21 Things to Do in Sonoma County
1. Wine Tastings
It may seem obvious, but a trip to Sonoma county would be incomplete without sampling the wines straight from the source. Enjoy a game of bocce and a farm-to-table Wine & Food Pairing within view of the plot where the produce on your plate was grown at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens. Savor Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard. Sip on Sauvignon Blanc alongside lavender fields at Matanzas Creek Estate Winery. Experience high elevation-sourced wines at Stonestreet Estate Winery in the Alexander Valley. Or take your time taking in the Sonoma Valley views over a delicious lineup of Sonoma County Cabernets at Arrowood Winery in Glen Ellen. The Press provides an excellent reference for navigating through thousands of exquisite producers, planning your tasting tour, and discovering your new favorite winery.
2. Cheese Tastings
Go cheese tasting! Bohemian Creamery, a mile outside downtown Sebastopol is a haven for cheese lovers, and a great place to stock up for wine country picnics. Say 'hi' to the herd of Alpine dairy goats and sample cheeses made from goat, sheep and cow dairy. They even offer weekend tours.
3. Local Food
Enjoy the bounty of local produce and artisanal food purveyors at one of Sonoma County’s local farmers markets. You can find one going on almost every day of the week.
4. Gravenstein Apple Fair
Head to Sebastopol for Sonoma County’s sweetest summer event: the Gravenstein Apple Fair, a celebration of Sonoma County’s original crop before all the vineyards were established (but never worry, there will of course also be plenty of wine).
5. Pack a Picnic
Not only do many wineries allow for personal picnics, but there are a plethora of beautiful parks to enjoy a picnic. We love Ragle Ranch Regional Park in Sebastopol (get in a game of tennis or take a walk on the shady trails while you’re at it), Spring Lake Park in Santa Rosa (if it’s hot, you can cool off in the park’s namesake lake), Riverfront Regional Park in Healdsburg (which skirts both Lake Benoit and the Russian River), and Sonoma Valley Regional Park in Glen Ellen (don’t miss the onsite dog park if you’re bringing along your furry friend).
Pitch a tent! "Roughing it” doesn’t get much more pleasant than Sonoma County camping, where the marine influence keeps temperatures moderate year-round. Campgrounds abound from the Sonoma County Regional Parks system to Sonoma Coast State Park to the pristine Salt Point State Park on the northern Sonoma Coast to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park to the east, not to mention the numerous private campgrounds scattered throughout the county. Don’t forget to stash a bottle (or two) of Sauvignon Blanc in the cooler.
7. Horseback Riding
8. Walk Among the Giant Redwoods
Take a leisurely walk in the woods (or a strenuous hike if you’re up for it) and revel at trees thousands of years old and hundreds of feet tall at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.
9. Float on the Russian River
Float the Russian River in a tube, or if you’re feeling ambitious, take a brisk paddle in a kayak, canoe or SUP. Don’t have your own watercraft? No problem! Rentals are available daily from the Monte Rio Recreation & Park District on Monte Rio Beach.
10. Bike Through the Vineyards
Go for a hike to Gunsight Rock overlook at Hood Mountain Regional Park. The hiking is steep and strenuous, but the sweeping views of the Sonoma Valley at the top make the work worth the prize. Check out Sonoma Magazine's favorite 20 Hikes in Sonoma County for more inspiration.
12. Discover Local Art
Find inspiration on the Sonoma County Art Trails, the oldest juried open studio tour in the country. Each year during the second and third weekend in October, hundreds of Sonoma County artists open up their working studios for visitors to come to engage with both art and artist.
13. Watch a Show Under the Night Sky
Watching performances inspired by the Bard himself at Jack London State Historic Park’s Broadway Under the Stars summer series makes for a truly unforgettable evening. In authentic Sonoma County style, there is always plentiful local wine and food to enjoy.
14. Explore Downtown Wine Country
Take a trip “downtown” to the Sonoma Plaza, Healdsburg Plaza, or Sebastopol’s Barlow district. These Sonoma County hamlets all feature welcoming, walkable downtowns with numerous tasting rooms, boutique shopping, art galleries, local food purveyors and dining establishments, and grassy areas for picnicking or just kicking back and enjoying a beautiful Sonoma County afternoon.
15. Petaluma's Rivertown Revival
Dress up in your best steampunk finery and attend the Rivertown Revival in Petaluma for live music, sculpture exhibits, local artisans, $5 weddings (it’s a thing), and of course plenty to eat and drink.
16. Attend a Music Festival
Sip on a glass of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir at Gundlach Bundschu’s annual weekend-long Huichica Music Festival, drawing diverse musical acts from around the country.
17. Lumber Mill
Witness a working museum. Sturgeon’s Mill in Sebastopol offers scheduled tours four times per year of its steam-powered sawmill, a peek into the living history of Sonoma County and what logging and lumber milling was like in the 19th century.
18. Zipline Adventures
Fly through the trees with Sonoma Canopy Tours, a truly one of a kind zip-line course through West Sonoma County’s towering redwood forest featuring sky bridges and a 60-foot rappel. The extra-adventurous can experience the forest after dark with a night tour, available Fridays and Saturdays.
19. Kayak in Tomales Bay
Experience the magic of a full moon bioluminescence tour (the phenomenon of tiny organisms creating flickering light just beneath the water) on Tomales Bay with Blue Waters Kayaking.
20. Spa Day
21. Explore the Sonoma Coastline
Enjoy the rugged beauty of the Sonoma Coast without breaking a sweat, watching the sunset over the Pacific (maybe with a glass of Pinot Noir in hand?). Be sure to keep an eye out for local marine life. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a gray whale on its migration path. Some of our favorite beaches within Sonoma Coast State Park are Bodega Head, Portuguese Beach, Salmon Creek Beach and Goat Rock, but you can’t go wrong with dramatic coastal views wherever you choose.