Outdoor Activities in Sonoma County: More than Wine

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While Sonoma County is most famous for its wineries, it’s also a good place to take in the great outdoors of Northern California. Sonoma County’s mild climate and breathtaking landscape make it an ideal location for experiencing the outdoors. Redwood forest hikes, coastal kayaking, picturesque bike rides, and educational vineyard walks await Sonoma County visitors.

Want to do it all? In Sonoma, you can enjoy hiking, paddling, even an African safari — and of course, wine. These outdoor activities highlight the best of what Sonoma County has to offer.

Explore the Sonoma Coast

Water Treks Eco Tours
Image Source: Water Treks Eco Tours Yelp

Water Treks Eco Tours
10438 Hwy One
Jenner, CA 95450
(707) 865-2249
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 13 reviews

Get a unique perspective on the Sonoma Coast with Water Treks Eco Tours. Athletic enthusiasts can enjoy an adventurous kayaking and hiking blended experience, while families, youth groups, and elderly visitors can learn about the Sonoma Coast on one of Water Treks’ living classrooms tours, enjoying whale watching, or views of otters and harbor seals. Or, enjoy a romantic outing on a kayak trip at sunset or under the full moon. In the right season, you can even take a tour to view bioluminescent plankton as they light up the night on the water.

Insider tip: Plan your trip for early in the day to avoid heavy winds.

Russian River’s Most Active Beach

Johnson's Beach
Image Source: Johnson’s Beach Yelp

Johnson’s Beach
16241 First St
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-2022
Yelp: 4 stars, 91 reviews

Johnson’s Beach is a must visit destination for Sonoma visitors with kids in tow. This beach is ideal for families: there’s a natural kiddie pool available for young swimmers and a snack bar to keep every belly in the family happy. Adults can take in an afternoon of lounging on the beach with a cold drink, or grab an inner tube and relax on the river. And although this popular beach can get busy, the setting is serene with clear, clean water and beautiful scenery including redwoods and gorgeous sunsets. Never want to leave? You can at least stay the night, with accommodations available in the lodge, cabins, or urban campground.

Insider tip: There’s a grocery store just down the road, so stock up on essentials before you arrive.

Sonoma County’s Greatest Views

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
Image Source: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park Yelp

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
2605 Adobe Canyon Rd.
Kenwood, CA 95452
(707) 833-5712
Yelp: 4 stars, 66 reviews

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is great for hiking, camping, and enjoying nature. The park offers hikes for every type of visitor, with short, easy hikes for families, accessible hikes, extended hikes for advanced hikers, and even a 25 foot seasonal waterfall. At the top of the Bald Mountain trail, you can see San Francisco Bay and views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Visit the observatory for a view of the night sky through powerful telescopes: on a clear night, you can see the moon, planets, and thousands of stars. Or, stay at the campground for simple stargazing.

Insider tip: Check the park calendar for upcoming events, such as “Funky Fridays,” a summer concert series with picnics in the park amphitheater and Sugarloaf Ridge Mountain as a stunning backdrop.

An African Safari in Wine Country

Safari West
Image Source: Safari West

Safari West
3115 Porter Creek Rd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 579-2551
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 394 reviews

Safari West offers an amazing African wildlife tour for families with preschoolers or older children, couples, or anyone with a sense of adventure. On each tour, you’ll see herds of more than 900 animals including giraffes, zebras, rhinoceros, and impalas. The tour Jeeps are a particular favorite of visitors, who enjoy sitting up top to get a new perspective on the safari — or even an eye to eye view with giraffes.

But perhaps more exciting than the tour experience are the available luxury tents at Safari West, which are not to be missed. This is the most unique glamping experience you may ever have: you can enjoy a glass of wine on your private deck, then be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the natural African habitat, all while enjoying the comfort of modern luxuries including plush beds and hot showers.

Insider tip: Reserve a feeding or photo session with the cheetah to make sure you’ll be able to spot them.

Walk Along a Vineyard Estate in Paradise

Paradise Ridge
Image Source: Paradise Ridge Yelp

Paradise Ridge Vineyard Walk
4545 Thomas Lake Harris Dr.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(707) 528-9463
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 116 reviews

Paradise Ridge Vineyard’s walk offers visitors a stroll in Sonoma paradise. You’ll be able to learn more about wine and growing grapes in this picturesque setting as you walk along the vineyard. The walk is both fun and educational, giving you a chance to see a number of grape varietals including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel while learning how the vineyard is maintained. There’s also a spectacular view of Santa Rosa from the vineyard.

Insider tip: Take photos in the estate’s sculpture garden, where there’s a LOVE sign that’s perfect for portraits.

See Sonoma Atop a Bicycle

Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
Image Source: Sonoma Valley Bike Tours Yelp

Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
1254 Broadway
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 996-2453
Yelp: 5 stars, 27 reviews

Tour the Sonoma Valley in a new way on this delightful bike tour. You’ll enjoy a leisurely, easy ride along Sonoma Valley’s best wineries, shops, and museums, as well as a picnic lunch. Under the guidance of seasoned Sonoma bikers, you’ll see some of the best bike paths in the area. And like any good tour in Sonoma, wine tasting is encouraged.

Insider tip: Don’t hesitate to buy wine: you won’t have to carry it on your bike. The team at Sonoma Valley Bikes is happy to securely carry and ship your wine for you.

Paddle the Petaluma River

Petaluma Stand Up Paddle
Image Source: Petaluma Stand Up Paddle Facebook

Petaluma Stand Up Paddle
775 Baywood Dr. Ste 105
Petaluma, CA 94954
(707) 765-1131
Yelp: 5 stars, 11 reviews

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned stand up paddler, you’ll have a great time with Petaluma Stand Up Paddle. Paddling on the Petaluma River, you’ll find that the water is calmer than paddling the coast, and it’s a great environment for beginner and intermediate paddlers. There’s lots to take in on the Petaluma River as well, including the D Street bridge, turning basin, and a view of downtown from water level. On Wednesdays during the summer, visit for free stand up paddling events.

Insider tip: Take a break from paddling and enjoy a beer at Dempsey’s. We recommend the citrusy Sonoma Mountain Wheat Beer, or the local favorite: the Petaluma Strong Ale.

Take on the Bay With an Expert

North Bay Charters
Image Source: North Bay Charters Facebook

North Bay Charters
North Bay
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 337-0608
Yelp: 5 stars, 2 reviews

Let Captain Eric be your guide to the North Bay for an incredible day of fishing. An experienced fisherman with an incredible knowledge of the bay, guests say he offers excellent advice and instructions, helping them to catch their limit of crabs and fish. You’ll learn about fishing, crabbing, and the wildlife of the North Bay as he shares all of the best spots. He’ll also take care of all of the details, offering fishing gear, filleting, and packaging of your catch.

Insider tip: Ask Captain Eric to take you on a whale watching tour when the gray whale migration is at its peak January through May.

Tour Wine Country in Style

The Wine Carriage
Image Source: The Wine Carriage

The Wine Carriage
8644 Hwy 128
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 849-8989
Yelp: 5 stars, 15 reviews

One of the most interesting ways to tour wine country for couples and groups, The Wine Carriage offers a five mile route with wine tastings on a draft horse drawn carriage. You’ll visit three boutique wineries and a picnic lunch on your horse drawn adventure through wine country. Enjoy the slow, easy pace of the carriage tour as you take private lanes through the vineyards, enjoying in the scenery and ambiance with a great view from the carriage.

Insider tip: Ask your coachman if you can feed the horses. They’ll appreciate it!

Sonoma County’s unique outdoor experiences are a delightful compliment to the region’s excellent wineries, dining, and culture. Get the full view of Sonoma by enjoying the county’s great outdoors!