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.
Explore the Sonoma Coast
Image Source: Water Treks Eco Tours Yelp
Water Treks Eco Tours
10438 Hwy One
Jenner, CA 95450
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.
Thinking about making a vacation out of it? Explore our Sonoma County lodging deals!
Russian River’s Most Active Beach
Image Source: Johnson’s Beach Yelp
16241 First St
Guerneville, CA 95446
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.
There’s a grocery store just down the road, so stock up on essentials before you arrive.
Sonoma County’s Greatest Views
Image Source: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park Yelp
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
2605 Adobe Canyon Rd.
Kenwood, CA 95452
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.
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
Image Source: Safari West
3115 Porter Creek Rd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
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.
With Safari West’s WineCountry Experience enjoy the Sonoma Serengeti to the fullest! Spend the day on a private safari, a traditional African high tea and an overnight stay in the park. Book this experience for a truly unforgettable wine country memory!
Walk Along a Vineyard Estate in Paradise
Image Source: Paradise Ridge Yelp
Paradise Ridge Vineyard Walk
4545 Thomas Lake Harris Dr.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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.
Take photos in the estate’s sculpture garden, where there’s a LOVE sign that’s perfect for portraits.
See Sonoma Atop a Bicycle
Image Source: Sonoma Valley Bike Tours Yelp
Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
Sonoma, CA 95476
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.
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
Image Source: Petaluma Stand Up Paddle Facebook
Petaluma Stand Up Paddle
775 Baywood Dr. Ste 105
Petaluma, CA 94954
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.
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
Image Source: North Bay Charters Facebook
North Bay Charters
Sonoma, CA 95476
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.
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
Image Source: The Wine Carriage
The Wine Carriage
8644 Hwy 128
Healdsburg, CA 95448
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.
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!