Road Trip: Discover Sonoma County’s Rich Palette
Sonoma County, California, offers a richly colored palette of a drive: from the vibrant hues of vineyards in Sonoma Valley, through the green, redwood-studded hills along the Russian River and the iconic Armstrong Redwoods State Preserve, to the blues of the Pacific Ocean.
Come and enjoy a road-trip adventure like no other. Though only about 115 miles, this meandering drive is better if paced out over a few days.
CLICK HERE FOR A MAP OF THE DRIVE
Experience Sonoma County, where Life Opens Up. Just as wine “opens up” when it’s allowed to breathe, Sonoma County inspires visitors to open up to new experiences. Only 30 miles north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is one of California’s top food and wine destinations. Explore the natural beauty, the inviting towns, and the abundance. Because here, you’re free to go your own way.
Explore this charming town, where history walks in tandem with current times. The park-like Sonoma Plaza, in the center of town, covers eight acres — one of California’s largest town squares — and is surrounded by shops and restaurants. It was here in June 1846 that Californians declared their independence from Mexico.
Sonoma Valley is tucked into the rolling hills, neat rows of richly-colored vineyards, and wide meadows. This relatively small region is home to more than three dozen wineries, beautiful nature parks, and farm-fresh eateries.
Safari West, an African-style animal reserve, is a must-see in any season. More than 900 animals representing 90 different species roam the 400-plus acres of wild, natural land. See the lemurs enjoy jack o’ lanterns in the fall. Be startled by a giraffe’s face in yours. See if flamingos really do stand on one leg.
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
Creating the evergreen color in this rainbow drive, it’s impossible to visit Sonoma County’s Armstrong Redwoods and not be transformed by the magnificence of nature.
Leave the serenity of the forest and explore the charmingly rustic town of Guerneville. With more than 50 wineries within a 20-minute drive, wine tasting in the cool-climate Russian River Valley wine region is definitely a must for wine lovers.
It may just be time for a coffee break. Isn’t it always? Located five miles inland from the Sonoma Coast, the tiny hamlet of Duncans Mills occupies a wide, flat area near the meandering Russian River. Often, blue skies smile on Duncans Mills while fog covers the surrounding hills.
The green-blue of the Russian River pours into the striking blues of the Pacific Ocean in Jenner. Be awed by the stunning pink, orange, and red swirl of colors as the sun slips into the ocean. Stop by a local eatery to soak in the view.
Bodega Bay – Classic Northern California coastal town
Protected by a bay from the wild whims of the Pacific Ocean, Bodega Bay is a picturesque fishing village on the Sonoma Coast that calls to the adventurer in all of us. Drive a few miles inland to the tiny town of Bodega. This was the setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.
Located amid rolling hills slightly inland, Valley Ford combines country hospitality with culinary and artistic sophistication. The same terroir that produces cool-loving Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, also nourishes cattle, sheep, and goats, the basis for the area’s famed artisan cheeses.
The riverside town of Petaluma was once called the “Egg Basket of the World” for its bustling egg industry in the early 20th century. Petaluma is now a foodie haven, with awarding-winning restaurants using the best locally grown and produced products. Petaluma also boasts delicious wines, world-class beers and ales, award-winning olive oils, and fresh produce.