma County's mild climate—especially in foggy or moist areas along rivers and streams—and on Sonoma County's Pacific Ocean coastline.

As you seek out and commune with these amazing natural wonders, perhaps you'll also uncover something new within you: a fresh sense of adventure, a renewed connection to nature, and maybe even a rejuvenated approach to living life.

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Here's a family-friendly road trip itinerary that will enable you to encounter Sonoma County's redwood giants, participate in exciting outdoor adventures, and sample local wines and food.

Sunshine filtered through redwood trees in Armstrong Woods
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

Immerse yourself in the magnificence of nature at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve—805 awe-inspiring acres of old growth California coast redwoods. (You can even glide through Armstrong Redwoods on a guided tour by Segway of Healdsburg.) The oldest tree here, Colonel Armstrong, is more than 1,400 years old, and the tallest, Parson Jones, extends upwards more than 310 feet.

A group of people crosses a bridge through the canopy of Sonoma County redwood trees.
Sonoma Canopy Tours

About 10 miles south of Armstrong Redwoods you can fly from treetop to treetop in the redwood canopy zip lines at Sonoma Canopy Tours. Marvel at panoramic forest views and deep ravines on a unique course that includes seven zip lines, two sky bridges, a magnificent spiral staircase, and a rappel back to the forest floor.

A woman smiles and climbs on a paddleboard while a man follows, riding a paddleboard behind her on the Russian River
Paddle boarding on the Russian River

Explore the lazy, winding Russian River as it makes its way west to the ocean.  You’ll undoubtedly pass redwood trees as you paddle leisurely downstream on a 10-mile self-guided canoe or kayak trip with Burke’s Canoe Trips, or explore more than two miles of the scenic river on a stand up paddleboard with Rubicon Adventures, which also offers paddleboard yoga classes.

Johnson's Beach by the Russian River
Johnson's Beach 

To just kick back and enjoy the water, check out Johnson’s Beach, a favorite family summer riverside destination in Guerneville for more than a century, or the Forestville River Access, known locally as Mom’s Beach because it’s such a delightful place to take the kids.

Golf on a course bordered by a grove of redwoods at Northwood

Love golf and redwoods? You can find both at the Northwood Golf Club, where daily tee times can be booked for 2 to 4 players. 

Redwood grove at Riverfront Regional Park
Redwood Hill Trail at Riverfront Regional Park

And the 305-acre Riverfront Regional Park in Healdsburg includes 15 acres of redwood forest, with a beautiful picnic area tucked under a shady redwood grove.

Horseback riding on the vineyard-side trails in Jack London Historic State Park
Horseback riding on the vineyard-side trails in Jack London Historic State Park

Horseback ride through redwoods and oak woodlands with Triple Creek Horse Outfit at Jack London State Historic Park in the Sonoma Valley, or with stunning views of Lake Sonoma and the surrounding wilderness at The Ranch at Lake Sonoma Horseback Riding.

Three cyclists ride past a vineyard under the shining sun in Sonoma County, California

Getaway Adventures & Rentals offers a Russian River Pedal & Paddle tour where you go wine tasting on a bike and then cruise the river in a kayak. Bicycle rentals are also available from Russian River Cycle Service, which posts tips about local cycling routes.

Car driving the winding, forested back roads of the Bohemian Highway
The winding, forested back roads of the Bohemian Highway

For a scenic car drive, you can’t beat the 10-mile, two-lane Bohemian Highway that winds through towering redwoods, serene pastures, rocky ravines, and three charming western Sonoma County townships—Monte Rio, Occidental, and Freestone.

Back garden and redwood trees at Korbel
Back garden and redwoods at Korbel Champagne Cellars

Gorgeous redwood trees shade the outdoor deck at Korbel Champagne Cellars, the oldest continually operating champagne house in North America. Tour the winery and cellars, enjoy a complimentary tasting, or create your own food and wine pairing at the gourmet deli.

Exterior of tasting room, patio, and lawn at Garry Farrell
Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery 

For a more personalized experience, make advance reservations for a private tour and tasting. Other west Sonoma County wineries that combine tasting with amazing views of redwoods include Moshin Vineyards, Porter Creek Vineyards, and Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery.

Interior of Stumptown Brewery in Guerneville
Stumptown Brewery

For beer lovers, Stumptown Brewery in Guerneville rotates its styles on tap, and provides guest taps for other local breweries; for variety, they also carry spirits.

Biscuit sandwich at Big Bottom Market in Guerneville
Biscuit sandwich at Big Bottom Market in Guerneville

Explore the town of Guerneville’s recent renaissance as a foodie haven by getting breakfast or lunch at the Big Bottom Market (their biscuits made Oprah’s list of her favorite things).

boon eat drink Guerneville Sonoma County
boon eat + drink

For dinner, at the nearby urban-chic boon eat + drink, chef and owner Christa Luedtke whips up delicious seasonal menus using local ingredients in dishes like broiled salmon on a bed of cannellini beans, or polenta lasagna with spring veggies, rainbow chard, marinara sauce, and ricotta salata.



Exterior of the Fern Grove Cottages in Guerneville, set back from River Road in a redwood grove
Fern Grove Cottages in Guerneville

In Guerneville, cute little 1920s-era Craftsman-style cabins nestle at the feet of soaring redwoods at Fern Grove Cottages. Some cottages have whirlpool tubs, others wood-burning or gas fireplaces, and a few are pet-friendly; guests get an extended continental breakfast and free use of Cruiser bicycles.

interior of a white, airy guest room at Dawn Ranch Resort in Sonoma County
Dawn Ranch Resort

Or enjoy rustic tranquility with modern amenities in a cottage at Dawn Ranch Resort, a century-old family guest ranch with two rare 70-year-old Dawn Redwood trees growing on its 15-acre riverfront property.

Go glamping in the redwoods of the Russian River at Autocamp in Guerneville, Sonoma County, California

Go glamping (glamorous camping) in a custom Airstream trailer or a luxurious platform tent at AutoCamp Russian River, or stay in one of 14 old miners’ cabins remodeled with understated design and affordable luxury at Boon Hotel + Spa, which also offers a vintage “lovebug” camper and three glamping tents (shown above).

Exterior of the Farmhouse Inn's gardens and yellow buildings in Forestville
Farmhouse Inn

In Forestville, you will find a gem: Farmhouse Inn presents a tranquil retreat in Sonoma County. Born from five generations of roots in Forestville, siblings Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, have a connection to the local wine and farming community that creates the frame for the Farmhouse Inn experience. Farmhouse Inn offers luxurious accommodations with country-chic décor, an acclaimed spa and farm-to-table restaurant, and outstanding services.

The 5,092-acre Trione-Annadel State Park shows off redwood trees in a variety of settings on more than 40 miles of multi-use trails geared to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.

Trail through the deep forest at Stillwater Cove Regional Park in Jenner
Stillwater Cove Regional Park in Jenner 

Gualala Point Regional Park offers campsites under redwood trees next to the Gualala River and within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. Trails also wander through groves of redwoods and other old-growth trees at Stillwater Cove Regional Park in Jenner.