If you’re like us, you love looking for every opportunity to visit Northern California’s Wine Country. But did you know how convenient it can be to visit? Many people don’t realize that Sonoma County has its own airport, Charles M. Schulz Airport (STS), located right in the heart of Wine Country in Santa Rosa.
While we admit that Sonoma and Napa are easy to get to from International airports like San Francisco and Oakland, you can’t beat flying directly into the Sonoma County Airport, where you’ll arrive just minutes from popular wineries, top notch dining, and must-visit attractions. It’s now easier than ever to get to Wine Country with five major airlines fly directly into STS. Before you go ahead and book that flight, be sure to read our helpful information for making the best of your trip into Charles M. Schulz Airport.
The Charles M. Schulz Airport has a long history in Sonoma County. The land was first purchased in 1941, where the runway was then constructed. The following year, the U.S. Army took it over and expanded the land and facilities, adding another runway, taxiways, and buildings. While the airport has had facility upgrades and expansions over the years, two of the hangars constructed by the Army remain in use today. Throughout its history, STS has been a general aviation facility serving private planes and business jets, as well as a commercial airline facility.
In March of 2000, Sonoma County Airport was renamed the Charles M. Schulz Airport in honor of the Sonoma County resident and famous “Peanuts” comic strip cartoonist. The Schulz family have made many generous contributions to Sonoma over the years, including the Snoopy Home Ice Arena and Charles M. Schulz Museum.
STS is now serving five major airline carriers, along with daily non-stops to/from the following cities:Alaska Airlines: Seattle (SEA), Portland (PDX), Los Angeles (LAX), Orange County (SNA), and San Diego (SAN)
STS is not only the closest airport for traveling to/from Sonoma County and to nearby Napa Valley, but it’s also an all-around easy airport to navigate. Expect affordable parking options, a quick walk to the terminal, and shorter lines than most Bay Area airports. Overall, Santa Rosa’s STS is convenient and makes flying in and out of Wine Country as hassle-free as possible.
It’s hard to visit Wine Country without sampling a few of the area’s award-winning wines, but sometimes purchasing bottles to take home comes with shipping fees that can quickly add up. With Alaska Airlines’ “Wine Flies Free” program, up to a case of wine is included as part of your luggage allowance from STS, as long as it’s packed in a protective shipping container. It’s hard to beat an incentive like this.
STS offers both short- and long-term parking conveniently located close to the terminal, but if you need to pick up a hotel shuttle, rental car, or taxi, access to all ground transportation is easily found right outside of the terminals. There are over a dozen taxi cab services available from the airport, several bus and transit services, a number of hotel shuttles, and the ride share service, Lyft, which you can easily access via their app on your phone when you land.
For up to the minute traffic information, call 511 or visit 511.org. It’s free and available 24/7.
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Located within 20 minutes of Charles M. Schulz Airport, a stay at any of these Sonoma hotels and inns will make any visit to Wine Country comforting and enjoyable, regardless of your budget.
One of the best things about flying into the Charles M. Schulz Airport is its proximity to Sonoma County’s food and wine scene in towns like Sonoma, Petaluma, and Healdsburg, but you’re also just a short drive from all that Napa has to offer. Within minutes from the airport, you’ll find family-owned wineries with welcoming tasting rooms, notable wines made from chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet, and zinfandel, and plenty of delicious farm-to-table restaurants and unique eateries to fuel up between tastings.
Whether you’re looking to get cultured at a museum, zip-line through a forest, or mingle with local farmers, there’s a wide variety of activities close enough to experience shortly after you land.
Regardless if you plan to explore Sonoma or head to Napa, these local wine tours will immerse you into the area’s wine scene and help you discover the area’s best wines — by luxury limo, trolley, bike, or foot. Some will even arrange to pick you up directly from STS.
If you don’t live within driving distance of Sonoma County, we think flying into Charles M. Schulz Airport is the next best thing when visiting Northern California’s Wine Country. With less crowds, affordable parking, and easy transportation options, not to mention its convenient location in the heart of Wine Country, STS is our first choice when visiting Sonoma and nearby Napa Valley.
Cover image courtesy of Facebook: Charles M Schulz-Sonoma County Airport-STS