Last year I wrote a wonderful list of 40 Ways to Enjoy Sonoma County this Summer. This year, I decided to add a bit more. This list is going to focus on Wineries, Events Around Town, And FUN Things You May Just Not Know Around the County:
1) Hike Throughout Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
2) Spend a night at a Safari Park
In the midst of Wine Country, who knew there was a Safari Park, but guess what, there is? Safari West is its name. During the day partake in your very own Safari, and at night, go Glamping within a few feet of these Wild Animals. An experience worth remembering.
3) Spend a Day on the Coast
For the locals, there is nothing better than spending a day at the Coast. A huge tradition for many families within the region. Our little piece of heaven is just a few miles away. And once there, the views are worth it.
As you drive along the coast stopping at various beaches, stop in for some homemade Salt Water Taffy, Eat a Great Restaurant, or Fly a Kite.
4) Partake in a Food Tour around Healdsburg Plaza
There’s some great restaurants and eats around Healdsburg. This foodie tour helps introduce you to some local’s favorites: Savor Healdsburg Food Tours.
5) Spend a Day Exploring Local Craft Breweries
The Craft Brew industry has grown significantly in the past few years, but Sonoma County is HOME to some great companies: Lagunitas Brewing Company, Russian River Brewing, and Bear Republic to name just a few.
Take a Beer Tour around Sonoma County or organize your own tour.
6) Explore a local Hard Cider Tasting Room
With Sebastopol having a long history with Gravenstein Apples and Apple Farms, it’s no wonder that Hard Cider has begun to take off in the area including the opening of the first local hard cider tasting room: Tilted Shed Ciderworks.
7) Partake in Russian River Passport Weekend: June 27-28,2015.
The Russian River Winegrowers has some great wineries from Cartograph Wines, B.R Cohn, Davis Bynum, Davis Family Vineyards, DeLoach Vineyards and many many others. Spend a weekend touring these wineries through a fun weekend of fun. The best part is discovery a new favorite winery.
8) Take in a Film at Historic Sebastiani Theater in the Sonoma Square.
9) Go Antique Shopping along the Main Streets of Downtown Petaluma
10) Spend an Afternoon Exploring The Barlow in Sebastopol
Inside MacPhail Tasting Lounge at The Barlow
The Barlow is a fun community space in Sebastopol that brings in some of the local tastemakers of the area. Have a cup of Organic Joe, Partake in a Distillery Tasting at Spirit Works Distillery, Explore a few Wine Tasting Rooms, or Grab a Farm to Table amazing meal at Zazu Kitchen & Farm.
11) See an Outdoor Movie at St. Francis Winery this July!
Every July, beginning July 9. Every Thursday, a new film is shown outside on the lawn at St. Francis beginning at 7pm. Their “Stars Under the Stars” films include: Sleepless in Seattle, Casablanca and Back to the Future.
12) Go Ziplining Through the Beautiful Redwoods
This is something on my list this year. I first heard about this last year, and yes, it happens. Right in Occidental through Sonoma Canopy Tours.
13) Spend an afternoon at Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Whether your winetasting, playing a game of bocce ball, or hanging out by the pool. This winery is worth visiting during the summer. Cabanas fill up fast: Reserve now.
14) Go Tubing Down the Russian River or Swim in it Coastline
One of my favorite parts about last summer was the time we stopped off at the Russian River, and did a little swimming. We found a secluded spot and just hopped in, clothes on. On a hot summer day, it was perfect.
15) Or go Kayaking Down the River
16) Take in a show of Broadway Under the Stars
A summer favorite for MANY MANY locals of the area. Broadway under the stars is just that. Broadway performances out in historic Jack London State Park. Completely worth it. This year’s theme is “Best Night Ever.”
17) Explore the Culinary Scene
There are so many great restaurants throughout Sonoma County. Spend the summer exploring the beautiful culinary scene of the area: From The Girl and the Fig to Zazu Kitchen & Farm to the Farmhouse Inn, and so many more throughout the area.
18) Attend Sonoma County’s Balloon Classic
The weekend of June 20 and 21st, Sonoma County will come alive with Hot Air Balloons for their annual Balloon Classic. And this year they’re pulling out all the stops as they celebrate their 25th year.
19) Take a Cooking Class through Relish Culinary Adventures
If cooking is your style, taking a hands on cooking class is always so much FUN. Summer is the perfect time to make this happen. Relish Culinary will make cooking fun all over again.
20) Or Take a Cooking Class at Ramekins
From Cooking Classes to fun events throughout the summer, Ramekins has truly made a name for itself across Sonoma County. Not to mention, their extraordinary 4th of July BBQ. And they’re close enough to the amazing Sonoma Fireworks afterwards.
21) See the Sonoma Fireworks!
One of the BEST 4th of July celebrations happens right on the Sonoma Square every year starting with their annual 4th of July parade following a day of events in the Square to amazing dinners around town (Reservations need to be made in advance!) to the BEST fireworks in the county. Sonoma Square is the place to be for 4th of July.
22) Follow the Sonoma County Cheese Trail
Besides amazing wine, amazing food, there are also some pretty incredible cheesemakers with the County. And yes, Sonoma County has their very own Cheese Trail to tour and discover.
Some of my personal favorites include: Cowgirl Creamery, Vella Cheese Company, and Bellwether Farms.
23) Love Country? Don’t Miss Country Summer!
The annual Country Summer Festival kicks off Summer in Sonoma County (June 5-7). And, for those Country lovers, the best place to be. This year will bring in: Jake Owen, Gary Allen, Chris Young, Parmalee, Jared Porter, Trace Adkins and many more.
24) Take in a Show at the Wells Fargo Events Center
This beautiful Wells Fargo EVENT center is the place to go for live entertainment. Shows coming to town this summer include: Broadway Under the Stars, Ben Folds, WhiteSnake, Harry Connick Jr, West Side Story and more.
25) Hit the Raceway at the Sonoma 350.
The annual Sonoma 350 takes place on June 25 this year, and many Race fans will be headed there. A very BUSY weekend for those that love Nascar.
26) Explore a Farmer’s Market
A locals favorite is the Sonoma Square’s Tuesday Evenings Farmer’s Market. Santa Rosa also has beloved Farmer’s Markets to experience on Saturday mornings. And many other towns throughout the county have theirs. Get out and help local farmers.
27) Go on a Scenic Drive
There is so much beauty in this county that we often forget to stop and just enjoy it. Going on a drive and stopping to take in those scenic views is well recommended for this summer.
28) Reserve Your Food and Wine Pairing at St. Francis Winery
Rated as one of the BEST Food and Wine Pairing Experiences within the County, taking the time to partake is WELL Worth it. This is definitely on my list this summer!
29) Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Think of those Vineyards. Think of those Hills and Valleys. Think of the Ocean. And all of this before the early hours of the morning. What’s not to love? If it’s always been your dream why not make it happen this summer!
30) Head to Occidental and Experience the Depot Hotel.
This historic hotel is a fun one to experience. Live music is performed in front of you as you enjoy your meal amongst family. A historic gem in this small, beautiful town of Occidental. Afterwards, go on a walk around the area.
31) Take a Bike Ride Through Sonoma County
32) Go Wine Tasting in your Very own Wine Carriage
Yes. That’s right. You’re very own Horse Drawn Carriage. What an experience through beautiful Wine Country.
33) Have Kids? Stop into Train Town
We can’t forget the littles on this journey of Sonoma County. Right in the town Sonoma lies Train Town. This train ride lasts about 20 minutes. Besides this historic train they also have 6 amusement rides. A fun place for littles.
34) Another great place? The Charles M. Schulz Museum
As a Minnesota Girl, this museum meant the world to me. Charles M. Schulz was huge in Minnesota, but I never knew he spent the majority of his life right in Santa Rosa. Learn the history of Charles M. Schulz while exploring some of the most favorite Peanuts Characters of our time.
35) Make it a Spa Day!
Oh my, just thinking about some of the beautiful spa offerings around town: From the beautiful Kenwood inn to the Osmosis Spa. These GEMS are worth spending an entire day at.
36) Spend an Afternoon around Healdsburg Plaza
From fun tasting rooms, to great boutique shops, to great places to dine out, spending a day around the plaza is completely worth it. The hard part is always choosing where to eat.
37) And Don’t Forget about the Sonoma Square
These Squares and Plazas are what make Sonoma County so unique. And fun places to shop, eat and taste wine. The perfect Girls Weekend!
38) Explore the Historic Adobe in Petaluma
39) Explore a Local Farm
Yes, even some farms will open their doors on specific days to the public. Get out, and see this side of Sonoma.
40) Spend a Day Around Lake Sonoma
Did you even know Sonoma County had their very own Lake and Recreational area? I still have YET to explore this area, but can’t wait. Considering this is the girl from the land of 10,000 Lakes.
41) Go Hiking along Jack London State Historic Park
42) Go Ice Skating this Summer!
Right next to the Charles M. Schulz Museum is the Snoopy Home Ice Rink. Spend an afternoon ice skating.
43) Head to Tomales Bay and experience Hog Island Oysters
44) Afterwards, spend some time in Point Reyes Station
45) Experience Live Music at a Vineyard
Between B.R Cohn’s Summer Music Series to Rodney Strong’s Summer Music Series. It’s worth the time to spend an afternoon there.
46) Head to Petaluma’s Annual Music Festival
August 3, mark the dates as Petaluma rocks out at their annual Music Festival.
47) Spend a Day at a County Fair
From the Petaluma/Marin County Fair (June 24-28) to Sonoma County’s Fair (July 24-August 9), they’re happening.
48) Did I mention Wine?
It is Wine Country. Even if you don’t like wine, visiting the wineries for just the views, or finding a neat little cafe is worth it. There’s always new gems to be explored.
49) Head to the Gravenstein Apple Fair
Its time to celebrate those delicious Gravenstein Apples that Sebastopol is known for with their annual fair. Taking place August 8 and 9, 2015.
50) End the Summer Celebrations by partaking in Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
The end of summer always ends with a bang during Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. September 4-6. This 3 Day events showcases the best of Sonoma County while raising funds for the future of the County.
IN a few short weeks, Summer has officially arrived. Who’s Ready to Get Out and Explore all that Sonoma County has to offer?