Sonoma Valley is a beautiful area in California known for its variety of wineries, but there are also plenty of other things to do in Sonoma. For example, did you know you can go wine tasting in Sonoma and see the Pacific Ocean within the same afternoon?
I’ve explored Napa Valley before when attending Bottlerock Festival but was curious about Sonoma. I decided to head down to spend 3 days in Sonoma to explore the wineries, hikes, and the coast.
From exploring the Sonoma Coast to hiking in the Armstrong Redwoods, here’s what to do and where to stay during a weekend in Sonoma County.
Tips for a Sonoma Weekend Getaway
Here are a few tips to help with planning a trip to Sonoma.
How to Get to Sonoma
You have several options for getting to your Sonoma weekend getaway depending on where you’re coming from. Getting there from anywhere on the West Coast is easy, as you can fly to San Francisco in just a few hours.
From there, you can rent a car and drive up the roughly 90 miles to Sonoma. If you’re doing a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, I highly recommend extending your trip to visit Sonoma (and then you can head to Huntington Beach after!).
A quicker option is to fly to the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport so you’ll be in the heart of Sonoma and not have to deal with the San Francisco traffic. You can fly direct from multiple locations such as Seattle and Dallas.
What to Bring for 3 Days in Sonoma
I recommend the following for 3 days in Sonoma.
- Water bottle – Make sure to stay hydrated during your Sonoma wine country weekend.
- Sun hat – Sonoma gets sunny, so protect your face and eyes with this fashionable hat.
- Sunglasses – You’ll need sunglasses when wine tasting in Sonoma.
- Sunscreen – Staying in the sun all day is tempting during your Sonoma weekend trip, so make sure you reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
Where to Stay on a Sonoma Weekend Escape
Looking for somewhere to call home for a few days during your Sonoma weekend? Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway in Northern California or an active place to stay, you have numerous options. Here are my recommendations for Sonoma lodging:
AutoCamp Russian River – This is a fun place to stay in Sonoma if you want to stay outdoors while having access to modern amenities. You can stay in renovated Airstream campers or luxury tents, and you’ll sleep in plush beds. (rates start at $289 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
El Pueblo Inn– This cute hotel has a 24-hour outdoor pool and is a mile away from Sonoma Town Center. (rates start at $259 per night)
Don’t feel like staying in a hotel during your weekend in Sonoma? Here are several Airbnbs I recommend if you want a private, cozy feel to your Sonoma lodging.
- Spacious Bodega Bay Home – This is a beautiful place to stay with a deck with stunning views and a hot tub to enjoy. Prices start at $285 per night.
- Private Sonoma Coast Cottage – This two-bedroom home is right by Jenner-by-the-Sea and is a comfortable place to relax by the fireplace at night. Prices start at $190 per night.
- Ranch House on a Vineyard – This historic ranch home has an infinity deck and a hot tub and is located on a vineyard. Prices start at $250 per night.
Best Things to Do on a Sonoma Weekend Trip
Looking for some ideas of things to do in Sonoma in 3 days? Check out these activities.
Visit the Sonoma Coast
One of the most surprising parts about visiting Sonoma County was that the Pacific Ocean borders it on the west. While I love nothing more than driving to Big Sur, Sonoma quickly got added to my list once I saw these views.
I recommend spending at least half a day driving down the Sonoma Coast to explore the small towns on the way. There are also some great places to take pictures along with beaches to stop at.
Go Shopping at Local Stores
If you love shopping, check out the stores at Sonoma Plaza. They have a variety of clothing stores, specialty food stores, and children’s shops. When you get hungry, you have a variety of cafes and restaurants to choose from. There are also plenty of Sonoma County wineries to check out if you want to do some wine tasting.
Take a Sonoma Wine Tour
It wouldn’t be a Sonoma weekend trip without going wine tasting. There are dozens of different wineries to go to, but it makes the journey more comfortable and safer when you have someone driving you around. Here are a few Sonoma wine tours to check out:
- Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley: One of the cutest ways to get around on a Sonoma wine tour is by trolley, which takes you around to four family-owned wineries in Sonoma.
- Sonoma County Wine Segway Tour: This Sonoma wine tour is great if you want a little exercise in between your wine tasting, as you get to ride a Segway around.
- Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour: If you don’t like going in big groups to popular wineries, this tour is for you, as you’ll go in a smaller group to visit three wineries, plus get a free lunch.
Relax at the Spa
Sonoma County has over 40 different spas to visit, so it’s a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon as part of your 3 day Sonoma itinerary. You can get a massage, take a dip in the pool, and have a glass of wine to top off the afternoon. It’s not a bad way to end a day!
Hike in the Redwoods
I had no idea that you could see part of the Redwoods in Sonoma, so I was thrilled to explore Armstrong Redwoods State Park. This area is a beautiful redwood forest with giant trees that make it perfect for spending a day hiking in.
You can park at the entrance for free and walk in the park. There are a variety of trails to go on, including the 1.5-mile Pioneer Nature Trail. You can just a short trail or loop a few together to get a good workout in.
Want to extend your trip? You’ll love going on a drive from San Francisco to Portland!
Go on an Adventure Tour
One of my favorite ways to explore a new place is to get outdoors and go on an adventure. Sometimes this is best done by going on a guided tour. Getaway Adventures offers a variety of different tours, whether you want to go on a Sonoma wine tour and bike ride or go hiking in the Armstrong Redwoods.
You can even go kayaking on the Sonoma Coast if you want to get wet. While one of my favorite places to go kayaking in California is around Monterey, I loved how beautiful this area was as well.
3-Day Sonoma Itinerary
Here’s a sample itinerary of how to spend the weekend in Sonoma.
Day 1: Explore Guerneville
When you’re done checking into your hotel, head to Guerneville to explore the area for the day. You can stop at The Farmhand to grab a deli sandwich for lunch and buy a few local specialties like jams or hot sauce while you’re there.
Once you have breakfast, head out to the Armstrong Redwoods. I would recommend spending a few hours here walking around the different trails. If a volunteer staff member is working, take some time to talk to them to learn more about the history of the Redwoods.
After your hike, it’s time for wine tasting. There are a variety of Guerneville wineries to choose from, but I recommend stopping at Inizi Wines to try some of the local wines. This winery is a cute place to relax for a little bit.
When you’re ready for dinner on your Sonoma weekend trip, head around the corner to boon eat + drink for a delicious meal. This farm-to-table restaurant has a variety of local produce on its menu along with fish, meat, and vegetarian options.
I started with a vegetable soup and got the fish special as my entree, and may have even saved room for the boon brownie for dessert.
Day 2: Head to the Sonoma Coast
On your second day for your weekend in Sonoma, start your morning off with breakfast at The Pharmacy. A common theme with restaurants in Sonoma seems to be local, organic ingredients on menus, and this cafe is no exception.
They have a variety of pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and organic espresso drinks to choose from during your Sonoma weekend getaway. I recommend sitting outside if it’s a nice day out.
After you’ve fueled up, it’s time to go kayaking on the Sonoma Coast. While I loved kayaking when visiting Monterey, this was even more scenic. This is one of the more unexpected things to do in Sonoma, as people may not be aware they can do during their 3 days in Sonoma.
The morning is a great time to go before the afternoon winds start to kick up the water. You can head out to the city of Jenner and rent a kayak or go with a tour guide.
This area is where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean, so beginners can stay here to kayak, while advanced kayakers can go out to the ocean. If you love activity, I recommend adding this to your 3 day Sonoma itinerary.
When you start getting hungry, head over to Cafe Aquatica for lunch. This restaurant is a quick place to eat lunch with options like clam chowder and sandwiches. Next, it’s time to spend the afternoon in Sonoma wine tasting.
You can choose to join a Sonoma wine tour or go at your own pace to different wineries. There are over 425 different wineries in Sonoma County to choose from, so you can check out this winery list by region to see which ones you want to visit. Once you’ve had your fill of wine (if that’s even possible), you can venture over to Bird & The Bottle for dinner.
This modern restaurant has a mix of flavors from Asia, the south, and even Jewish comfort foods. I recommend trying the crispy skin salmon wings and the heirloom tomato and watermelon salad. You can always end the night with one more glass of wine while you’re there.
Day 3: Relax at the Spa
The best way to end your weekend in Sonoma is to have a relaxing morning. Make an appointment ahead of time to spend the morning at OSMOSIS Day Spa Sanctuary. You have a variety of spa services to choose from such as a massage or facial. Other options include spending time in the tea garden or taking a cedar bath.
For lunch, you can drive a few minutes over to K&L Bistro to try French cuisine. For those who are flying out of San Francisco and want to do one last Sonoma wine tasting, stop by Kastania Vineyards on your way down.
This winery is a beautiful place to taste local wine while looking over the vineyards. You could also visit downtown Petaluma to go wine tasting in one of their shops.
If you’re flying out of the Sonoma County Airport, there are a handful of wineries just a few minutes away. These include Arista Winery and Moshin Vineyards.
Tip – If you get persuaded to buy several bottles of wine during your weekend in Sonoma, you should know that you can ship your wine back for free if you’re flying with Alaska Airlines! You can find out all the details on their website, but it’s a great deal that I keep forgetting to take advantage of.
A Sonoma weekend getaway is perfect whether you’re with friends, your spouse or even your family. You can decide to make your 3 days in Sonoma as relaxing or as adventurous as possible, so enjoy it!