While many people pop into Sonoma County, California for a delicious tipple, it’s not an area that’s only about vineyards.
Instead this coastal county offers great options for every traveller from couples to families and getaways with the girls.
You can’t venture up this way and not take a road trip on Pacific Highway 1. This iconic stretch of road down the west coast makes the drive from San Francisco to Sonoma far from boring.
On the way to Sonoma, make sure you check out these stops:
- Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail that runs along Bodega Bay (where you can also spot a whale if you’re lucky).
- Fort Ross State Historic Park.
- Kortum Trail for a cliff-side hike with beach views.
- North and South Salmon Creek Beach for a picnic, swim, or surf.
- Bodega Dunes Campground is perfect if you’re looking to stretch out the drive and opt for the full-on camping experience.
Escape the city
We can’t deny the excitement behind visiting San Fran and soaking up the busy city life, however, sometimes we just need a bit more quiet to ease our minds and relax the soul.
It’s the perfect getaway to escape the crowds, take in the fresh air and seasonal landscapes, and get a better sense of what California has to offer apart from its main cities.
While Sonoma County seems like the place to wind down and enjoy some good wine and tasty food, it also is a place with many opportunities for an abundance of outdoor activities where you can do anything from hiking and biking to surfing.
These are our top spots:
- Jack London State Park (also known as the “Beauty Ranch”).
- Sonoma Valley Regional Park where you can catch a glimpse of Oak trees, a seasonal creek, and open meadows.
- Sugarloaf Ridge State Park where you can fish, mountain bike, or stay overnight to camp.
- Quarryhill Botanical Garden where you can observe over 25,000 plants and 1,500 species.
- Salmon Creek, Dilon Beach, & Black Point Beach for some of the best surf in Northern California.
Take time out
What’s a holiday without a bit of rest and relaxation? One of the best things to do in Sonoma is indulge in “the natural spa”.
Sonoma County is home to a few geothermal mineral springs, otherwise known as hot springs, where you can enjoy the soothing, warm water rain or shine.
For a luxurious natural spa experience, Boyes Hot Springs at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa come in pool and Jacuzzi form in various temperatures. This is the perfect place to bring a friend or partner and soak away your worries in the warm water.
If you get bored with spa days, Agua Caliente at Sonoma Aquatic Club may be the place for you. There are three pools varying in size and purpose including an Olympic-sized outdoor pool with laps and recreational areas, an indoor pool, and an outdoor Jacuzzi. The Aquatic club offers individual and family memberships but can also arrange one-day visits.
And it doesn’t stop there, for a more group-friendly option, Morton’s Warm Springs in Glen Ellen is close to the city centre and has three pools, chaises and benches surrounding the pool, a lawn area with a picnic and barbecue space and a café. You can get a membership, make a group reservation, or get general admission access from May through September.
If you can’t go past a beverage…
Now, for those of us who can’t put the glass (or pint) down, it’s your lucky time because as of late 2018, Murphy-Goode Winery and St. Florian’s Brewery are making it easier than ever to enjoy both the Wine Country and Beer Country at the same time.
Because grapes and hops have co-existed in this region for years, two local businesses have decided to collaborate and create a revolutionary “dry-hopped Sauvignon Blanc and barrel-aged lager” that’s designed to appeal to both wine and beer drinkers.
Now you don’t have to choose between beer and wine because you can have both!
It’s easy to get to
In late 2018, Qantas launched direct flights from Melbourne to San Francisco making it simple and fast to get to Sonoma County. Fly straight in, hire a car, and take a scenic 30 mile drive up the coast to get the full Californian experience.
With 91 per cent of businesses being locally owned, you are sure to make friends with the locals and get plenty of insider knowledge on best places to eat at and visit. They’re equally as keen to see visitors in the area, too after rebuilding from the 2017 fires, which wiped out a lot of residential areas and businesses.
For more information visit Sonoma County Tourism.