The beauty of Sonoma County serves as the inspiration for artists and naturalists, it drives farmers to want to work in its soil, pilots to take flight above it and people from all walks of life to share in its experiences. Here’s just a small taste of the things we’d consider an absolute bucket list for outdoor experiences in Sonoma County.
Up & Away Hot Air Ballooning
Sonoma County Airport, 2200 Airport Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95492
5 stars, 724 reviews
Hot air adventure: The skies over Sonoma County are often dotted with colorful balloons, a beautiful sight from the ground, and it only gets better from the air! Take in the vistas from the coast to the Mayacama Mountains with Healdsburg-based Up & Away Hot Air Ballooning
. Truly a spontaneous journey, take off from one place and land somewhere completely unknown! The talented professional pilots and ground crews will work tirelessly to provide you with a lifelong memorable experience.
Be ready to start the day early; weather calls are made before the sun is even thinking about coming up and the morning rendez-vous is only shortly after that. After a thrilling ride, however, you can enjoy a hearty breakfast with the crew.
Wine Country Bikes
61 Front Street
Healdsburg, California 95448
5 Stars, 221 Reviews
Tour de Russian River: A bracing bike ride through the vineyards is an experience that is difficult to match. Pack a lunch and wind your way through the Russian River Valley with Wine Country Bikes
. They’ll provide the equipment and the local knowledge to make a scenic ride while taking in wineries and can’t miss overlooks along the way.
Try the 23-mile Russian River Valley Loop circuit from Wine Country Bikes, taking you south, west and then north back to Dry Creek Valley.
Bodega Head Trail and Beach
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Trip Advisor: 4.5 Stars, 354 Reviews
Take to the seas: Those who know fishing off the Sonoma Coast, know that the seasons dictate the activity. Right now, Sonoma coast anglers are in the middle of an epic crab season. But equally phenomenal off Bodega Bay is the whale watching during the winter months. Throw on some warm layers, grab a zoom lens or pair of binoculars and cruise out to Bodega Head to catch a peek of the majestic grey whale migration moving south along the coast.
On weekends from January through Mother’s Day, volunteers from the Whale Watch Public Education Program are at Bodega Head to answer questions and share their knowledge of whales and migration.
Helico Sonoma Tours
5990 Flightline Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
5 Stars, 14 Reviews
Sonoma on the Wing: Not in the mood to let the air currents carry you over beautiful landscapes? Take flight with a helicopter tour from Sonoma County Regional Airport. Helico Sonoma
offers a wide range of helicopter tour packages ranging from 20 minutes up to an hour long, and either on one of their predetermined routes, such as Russian River and Pacific Coast, or make up your own route with one of their custom tours.
Helico Sonoma tours are private – you won’t be sharing your trip with anyone outside your party … except the pilot!
Armstrong State Natural Reserve
17000 Armstrong Woods Road
Guerneville, CA 95446
5 Stars, 983 Reviews
For When You Want to Feel Small: There’s a reason Sonoma County locals still refer to the area as The Redwood Empire. These ancient, giant trees are a common sight all over the county, but for a real immersion experience, you have to go to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Bring a sweater because it gets chilly in the gloom of the temperate rainforest, but the green cathedral canopy is shot through with sunlight and you’ll find yourself walking on the wide paths with your neck craned towards the leafy ceiling hundreds of feet above.
Be sure to visit the Colonel Armstrong tree, one of the oldest in the grove, and estimated to be more than 1,400 years old.
Kunde Family Winery
9825 Sonoma Hwy.
Kenwood, CA. 95452
4.5 Stars, 571 Reviews
Wine Country Hiking: Want to get out in the sunshine, stretch your legs and sample the bounty of the vineyards? Then you don’t want to miss out on one of the Kunde Estate hikes
. Hikers can trek through the 1,850 acre estate, sampling wines along the way, and with an experienced guide whose environmental knowledge could fill volumes.
Kunde hikes aren’t casual wine tasting jaunts, these are four-hour hikes ranging up 1,400 feet into the Mayacamas range above Sonoma Valley.
Sonoma Canopy Tours
6250 Bohemian Highway
Occidental, CA 95465
5 Stars, 477 Reviews
Ziplining the Redwoods: Not content to witness these coniferous giants from the ground? Well strap on your harness to fly among the boles of Sonoma’s redwood forests through the air with Sonoma Canopy Tours
. This outfit is environmentally conscious and your experience is tailored to learn more about the incredible trees that you’ll be soaring through at up to 25 miles per hour.
Go for one of Sonoma Canopy Tours’ deluxe add-ons to your experience, a helmet-mounted camera to record your screams yells of excitement!
The Wine Carriage
8644 Highway 128
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Trip Advisor: 5 Stars, 84 Reviews
During the warmer months, there can be nothing more romantic than a horse carriage ride through the vineyards, visiting wineries along the way and sipping from a (spill-proof) glass of wine yourself. Lucky for Sonoma County, there’s the Wine Carriage, taking guests through blocks of sauvignon blanc, cabernet and more in the beautiful Alexander Valley. With a wine cave tour, picnic lunch and a relaxed pace, a horse drawn carriage ride is the makings of an extremely memorable day in Wine Country.
Book online at and get ready to spend four memorable hours with knowledgable carriage operators and two beautiful, friendly horses.