SONOMA COUNTY, California. — Sonoma County is known for its award-winning wines, luxury inns, romantic honeymoon vacations and, yes, as the perfect place for an unforgettable fun-filled family vacation.

Many par­ents think their days exploring Northern California’s Wine Coun­try are put on hold while their kids are small, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily so, espe­cially in Sonoma County. With a lit­tle plan­ning, cre­ativ­ity, and flex­i­bil­ity, the whole fam­ily can enjoy a vaca­tion in wine country.

With its exceptional variety of natural attributes — the Pacific Ocean, rivers, lakes, ancient redwood forests, and farm lands — you will discover unique and memorable adventures for the whole family.

Family Friendly Wineries

Con­sider vis­it­ing winer­ies that offer a kid-friendly atmos­phere and some space, like a nice big lawn for them to run on. Lit­tle extras like a fish pond, pic­nic area, or gar­den to explore will help make the day fun. There are sev­eral winer­ies that go a step fur­ther by pro­vid­ing some spe­cific things to enter­tain kids dur­ing their visit. The fol­low­ing exam­ples will give you a taste of what’s out there.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Gey­serville
Relax in this resort-like winery setting, with beau­ti­ful grounds and a lovely swim­ming pool (tick­ets required in advance) where you can reserve a cabine, which includes pool passes, lounge chairs, tow­els, and wine tast­ings (be sure to reserve early). Enjoy live music on sum­mer week­ends, children’s activ­i­ties, bocce ball courts, and more. 

Benziger Family Winery, Glen Ellen
This organic win­ery features a play­ground, small bird zoo, beau­ti­ful gar­dens, pic­nic grounds, hourly tours, and fun Bio­dy­namic Vine­yard Tram tours in a tram pulled by a tractor.

Buena Vista Winery, Sonoma
Explore the oldest premium winery in California, which includes fun winery tours with the “Count,” a maze, a “history” hillside, a wine cave, and a Wine Tool Museum.

Alexander Valley Vineyards, Healds­burg
You’ll fine a toy chest in the win­ery, and wine caves that keep lit­tle peo­ple happy while adults have fun too. Experience enter­tain­ing events such as the Har­vest Party in Sep­tem­ber, which includes grape pick­ing, bless­ing of the grapes, brunch, a grape stomp com­pe­ti­tion, music, bocce ball tour­na­ment, and more.

Landmark Vineyards, Ken­wood
Located at the base of Sug­ar­loaf Moun­tain, this beautiful winery offers a bocce ball court, pic­nic area, col­or­ing books and crayons in the tast­ing room, and horse-drawn wagon rides in the summer.

Larson Family Winery, Sonoma
The Lar­son Fam­ily Win­ery is an old rodeo ranch-turned-win­ery, which spells fun for fam­i­lies. This cowboy-style atmos­phere is very relaxed and comes with farm ani­mals, a bocce ball court, and grass area for pic­nic blankets.

Beyond Wineries

Beyond the wineries, Sonoma County offers family friendly, exciting activities that will make the trip extra mem­o­rable. Here are just a few of these kid-approved experiences, listed alphabetically by city.

Candy & Kites and Second Wind, Bodega Bay
With some of the best-ever kite-flying conditions found along Sonoma County’s breezy coast, it’s no wonder the tiny town of Bodega Bay boasts two kite stores. Plus, the nearby Doran Regional Park hosts the Castles and Kites festival each May, with spectacular kites, demonstrations, and kite-flying training on the beach, as well as sandcastle sculpture creations. 

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, Guerneville
The whole family can stroll under amaz­ing Sequoia trees in this stunning grove that recalls the towering trees that once carpeted this area. Visit the Ici­cle Tree, with its mys­te­ri­ous “burl’ for­ma­tions; the Colonel Arm­strong Tree, esti­mated to be over 1,400 years old; and the Par­son Jones Tree, reach­ing heights of over 310 feet tall (that’s longer than a foot­ball field).

Sonoma Canopy Tours, Occidental, Occidental
Soar through the treetops of a redwood forest. A zip line lets the magic of gravity do all the work. Fitted with a specially-designed harness, you’ll reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour on the fastest zips.

Fundemonium, Petaluma
This toy, hobby, and game store offers 14,000 square feet of fun. Options include a children’s play area, a slot car track, a 1,200-square-foot indoor radio-controlled car track, rock tables for radio-controlled rock crawlers, a snack bar, and LEGO play.

Cal Skate Roller Blading and Skating Center, Rohnert Park
As one of the North Bay Area’s only roller skating rinks, Cal Skate lets you strap on skates or blades and glide away. The Club Friday Night series offers games, socialization, theme nights, and modern hit music, for a fun night out.

Driven Raceway, Rohnert Park
Experience European-style racing with the most sophisticated and high speed electric karts available today. These Italian-built, competition electric karts for adults and kids a minimum of 48-inches tall are capable of reaching speeds up to 45 miles per hour.

Scandia Family Fun Center, Rohnert Park
This kid’s fantasy land includes two 18-hole miniature golf courses with tiny buildings, bridges, and waterways. Also featured are 18 batting cages with slow pitch and fast pitch. Bumper boats, equipped with water sprayers, are a great way to cool off on a warm day. And the Lil’ Indy Raceway gives a racing experience with its straight track and banked turns.

Howarth Park, Santa Rosa
This 152-acre community park includes an amusement park with a miniature train ride, carousel, animal farm, and pony rides. It also includes unique playground structures, a beautiful lake for fishing and boating, a softball field, tennis courts, picnic areas, and miles of hiking and jogging areas. 

Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa
If you hap­pen to have fans of the Peanuts comic strips in the fam­ily, visit the Charles M. Schulz Museum. This fun, laid­back facility has some intriguing exhibits about the famed car­toon­ist and his beloved char­ac­ters. Directly across the street is Snoopy’s Home Ice sta­dium for ice skat­ing with the family, and a Peanuts-themed gift shop.

Pacific Coast Air Museum, Santa Rosa
Imag­i­na­tion takes flight at the Pacific Coast Air Museum, which displays historic aircraft and antique World War II planes. The museum’s mission is to preserve aviation history and educate children. “Climb Aboard’ special events occur throughout the year. Each August, there is the “Wings Over Wine Coun­try Air Show.’

Safari West, Santa Rosa
Get your “wild’ time by tak­ing an open-air safari vehi­cle in this 400-acre wildlife pre­serve. Catch sight of giraffes, lemurs, chee­tahs, and wildebeests. And it gets even better – you can stay overnight in one of the luxurious safari tents.

Sim­race­way Per­for­mance Dri­ving Cen­ter, Sonoma
If you need some excite­ment, check out the Sim­race­way Per­for­mance Dri­ving Cen­ter for a cool kart rac­ing expe­ri­ence (ages 13 and older), let your teens try rac­ing lessons or even take the defen­sive dri­ving course.

Sonoma Plaza, Sonoma
This eight-acre park in the center of town includes a duck pond and two playgrounds. This is a great place for kids to burn off some energy on the playgrounds, enjoy a picnic (tables are available, and the park is cool and shady), and feed the ducks. Surrounding the plaza you’ll find shops, restaurants, and historic sites, including the last and northernmost of the California missions.

Sonoma TrainTown Rail­road, Sonoma
This old fash­ioned, scaled down rail­road will delight young train fans. The 20-minute train ride goes over bridges, through tun­nels, and stops in its minia­ture town, “Lake­view,’ which includes a pet­ting zoo. Kids can also enjoy six other rides, includ­ing a carousel and Fer­ris wheel.

Water Park in Spring Lake Swimming Lagoon, Santa Rosa
This colorful, inflatable water playground lets children (age 6 or older) and adults bounce, climb, slide, and balance on a series of floating play stations. Open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends, admission is $10 for children (6 or older), $15 adults, or $45 for a family of four.

State and Regional Parks, throughout Sonoma County
There’s a wide array of family fun, including fishing, kayaking, and horseback riding along the Pacific Coast or Russian River, hiking and biking dedicated trails in more than 55 state and regional nature parks, or discovering Sonoma County and California’s rich heritage in several history parks. Using Sonoma County Regional Parks trails are free but there are parking fees, usually $7. Those are waived with a Regional Parks membership.

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Find your passion in Sonoma County, located only 30 miles/48 kilometers north of San Francisco, and featuring more than 400 wineries, 100-plus organic farms, and 50 miles/80 kilometers of stunning Pacific coast.

For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacounty.com or call +1-707-522-5800.