Sonoma, a charming wine region located just a few hour’s drive from San Francisco, offers visitors much more than fabulous food and wine.

Discover tree-lined town plazas, historic missions, and the area’s military history as you cycle through Sonoma and the Napa Valley and explore some of California’s prettiest wine country. Keep your camera handy as you’ll want to capture the soft purple of the lavender fields, rolling green hills, and vineyards draping the slopes in vibrant hues of red and burnished gold during the autumn months. A walking adventure in Sonoma and the Napa Valley is another great way to surround yourself with fresh air and scenic beauty as you stroll from one scenic cellar door to the next. If you want to combine great food and wine with fantastic Pacific Coast scenery and surround yourself with the best of Northern California including more than 400 wineries, Sonoma is your dream destination.

Our Sonoma Tours & Vacations

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Things to do in Sonoma

Exterior view of the white walls of the Sonoma Mission San Francisco

Visit Mission San Francisco Solano

Mission San Francisco Solano was established in the early 1800s and named for Saint Francis Solano, a Spanish saint who was a missionary in South America. With a large adobe church, a wooden storehouse, living quarters, a jail, a cemetery, an infirmary, and workshops where Native American craftsmen created useful items for the mission, there is plenty to see. A visit to this historic site provides an understanding of what life was like at the last of California’s 21 missions where the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt took place in a bid to separate California from Mexico.

Cheese platter

Explore the town of Petaluma

Take a walk around the well-preserved historic town centre of Petaluma which includes many buildings that survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. One of the largest towns in Sonoma, Petaluma is famous for its lively craft beer scene, charming restaurants, and delicious produce. Stop at one of the many creameries selling goodies from the surrounding farms and sample local cheese and ice cream. Don’t miss a visit to the factory of the oldest continually operating cheese manufacturer in the United States, Marin French Cheese Company, which has been producing cheeses for over 150 years. 

View of Tomales Point hiking trail with blue sky

Hike the Tomales Point Trail

Lace up your walking shoes for a Sonoma hiking adventure and soak up the scenery on the Tomales Point Trail which offers spectacular views of Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. This trail also offers a slice of history as the trail follows an old ranch road northwest. Any time is a good time to enjoy this walk but one of the best times to do it is just before sunset. Time it right and you can watch the sun setting "into" the ocean and still have enough light to make it back to the start of the walk before dark.

Cyclists riding past vineyards in Sonoma

Cycle around Sonoma

There are plenty of reasons to do a bike tour in Sonoma. With hundreds of cellar doors to explore and plenty of award winning wines to quench your thirst along the way, Sonoma is the perfect destination for a cycling tour that combines great weather with bucolic scenery and some of the California’s most delicious wines. When you cycle around Sonoma, you get to enjoy some top drops, soak up the beauty of the surrounding wine country, cycle through vast redwood forests and cruise along rugged Pacific Ocean coastline. 

Roast lamb cutlets with a glass of red wine

Dine out in Sonoma

Taste local produce at its finest – from legendary wines to the freshest California cuisine – with your leader’s expert insight to guide you to the best spots to eat and drink. Sonoma is famous for its farm-to-table approach to dining and there’s real variety and quality here, from the flavours of South Asia to the taste of Italy, Portuguese specialties, and bistro classics, all created using the region’s delicious produce. When it comes to wine matching, you’ll be spoiled for choice with hundreds of local wines to choose from.

Sonoma vineyards

Wine tasting in Sonoma

You don’t have to walk far to taste some of Sonoma’s finest drops. Healdsburg, located alongside the Russian River, has plenty of cellar doors in walking distance of one another. Raise a glass and listen to vinyl records at Banshee Wines, sip pinot noir at Cartograph Wines, or sample Rhone-style wines at a family run vineyard and play a game of bocce. When you go wine tasting here, you don’t just get to sample award winning wines as the scenery is as impressive as what's in your glass. 

Sonoma Tour Reviews 

Sonoma FAQs

Everyone traveling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage. 

All travelers are required to produce: 

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
  • If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

The closest major airport to Sonoma is Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport. Sonoma is less than an hour's drive from downtown San Francisco by car. A coach service is available from San Francisco to Sonoma or you can catch a train and connect to a local bus line to reach Sonoma. 

The easiest way to get around Sonoma is by car or with a private tour group. There is a local bus service but it is not particularly useful for tourists as it does not visit the wineries. Apart from the coaches in and out of the Sonoma region, there is no public transport. It's difficult to travel around to the wineries and other attractions if you don’t have some form of transport.

Any time is a good time to visit Sonoma. Summer can be warm and occasionally the mornings can be a little foggy but the weather is perfect for walking and other outdoor pursuits. Autumn brings with it crisp mornings and nights. It's also harvest season so the vineyards are filled with vibrant autumn colours. Winter is perfect for snuggling up in front of a fire with a glass of wine. Spring is often wet but the landscape is lush and green with many of the vineyards covered in new growth. 

What you pack will depend on the time of year you are visiting, but you can't go wrong with clothes you can layer plus a jumper or jacket and wet weather gear. One or two smart casual outfits should be more than enough for dining out unless you're planning on visiting a lot of high-end restaurants or wineries.

There is good mobile coverage in Sonoma's major tourist areas. If you are visiting some of the more remote rural areas, you may experience short periods of time with no mobile signal. 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

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