Napa Valley’s fresher, folksier sibling to the west, Sonoma County is the present-day epicenter of California Wine Country cool. Scores of oenophiles travel to Sonoma County each year for its world-class vineyards, set against a backdrop of rolling fields and a rugged coastline. They stay to experience farm-to-table dining destinations that have gained the region its international cache. From the bustling Santa Rosa to the quaint Glen Ellen, Sonoma County comprises 22 cities brimming with 19th-century history. It’s also home to a number of state parks ripe for hiking, camping and fishing. Traveling to Sonoma County takes 45 minutes from San Francisco, but it’s already a world away from its urban buzz. Use Travel + Leisure’s Sonoma County travel guide to start exploring.
Things Not to Miss in Sonoma County
• Taste vintages at one of more than 250 wineries
• Take in the untamed natural beauty of the Russian River Valley
• Catch a glimpse of California history with a visit to Sonoma Plaza and browse its summertime farmers’ market
• Indulge your inner foodie with reservations at one of the county’s top-tier restaurants
When to Go to Sonoma County
The mild, maritime-influenced climate that makes Sonoma County prime grape-growing territory also makes it traveler-friendly throughout most of the year. Visit Sonoma County and you can find daytime temperatures that hover around 71 degrees, dropping once the sun goes down. Plan your Sonoma County travel for the springtime and catch its International Film Festival in March. In May and June, the county pops with color thanks to its lavender and wildflower blooms.