Travel to Sonoma County, California – Episode 875

categories: USA Travel

Travel to Sonoma County, California (Podcast)

Hear about travel to the wine region Sonoma County in California as the Amateur Traveler talks to Brooke Herron about this popular tourism region where she grew up.

Why should someone travel to Sonoma County?

Brooke says, “A myriad of reasons, in my opinion beyond wine. It is an absolutely stunning region from an outdoors perspective. You’ve got the coast, you’ve got hiking trails, mountains, hills and then you’ve got also lots of farms, distilleries, breweries, cideries. And what I loved the most about living there for 20 years and now coming back home to it on a regular basis is really first, the outdoors and the beauty, right? The access to the ocean and trees. And then next, of course, the fact that you can get amazing food, and craft drinks everywhere.”

Brooke lays out a 5-day itinerary:

Day One: The Sonoma Coast

The first day begins on the breathtaking Sonoma Coast. Drive along Highway 1, skip the touristy Bodega Bay, and head to Shell Beach near Jenner. Here, you can choose between a leisurely stroll on the Kortum Trail or a more challenging hike on the Pomo Canyon Red Hill Loop. Chris recommends history buffs take the drive up to Fort Ross which was the Russian presence on the California Coast.

After the hike, consider a stop in Jenner for a smoked salmon bagel or clam chowder with a view over the bay. For dinner, Santa Rosa offers the Bird and the Bottle, a favorite, or a more casual option at Russian River Brewery.

Day Two: Sebastopol and Russian River

On the second day, Brooke will explore the charming town of Sebastopol and the Russian River area. The Barlow, an open-air marketplace, is a must-visit. Enjoy craft cider, spirits, and unique food options. Highlights include Golden State Cider, Blue Ridge Kitchen, SpiritWorks Distillery, and the recently added Rewind Arcade for a playful touch.

If you’re not into alcohol, explore Goldridge Organic Farms for olive oil tastings and Bohemian Creamery for a delightful cheese experience. For wine enthusiasts, Horse and Plow, Dutton Estate Winery, and the unique Radio Coteau are recommended stops.

Day Three: Relaxing in Petaluma

On the third day, Brooke recommends a leisurely drive to Petaluma. Explore the historic downtown, and if in the mood for seafood, the Shuckery is a great choice. For a more casual experience, Brewster’s Beer Garden offers a relaxed atmosphere with great outdoor seating.

Accommodations in Santa Rosa can be found at Hotel E, a boutique luxury option in the heart of downtown. In Petaluma, Brooke suggests considering the charming Metro Hotel for a unique and affordable stay.

Day Four: Explore Healdsburg and Windsor

Brooke’s top winery picks in Healdsburg include Idlewild Wines for unique Italian varieties like Arnés, Fresa, Dulcetto, Grignolino, Barbera, and Cortese blends, with educational Sunday events. Orsi Vineyards, a hidden gem in Dry Creek Valley, offers distinctive varieties like Sagrantino and Biancolella. Unty Vineyards, known for sustainable practices, provides a casual Rhone and Italian variety tasting experience. Gary Farrell in Sonoma County is recommended for exceptional Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, especially from the Russian River Valley. Aperture Cellars, known for Bordeaux blends, stands out, with a focus on texture.

In Windsor, Artisan Alley hosts Two Shepherds Wine and Tilted Shed Cider. Two Shepherds offers organic and natural wines, including orange and skin-contact varieties. Grand Cru Custom Crush offers a diverse micro-winery tasting experience. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy Shiloh Regional Park’s hikes and mountaintop views, while Riverfront Regional Park offers a scenic water setting.

Brooke suggests exploring farmers’ markets in Windsor and Healdsburg for fresh produce and vibrant atmospheres. Dining recommendations in Healdsburg include Bravas Tapas Bar, Willie’s Seafood and Raw Bar, Valette Restaurant, and The Matheson. Lo and Behold is recommended for cocktails, and Black Oak Coffee and Flying Goat for coffee.

In Windsor, Artisan Alley’s Two Shepherds Wine and Tilted Shed Cider are must-visits, along with Pizzalea for gluten-free pizza. To unwind, Shiloh Regional Park and Riverfront Regional Park offer beautiful natural settings.

For spirits, Young and Yonder Spirits and Alley Six Spirits in Healdsburg are noteworthy.

Day Five: Explore the Sonoma Valley

On day five, explore the renowned Sonoma Valley. Hike at North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park or Bartholomew Park.

Kivelstadt Cellars, known for balanced wines, is a top choice. Prohibition Spirits in Sonoma offers unique tastings like Pink Gin. Bedrock Wines, near the plaza, features interesting varieties.

Eldorado Kitchen is recommended for high-end dining. Café La Haye, Valley Bar and Bottle, and Sunflower Cafe offer diverse breakfast and casual options. Enoteca Della Santina is suggested for a relaxed glass of wine, while Winery 16 600 in Glen Ellen offers unique wines.

Sonoma’s fine dining includes Eldorado Kitchen and Café La Haye. Hot Monk Tavern and The Grapevine are casual favorites. Eldorado Cantina, attached to Eldorado Kitchen, offers delightful Mexican food at a more affordable price.

Wrap up the day with tastings at Kibblestadt Cellars and Bedrock Wines. Brooke highlights Sonoma County’s diversity, including hikes, beaches, cider, beer, and spirits. For planning, check Sonoma County Tourism’s website for itineraries and information.

Whether you are here for the wine, cider, and spirits or the coastal hikes and ziplining through the redwoods, Sonoma Valley offers adventures that bring you back again and again.



This episode is sponsored by MasterClass. With MasterClass, you can learn from the world’s best minds – anytime, anywhere, and at your own pace. This holiday season, give one annual membership and get one free. Go to

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Show Notes
Sonoma County Tourism Official Site
Kortum Trail: Shell Beach Overlook, California – 55 Reviews, Map | AllTrails
Shell Beach
Pomo Canyon Red Hill Trail
Things to do in Bodega Bay and on the Sonoma Coast
Cafe Aquatica
Bird And The Bottle
Russian River Brewing Company
The Shuckery Oyster Bar
Salt Point Park
Point Reyes National Seashore (Marin County)
Hotel E Santa Rosa
Hotel Petaluma
Metro hotel, Petaluma
The Barlow Market
Rewind Arcade
Golden State Cider
The Farmer’s Wife
Blue Ridge Kitchen
Spirit Works Distillery
Region Wine Bar
Gold Ridge Organic Farms
Bohemian Creamery
Apple-a-Day – Ratzlaff Ranch
Horse And Plow
Dutton Estate Winery
Idlewild Italian Grape Varieties Grown In Northern California
Orsi Family Vineyards
Unti Vineyards
Gary Farrell Winery
Russian River
Tank Garage
Aperture Cellars
Two Shepherds
Tilted Shed Ciderworks
Grand Cru
Shiloh Ranch Regional Park
Riverfront Regional Park
Bravas Bar De Tapas
Valette Restaurant
The Matheson
Lo & Behold
Young & Yonder Spirits
Alley 6 Craft Distillery
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve
Bartholomew Park
Kivelstadt Cellars
Prohibition Spirits Distillery
Bedrock Wine Co.
Winery Sixteen 600
Eldorado Kitchen
Cafe La Haye
Valley Bar + Bottle Shop
Sunflower Caffé
Enoteca Della Santina
The Mill at Glen Ellen
Wit and Wisdom
HopMonk Taverns
The Red Grape
El Dorado Cantina
Fun Things to do in Sonoma County
Visit Santa Rosa California, What to Do, See, Eat and Drink


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Travel to Sonoma County, California (Podcast) #wine #sonoma #santarosa #california #winery #cider #hikes Travel to Sonoma County, California (Podcast) #wine #sonoma #santarosa #california #winery #cider #hikes

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

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