Things to do in sonoma county

21 Things to Do in Sonoma County

It's no secret that Sonoma County, otherwise known as California wine country, produces some of the most beautiful coastal wines in the world, but this laidback, seaside paradise has even more to offer than our famous fruit of the vine. From our pristine coastline and numerous opportunities for outdoor adventures to our farm-to-table food scene and local arts community, if you are seeking to fill out your wine country itinerary, we have you covered with our favorite things to do in Sonoma County.
Wine grapes have been cultivated in Sonoma County since the Franciscan monks in the early 19th century, making this one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the country. A bit more down-to-earth than its cousin to the east, Sonoma County is first and foremost an agricultural enclave and home to farmers cultivating a variety of crops (apples and hops both had their heyday). The proximity to the coast makes for cool, foggy nights and warm days. These diurnal shifts are ideal for ripening grapes while preserving balance and acidity. The year-round temperate weather combined with diverse soil types (Sonoma County boasts 30 soil series…more than all of France!!) form the ideal conditions for beautiful expressions of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and the many other varieties that thrive throughout Sonoma County’s 18 distinct wine-growing regions or AVAs.  
Whether you are the outdoorsy type, or the most adventurous thing about you is your tastebuds, Sonoma County has something for everyone. Read on for a list of our local recommendations.

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.
Kendall-Jackson Wine Tasting

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. 
Bohemian Creamery Sebastopol

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. 
Kendall-Jackson Winery Culinary Garden Produce

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).  
Sonoma County Gravenstein Apple Fair Sebastopol

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).
Sonoma County Picnic Spots Matanzas Creek Winery

6. Camping

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. 
Sonoma County Camping

7. Horseback Riding

Experience wine country in the same way Jack London did—from the back of a horse—on a guided tour through Jack London Historic State Park with Triple Creek Horse Outfitters
Triple Creek Horse Outfitters

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. 
Monte Rio Russian River Kayaking

10. Bike Through the Vineyards

Explore the most beautiful reaches of Sonoma County on two wheels by participating in an organized ride or race. Perhaps the Giro Bello, Tour De Fox, Levis Gran Fondo, or Asti Tour De Vine?
Tour De Fox Wine Country

11. Hiking

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.
Gunsight Rock Hood Mountain Regional Park

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. 
Sonoma County Art Trails

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. 
Broadway Under the Stars Jack London State Historic Park

14. Explore Downtown Wine Country

Take a trip “downtown” to the Sonoma PlazaHealdsburg 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.   
Sonoma Plaza

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. 
Rivertown Revival Petaluma

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.  
Huicha Music Festival Sonoma

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.  
Sturgeon's Mill Sebastopol

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. 
Sonoma Canopy Tours

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.
Tomales Bay Bioluminescence

20. Spa Day

Relax into Sonoma County’s natural resources with a soak in the thermal waters of Morton’s Warm Springs in Glen Ellen or a healing cedar enzyme bath at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone.
Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary Freestone

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.

Sonoma Coast

As always when wine tasting, be sure to appoint a designated driver, better yet if that driver offers en route entertainment, leather seats, and extensive wine country expertise. Kick back between wine flights, and let someone else worry about the trip logistics by looking to Pure Luxury Transportation to get you around. Plan your own tour custom-tailored to your wine country wishlist, or choose from one of their curated itineraries. If you’re feeling extra-fancy, they even have their own sommelier on standby to serve as your vinicultural guide. 
Whatever your brand of adventure, Sonoma County is a weekender’s paradise—worthy of discovering and rediscovering, and closer than you think.