Sonoma is one of the main cities in California's Wine Country. The town of just over 11,000 people is located north of the Bay Area, and thanks to its clement weather and abundance of wineries, it is the epicenter of the state's winemaking industry. Events like the Sonoma International Film Festival and the city's rich history have also made Sonoma a popular tourist destination.
Just north of San Francisco, Sonoma is slightly off the beaten path for most travelers. Some tourists may overlook Sonoma due to its proximity to the more well-known San Francisco Bay area. Yet, it is a treasure waiting to be uncovered. Whether it is a lazy weekend of tasting locally made wines or taking a scenic drive along the coast, Sonoma is a destination travelers shouldn’t skip.
Car enthusiasts have plenty of reasons to visit Sonoma. It isn’t just a town for wine connoisseurs. Petrolheads will feel just as at home as other tourists as they’ll have an opportunity to experience some unique auto fun.
Local Favorite: Dungeness CrabIf you aren't familiar with Sonoma County, California, seafood may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet Sonoma has a long seafood history, and its most famous dish is Dungeness crab. The crab fishing season traditionally starts in November, and the harvesting of crab continues until June. The winter months around Sonoma are ideal for crab fishing thanks to the Pacific Ocean's cold waters, with Sonoma's Bodega Bay most famous for its Dungeness crab. If you want to eat the local delicacy, you may not be in luck. Dungeness crab is on a first-come, first-served basis in Sonoma as it is caught and delivered daily. The crab is sold fresh so you will get a sea-to-table experience like no other should you be early enough to grab a plateful.
Average cost for 2:
Sonoma Coast State Park
Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center
Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
Fort Ross State Historic Park
Top Tourist Attractions
It wouldn’t be a trip to Sonoma without stopping off at the wineries that dot the region. Bartholomew Park Winery is one of the most popular to visit and lays just outside of Sonoma.
The large, historic estate welcomes visitors who can navigate the long winding roads to get there. Once they do, explorers are rewarded with beautiful views of the well-groomed winery.
Bartholomew Park’s winemaking history dates back to the 1850s. Today, the winery is an organically farmed estate, and visitors can sample the “hand-crafted boutique” wines. The area is also a real park that offers visitors the chance to trek the hills and trails.
Sonoma Coast State Park
A trip to Sonoma is great for those looking to get away from the noise of big cities. Visiting the Sonoma Coast State Park is a great way to do this. Situated on the Pacific coast, the park offers some exquisite views of the ocean and unique rock formations from the hilly coast. The serene beaches are also great places to relax while feeling the clear winds flow by. Very few things are more relaxing than a day at the beach with only a few people present.
Sonoma Raceway and Simraceway Performance Driving Center
Sonoma Raceway features an eclectic mix of racing events throughout the year. Drag racing, IndyCar, and motorcycle racing are just some of the events that take place at the raceway.
For any traveler that wants to get behind the wheel of a racecar, the Simraceway Driving School and Performance Center is the way to do it. Simraceway claims to offer the most advanced fleet of Formula 3 racecars on the planet. Petrolheads can get into the cockpit of a single seater Formula 3 racecar and learn to drive from expert teachers.
Visitors uninterested in attending the driving course may enjoy the McLaren Driving Experience. The experience offers car lovers the chance to spend a full day learning about the intricacies of McLaren cars both in the classroom and behind the wheel. Learners will spend time speeding around the Sonoma Raceway as both a passenger and driver. During the sessions, learners will get expert advice as they feel the power of McLaren’s high-performance sports cars.