Sonoma County is a year-round haven that combines in one location everything you could desire in a memorable travel experience – the finest wines, incredible gormet dining, great historic inns, and rejuvenating spas, a flourishing arts community, great championship golf courses, interesting history and the bounty of Northern California’s great outdoors. Vacation Destinations within Sonoma County include Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Sonoma and Bodega Bay.
There is a lot to do and see in Napa and Sonoma wine country. Our renowned Virtuoso Travel Advisors can tailor a great wine country vacation experience for you with privileged access, private wine tasting and free room upgrades . Use our California vacation planner and you will be contacted at the time you prefer
Most people know Sonoma County for its renowned wineries. The county offers, and the fabulous attractions that make it the perfect vacation or getaway experience.
Only 32 miles north of San Francisco, among 1,604 square miles, you will find a wild and dramatic Pacific coastline—one of the most scenic in the world. The winding Russian River is know for its gorgeous redwoods and peaceful canoing and quaint towns such as Forestville, Occidental, Monte Rio and Guernville. A Sonoma vacation has it all– beautiful vineyards, majestic old growth redwoods, historic towns, historic inns and spas and fine hotels.
The beauty of the area has attracted artists and craftsman colonies, rejuvenating spas and some of the finest dining experiences in the United States. Hills covered in cows and woolly sheep, orchards and gardens where the freshest, often organic, produce is grown for your dinner table and farms of every variety are all to be discovered in this wondrous country. The experience can be relaxing and rejuvenating or fast paced and exciting depending on your tastes and desires; and it will always be memorable.
Sonoma County is the original home of wine production in northern California and still the largest producer of quality wine. Its wine grape appellations are also a handy way for travelers to sample the distinctive flavors of the county’s diverse regions. The Viansa Winery and Italian Marketplace is one of the most interesting wineries to visit.
Napa County, Sonoma County and Mendocino County are next to each other, have hundreds of great vinyards and all offer a tremendous varity for a incredible California vacation. Sonoma not only has renowned vinyards like Napa and Mendocino, it has one of the most scenic coastlines in the world! All located within a comfortable drive from each other.
Salt Point State Park
This park includes six miles of the Sonoma Coast, ranging from sandy beach coves to steep bluffs and sandstone cliffs. At the top of the coastal ridge there is a large prairie and pigmy forest.
Wildlife includes the long-tailed weasel, wild pigs, brown pelicans and other water birds, blacktail deer, raccoons, coyotes, and a variety of rodents.
The park has miles of hiking and horseback trailsand is also site of an underwater reserve for divers.
The park is 20 miles north of Jenner on Highway One.
The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended.
Facilities – Activities
An extensive network of hiking and horseback trails extend to many remote sections of the park. Hikers are asked to stay on developed trails to preserve the park’s unspoiled qualities. Mountain bikes must stay on paved or fire roads.
Dogs must be kept on leash at all times and are not permitted on the trails or on the beaches.
Picnic areas are located at Stump Beach, South Gerstle Cove and Fisk Mill Cove where running water and restrooms are available.
After the fall rains, mushroom hunters flock to Salt Point in search of select edibles such as King Boletes and Chanterelles since this is the only State Park in the area open to mushroom collecting. Make sure you correctly identify any mushroom before eating it, this can be a dangerous hobby! There is a 5 pound limit per person per day for edible mushrooms.
Collect only where it is permitted – All of Salt Point State Park is open to gathering but the adjacent Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve is not. Collecting is also prohibited at Stillwater Cove Regional Park and Fort Ross State Historic Park.
Salt Point is also considered a prime spot for abalone diving. Each year thousands of divers arrive to try their luck. While this is one of the finest red abalone diving areas in the state, it is also one of the most dangerous. Large surf, rocky shorelines and strong currents inevitably take the lives of several divers each year. During the abalone season divers from all over the state converge of the Sonoma Coast to search for the tasty mollusks. Note! I license is required to dive abalone, and can be purchased at country stores and sporting goods stores.
The Sonoma and Mendocino Coast is the best places in the world for abalone, a delicious mullusk prized by sport divers and rock pickers.
Good Tip! Do not violate California Fish and Game laws, please click here to read the regulations: The daily limit is three red abalone, the annual limit is 24 with a seven inch minimum diameter. The season is April 1st until June 30th; closed in July, Opens again August 1st. until November 30th.
The park includes one of the first underwater parks in California, Gerstle Cove Marine Reserve, where marine life is completely protected. The cove affords shelter for the hand launching of small boats and divers come to the cove to explore the wonders of the undersea world.
Marine life can be experienced on land during low tide in the rocky intertidal zone through tidepool exploration. When exploring these areas remember that many of these organisms can be damaged or destroyed by even the simple act of turning over a rock and exposing the animals to the sun.
The rocky coastline at Salt Point provides many excellent ocean fishing opportunities. Using bait of squid, shrimp, mussels, or smelt you can catch Rock Cod, Lingcod, Cabezone and Sculpins year round fishing from the rocks. Be careful to stay back from the waves reach, since the rocks can be slippery and the ocean is rough.
Sonoma Coast State Beach
Long sandy beaches below rugged headlands, a craggy coastline with natural arches and secluded coves are features that make Sonoma Coast State Beach one of California’s most scenic attractions.
The Beach, actually a series of beaches separated by rock bluffs and headlands, extends 17 miles from Bodega Head to Vista Trail located 4 miles north of Jenner. Beachcombers, fishermen, sunbathers and picnickers can access the beach from more than a dozen points along coast Highway 1.
While the north coast weather can be foggy in the summer, it usually burns off by midday and the cool ocean breezes make the Sonoma Coast a haven for visitors seeking to escape the inland heat.
The beach is located between Jenner and Bodega Bay on Highway One. The Rangers’ Station is at the north side of Salmon Creek, off Highway 1.
The weather can be changeable; layered clothing is recommended.
Facilities – Activities
Bodega Head is the rocky headland that forms the entrance into Bodega Harbor. The harbor side provides a popular crabbing area along the jetty, and the many hiking trails on the ocean side allow access to small, sandy coves and spectacular scenic blufftop views. The high cliffs offer excellent vantage points for observing migrating gray whales.
Goat Rock, near the mouth of the Russian River, is known for its scenic shoreline and easily accessible sandy beach. Picnic tables and restroom facilities are also available. Goat Rock beach is home to a colony of harbor seals which are fun to watch, but please stay 50 yards from the seals, especially during pupping season (March – August.)
Shell Beach is a favorite location for beachcombing and tidepooling. It is used by schools as an outdoor classroom for the study of tidal pool marine life and enjoys a reputation as a prime fishing spot.
Duncan’s Landing is famous for two things: as an early-day landing for loading small coastal ships with lumber and food products and for being the most dangerous point along the Sonoma Coast due to large and unpredictable surf. Heed the signs and stay off the rocks, the waves have come up to the parking lot and people have been swept off the rocks. In the spring the wildflower displays are spectacular.
Portuguese Beach & Schoolhouse Beach are beautiful sandy beaches surrounded by rocky headlands. Rock fishing and surf fishing are popular in these locations.
Salmon Creek Beach, where a lagoon forms as sand closes the mouth of Salmon Creek, is a popular summer destination. Nearly two miles of unbroken, scenic, sandy beach make this an excellent place for surf fishing, beachcombing, and picnicking. The surfers are here when the waves are good.
Like most north coast beaches, Sonoma Coast is NOT FOR SWIMMING. Strong rip currents, heavy surf and sudden ground swells make even surf play dangerous. A small staff of well-trained lifeguards are usually on duty during the peak season, but with so much coastline to cover they may not be available.
It is especially important to keep children back from the highest water-line and never turn your back to the ocean. Many rescues are made each year. Also be careful of the bluffs and rocks. The shale formations are unstable and unsafe for climbing, so stay on the trails and heed warning signs.
A destination where the pace of life is in rhythm with the seasons, Sonoma County offers a restorative refuge from the stress of city life. Spas provide a serene complement to the peaceful landscape and healing flavors of farm and vine, with the ultimate goal of deeply relaxing both the body and the mind.
The first wine grapes were planted in Sonoma County more than 200 years ago, by Spanish missionaries, making this the birthplace of California’s Wine Country. Today, there are more than 190 wineries in Sonoma County, including many of the world’s best-known labels and appellations. Most wineries are open to the pubic for tours and complimentary tastings. A few wineries require reservations for tours and may charge for private reserve labels.