Like the openness of its natural spaces and its people, Sonoma County is an inviting place for gay and lesbian visitors. The rivers and redwoods, coast and sea villages, and valleys and vineyards of Sonoma County are just a 45-minute scenic drive from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Here you’ll find thriving LGBT-owned-and-operated and gay-friendly businesses.
There are so many possibilities, it can be hard to decide where to start. For an overview, read 5 Tips for Planning Your Big Gay Sonoma Visit and Making Your Gay Visit to Sonoma County Extraordinary.
On the Calendar
Each year Sonoma County hosts a number of events specifically welcoming the LGBTQI community. Here's a quick overview.
The Russian River Women’s Weekend in May is a decades-old fun-filled annual gathering in the riverside town of Guerneville, embracing all women identified people and those who support them.
After several years in Guerneville, in June 2018 the Sonoma County Pride Parade and Celebrations moves to downtown Santa Rosa, where Sonoma County’s LGBTQI community is out loud and proud in Old Courthouse Square.
The Gay Wine Weekend in the Sonoma Valley each July offers three full days of wine, food, and celebrations, including the Twilight T Dance and the Gay Wine Auction benefiting Face to Face, Sonoma County’s AIDS network. For details, read the blog Gay Wine Weekend 2018: What You Need to Know.
Lazy Bear Weekend in August brings thousands of hairy, burly, crazy, and lazy revelers to Guerneville for five days of pools, hikes, barbecues, wine tours, shows, dances, feasts, and bonfires. Profits go to charities, putting the “fun” into “fundraising.”
The OUTwatch film festival in the town of Sonoma in November is the only Wine Country fest devoted exclusively to the LGBTQI experience.
Sonoma County isn’t a gay-friendly destination only on special occasions — the welcome mat is out daily.
Enjoy the charming communities, beaches, and redwood groves of the Russian River resort area , long known as “San Francisco’s Gay Playground.”
And be sure to take in the stunning views and enticing beaches and hiking trails along the incredibly scenic Sonoma coastline.
In fact, most wineries in Sonoma County are gay-friendly, which goes a long way toward explaining why this wine region has been named one of the country's top 20 tourist destinations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people.
Tying the Knot
Have you found that perfect someone, and want to get married in Wine Country? Read 5 Gay-Friendly Sonoma County Wedding Venues and Same-Sex Wedding Officiants in Sonoma County, and learn about our free wedding assistance.
Where to Stay
As diverse in lodgings as it is in lifestyle, Sonoma County boasts many gay-owned or gay-friendly hotels, motels, cabins, and B&Bs. For specific recommendations, read Sonoma County’s Most Gay-Friendly Accommodations.
Dance under the redwoods, experience the romance of the Pacific coast, do a little shopping, or indulge in a California Wine Country meal. No matter what your choice, you’ll find that in Sonoma County, you’ll feel right at home.