Whether looking to visit next weekend, next month, or later this year, Sonoma County is one of the most destination-worthy locales in Northern California, and for good reason.
Located just 45 miles north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, this expansive California Wine Country truly has something for everyone: rugged natural landscapes, farm-to-table fare, intimate lodging, endless outdoor activities, and, of course, a plethora of family-owned wineries pouring everything from pinot noir to zinfandel, chardonnay to cabernet. And, thanks to its temperate weather year-round, you really can’t go wrong with a vacation in Sonoma County any time of year.
Our seasonal guide to visiting Sonoma County will help you discover what makes this Wine Country region so wonderful, regardless of the time of year you choose to visit.
Spring brings new life to the Sonoma Valley, thanks to seasonal rains that grace the region with vivid, green life. In the vineyards you’ll notice buds breaking this time of year, signaling the start of the growing season, as well as wildflowers like mustard blanketing the hills with a stunning display of color. While daytime temperatures vary depending how close to the coast you are, Sonoma County generally sees daily highs in the 60s, sometimes 70s, with partly cloudy days that give way to sunshine. Though rain can still be in the weather forecast, generally spring means patio weather in Sonoma County. Just note that evening temperatures, especially along the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley, can still be quite cold (think low 40s to 50s), so layers are a necessity during a spring trip.
Explore Sonoma’s wild mustard fields
Zip-line through redwood forests with Sonoma Canopy Tours
Experience the region on two wheels courtesy of Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
Catch a new film during the Sonoma International Film Festival (which will be virtual this year)
Enjoy a private horseback ride and picnic through the hills of Sonoma
What can you expect with summer’s weather forecast? From sunrise to sunset, the forecast looks good: think clear skies, plenty of sunshine, and dry, warm temperatures. You may see the occasional marine layer of fog in the regions closer to the Pacific, but it usually burns off by late morning to reveal blue skies and warm weather. Daytime temperatures range between 60s along the coast to the 70s and high 80s further inland, while evening temperatures throughout Sonoma Wine Country usually stay in the mid-to-high 50s at night. One thing’s for sure: you’ll want to take advantage of those laid-back sunny days of summer by finding every excuse to get outdoors, whether visiting tasting rooms, dining at restaurants, exploring the coast, or hitting the hotel pool.
Savor an al fresco culinary experience at Jordan Winery
Explore the region’s summer bounty at one of the local farmers’ markets
Sip chardonnay after a game of croquet at Sonoma-Cutrer
Chow down on fresh seafood after a day of kayaking in Bodega Bay
Indulge in cheese, oysters, and sparkling mead with a Point Reyes Culinary Tour
No season draws more attention to Wine Country than fall, when harvest is in full swing. Visiting during the harvest season means you’ll not only get to enjoy the changing colors of the vineyards, but you’ll also likely get to witness the grapes being picked and brought into the winery for production (and you may even get to stomp a few grapes yourself!). While many parts of the U.S. are cooling off dramatically this time of year, Sonoma enjoys more temperate climatic conditions. Expect 60s throughout the coastal regions during the day, and temps in the high 70s and 80s inland near Healdsburg and the city of Sonoma. Though still warm, layers become more of a necessity during autumn, as nighttime temperatures can drop to the low 50s.
Visit Benziger Family Winery for a vineyard tour of the Biodynamically-farmed estate
Hike and wine taste through Sonoma Valley with a multi-day trek via Wine Country Trekking
Channel Julia Child with a hands-on cooking class at Ramekins Culinary School
Picnic in an oak grove with views of the “castle” at Ledson Winery
Discover the many artisan creameries of Sonoma with a self-guided cheese tour
Thanks to its moderate Mediterranean climate, you won’t find snow or severe weather conditions during winter in Sonoma County. You’ll still need to pack a jacket and perhaps an umbrella, but most of the time winter in Sonoma is pretty mild, revealing daytime temperatures in the mid-to-high 50s and evening temps ranging in the mid-30s to low-40s. Often considered the low season, winter is a great time to visit Sonoma, as you can usually find less crowds, a slower pace, and seasonal specials on lodging, dining, and wine tastings. Of course, there’s nothing “slow” about the holiday season in Wine Country, when the area comes alive with plenty of reasons to eat, drink, and be merry.
Witness the over 100,000 holiday lights adorning the Sonoma Plaza each holiday season
Experience a vodka and chocolate truffle pairing at Hanson of Sonoma
Get your holiday shopping on at the Healdsburg Plaza (with stops for wine in between stores)
Indulge in a little (or a lot) of R&R at The Spa at Kenwood Inn & Spa
Enjoy breakfast delivered to your room at Gaige House + Ryokan