Sonoma just isn’t America’s wine country but also has other facilities for enjoyment that keep the chef, sybarite, athlete and explorer inside you entertained fully. Hike, take drives, shuck oysters or nibble on local smoked salmon. And of course, don’t forget to taste the great local wine. Here we have covered you with all tourist attractions Sonoma and best places to visit in Sonoma.
Let's explore Sonoma points of interest and 15 best things to do in Sonoma:
1. Go Kayaking with Getaway Adventures
Randy Johnson’s team that runs Getaway Adventures take you down the county’s most picturesque waterways in bright yellow kayaks. You either go as two-person teams or in small groups on the Russian River as also its coastal mouth at Jenner. This point is where the seals nap or frolic near Goat’s Rock Beach. Those seeking the Sun and adventure could ply the river stretch. Watch the mist roll into the coast during summer. Tough water shoes and waterproof clothing are advised. You can also go biking through the local vineyards.
2. Zip across trees with Coastal Redwoods
You will be simply enchanted by the towering redwood trees that dominate this seven-line course close to Occidental. Fly at nearly two hundred feet above the ground as you go streaking between trees at speeds of about 35 miles an hour. For the more adventurous, traversing the longest line at 850 feet is also possible. Rent helmets fitted with video cams to log your crazy flights. However, you have to be over 11 years of age and 70 pounds by weight.
3. Indulge the chef in you with Relish Culinary Adventures
A brainchild of Donna del Rey, who put Sonoma’s long vine growing seasons and abundant natural bounty to good use by instructing visitors on how to cook some great food easily. You can have a private cooking party for $1300. Learn to cook Applewood-smoked salmon, grill farm fresh peaches and make shallot pickle. You can also attend classes on mozzarella cheese making and canning.
4. Hike to Armstrong Redwoods Reserve
Just immerse yourself in the great natural beauty of the Armstrong Redwoods Reserve to chill out. Known for its short and flat loops meandering through its towering trees, the place is ideal for exploring on foot. The more adventurous have the option of tackling uphill ridges or walk 3 miles to numerous campsites located on the adjacent Austin Creek State Recreation Area. Facilities for drive-in camping also available. A great venue for family picnics and barbecues.
5. Enjoy your tipple and nibble around Healdsburg
This town comes alive in the afternoons as the morning fog fades. Join the locals as they hit the outdoors for snacks and cocktails. Go bar hopping and taste the traditional margarita or La Paloma at Mateo’s, the renowned Mexican restaurant. Zip across to Campo Fina to play bocce while munching on some brick oven-baked salsiccia pizza. Follow it up with sips of sherry and tapas at the Bravas Baron’s back patio. Taste some incredible local wines at the outdoor lounge of the Hotel Les Mars along with pork belly biscuits.
6. Taste the Tomales Bay Oysters
Hog Island Oysters is a great mid-week venue for tasting oysters. You get a glove, oyster shucking knife and ice tray for $5. The oysters cost extra. A great picnic zone on weekends. A must visit for oyster shuckers.
7. Go wine tasting at the Jordan Winery Estate
Go on this tour to avoid assembly line chaos so common to wineries. Rather, get VIP treatment as you join a twelve-member group to tour this picturesque property at Alexander Valley. This 3-hour interactive tour includes a walk in the vineyards and the chef’s garden coupled with vintage tastings of their Cabernet and Chardonnay wines at scenic spots. Its seasonal food tasting sessions using ingredients from local butchers and its house garden truly complement their excellent wines.
8. Just sip at The Barlow
The Barlow is Sonoma’s most happening wine and food destination. This 220,000-square-foot area is also host to a plethora of art galleries and shops but its main attractions are artisan wine, coffee, beer and edibles. Go wine tasting at your own free will at the Wind Gap, and the MacPhail. Take in the aroma of some great coffee roasting at Taylor Maid Farms. Experience live brewing at the Spirit Works distillery or tuck into Vignette’s crisp Neopolitan style pizzas.
9. Visit Point Reyes Lighthouse and Cowgirl Creamery
This is ideal for a half day sightseeing tour in Marin County, known for its spectacular coastal and country California scenery. Located on the Pacific Coast’s windiest point the Point Reyes Lighthouse dates back to 1870 and warned sailors of impending collisions and accidents. On your way to the lighthouse, you have to pass through Point Reyes village and try out some of its famous Cowgirl Creamery cheeses. The lighthouse is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Certainly worth a visit.
10. Try the heavenly menu at J Vineyards
J Vineyards’ six-course menu is a foodie’s delight and goes hand in glove with an array of some excellent still and sparkling wines. Enjoy it at the vineyard’s elegant Bubble Room, furnished with comfortable pea-green couches and tables for larger groups. The menu contains some amazing food, based on ingredients that are available seasonally such as heirloom tomatoes on its August menu, to quote one example.
11. Rest your tired feet at the Sonoma Plaza
When you tire of traveling constantly on foot in Sonoma, take a break at the Sonoma Plaza. Host to several gourmet joints, this quaint town square is the ideal place for having a family picnic or just hanging out with friends. Watch the world go by as you tuck into some delicious food while also giving your feet that much required rest.
12. Go Napa Valley Wine Country Touring
Napa Valley is yet another must-visit for wine enthusiasts and offers a tour to four wineries by way of the Napa Valley Wine Country Tour. You can take a ride by limo van, party bus or limousine from San Francisco and the tour also includes a picnic lunch and a Mimosa breakfast. Round trips from and back to San Francisco also available.
13. Pay a visit to General M.G. Vallejo’s Home
General Vallejo, a soldier, land grant holder and politician was responsible for California's independence and guided the procedure from Spain. His house at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains is worth a visit. The Victorian architecture, antique equipment and furnishings are also worth seeing. You also get to see the Fort and the Mission. Free parking is available or you could take a short walk from the plaza. Wine enthusiasts would also be interested as General Vallejo pioneered some award-winning Sonoma wines.
14. Pick up some great cheeses at the Vella Cheese Company
Here history comes together with some fantastic cheeses. Vella's cheeses keep you coming back for more. There are also cheese tasting sessions for free. Moreover, prices too, are reasonable. This destination is certainly worth checking out. Notable items include the Golden Bear Dry Monterey, Oro Secco Monterey and Mezzo Seco Monterey jack cheeses. The creamy Toma cheese is also worth tasting.
15. Take the Sonoma day trip
With Napa and Sonoma valleys being a haven for wine enthusiasts, this tour takes you to Sebastiani Vineyards, Madonna Estate and Sutter Home. Enjoy a splendid lunch at Sonoma Square downtown, known for its dining facilities and boutiques. You travel from Fisherman’s Wharf by coach and cross Golden Gate Bridge on the way. You’ll be amazed at how the Bartolucci family has combined conventional and modern wine-making technology to create some astounding wines at the Madonna Estate from grapes grown organically. The Sutter Home Winery owned by the Trinchero family offers you some great white zinfandel as also other high-quality wines. Discovering the super-premium wines of the Sebastiani Vineyards is yet another delightful experience.