Renowned for its fantastic vineyards, world-class wine, organic meats, fresh veggies, and stunning nature, Sonoma County in California is also known as one of the best places for romance and love.
In Wine Country, love is always in the air, and in Sonoma, many different activities can make your romantic getaway unforgettable. Here are ten of the most romantic things to do in Sonoma that will convince you to book your getaway escape to Sonoma Valley today.
10 Romantic Things to Do in Sonoma
Whatever reason you are planning a trip to Sonoma, there are plenty of things to do that will get you into the romantic spirit. Here are just a couple of our recommendations:
10. Take A Tour Around Wine Country
One of the things that you don’t want to miss in Sonoma is a wine tasting. Sonoma wineries are quieter, more family-owned, and smaller than Napa, so if you want a more laid-back type of experience, this is the perfect place for you.
The history of wine in the region dates back to the Gold Rush. The flood of new settlers brought with them a thirst for wine. In 1857, one of the first premium wineries was founded in Sonoma Valley by Hungarian immigrant Count Agostin Haraszthy. The Buena Vista Vineyards can still be visited today and are just a short distance from the town square. Agostin was at the forefront of establishing winemaking as a fixture in the state’s economy and was known as the “Father of California Viticulture.”
Now it would be pretty impossible for us to name all of the wineries and wine tours in Sonoma County, California; however, whatever tour you choose, make sure to taste the two most renowned wines of the region, the Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. Wine critics argue that the country’s best Pinot Noirs come from the region’s Russian River Valley.
Insider tip: Looking for some unique wine experiences? Try the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley, a wine-tasting tour adventure that is taken in a replica of a California Street Cable Car.
9. The Best View with A Hot Air Balloon Ride
For a bird’s eye view of the stunning landscapes of Sonoma Valley, make sure to book a hot air balloon experience. You can choose from three reputable companies: Sonoma Ballooning, Up & Away Ballooning, and Wine Country Balloons.
Although the prices are similar, each offers specific tours and packages. Sonoma Ballooning offers packages like the Balloon, Charlie’s Acres & Vegan Wine Tour that includes a flight, lunch at La Belle Vie, a trip to Charlie’s Acres Farm Animal Sanctuary, and a trip to two vegan wineries. Up & Away offers the Ballooning, Bikes, and Brews tour, where guests will enjoy a flight following a ride on a hybrid bike to local breweries.
Whichever company you book with, a hot air balloon ride will provide you with epic panoramic views of rolling hillsides, beautiful vineyards, the glorious winding Russian river, and possibly even the ocean coast.
Insider tip: Remember that many of the balloons launch in the wee hours of the morning as the cool temperature and light winds make it easier for them to launch and settle. So make sure not to party too hard the night before.
8. Feed Your Body, Mind, and Soul at FarmHouse Inn
One of Sonoma Valley’s top luxury hotels, the FarmHouse Inn is home to 25 guest rooms, two restaurants, and a spa. Housed in a renovated farmhouse, hence the name, that was discovered by siblings Joe and Catherine 21 years ago, this luxury hotel has everything you need for a romantic getaway.
Each room is designed to melt away your troubles, from the large jetted tub to the comfortable featherbed draped in only the finest European linens. Their Wellness Barn (aka spa) focuses on a holistic approach to healing the mind, body, and soul and features various treatments that prioritize your self-care.
Last but certainly not least, the Farmhouse Restaurant and Farmstand offer a unique and one-of-a-kind dining experience. The Michelin-Star Farmhouse restaurant is a farm-to-fork establishment that prioritizes fresh, local ingredients prepared exquisitely and paired perfectly with only the finest glass of wines from the Sonoma and Napa wine country. The Farmstand is their all-day dining restaurant with the same delicious farm-to-fork offering.
Insider tip: Even if you are not staying at the FarmHouse Inn, you can still come and enjoy the restaurants or the spa. If you go, make sure to make a day of it and pamper yourself and your loved one.
7. Enjoy Luxury in An Adult-Only Atmosphere
If you are craving a child-free romantic getaway, look no further than the luxurious Kenwood Inn and Spa, which features an adult-only experience.
The Inn is a Mediterranean-style property with 29 rooms, a salt-water pool, hot tubs, and a luxurious spa. The property also offers a private restaurant only available to guests staying on the premises.
The KenWood Inn provides experiences with the couple in mind, including offerings such as a dedicated concierge, breakfast for two, and a wine and cheese hour.
6. Relax & Meditate at the Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary
Sonoma County has more than 40 spas and wellness centers ready to relax your mind, body, and soul, many of which are also located in some of the top luxury hotels within the region.
Along with the spas in Kenwood and Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma is home to Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, which is a Japanese-inspired spa located on five acres of property. The spa is also home to five Japanese gardens that guests can explore before or after their treatments.
The spa is known for its Cedar Enzyme Bath, a body treatment from Japan, as well as massages, facials, and, obviously, the zen-inspired meditation gardens.
5. Feed Your Soul
One of the best things to do in Sonoma is to eat. Sonoma is Napa’s little sister, and the restaurants have the same vibe. Yes, you can find luxury Michelin-Star restaurants; however, the region is also home to several low-key, family-owned establishments that are arguably just as good.
For a Cali-Italian hybrid, visit Catelli’s, which first opened in 1936, or if you are craving pizza, head on to Diavola Pizzeria. If local family-run establishments are more your vibe, head to Valette and order the “Trust Me” chef-tasting menu. If you are vegetarian or vegan, there is Little Saint; for Mexican, there is El Molino Central and for a mash-up of Cali fresh and Southern comfort, check out the Blue Ride Kitchen. Finally, for the ultimate luxury experience, try SingleThread, but make sure to book in advance.
Insider Tip: the girl & the fig is one of the most popular eateries in the city and is over 20 years old. If you are craving French-inspired cuisine, make sure to book a reservation here.
4. Talk A Walk On The Wild Side with Horseback Riding
The diverse natural beauty of Sonoma County makes horseback riding one of the best things to do in Sonoma. Whether you prefer galloping on the beach during sunset, trotting through lush greenery, riding alongside the Russian River, or just taking in all the surrounding beauty, there is a place for you to explore Sonoma on horseback.
For the most part, horseback riding can be done year-round, although trails can get a little muddy during the wintertime. The region is home to several companies offering guided horseback riding tours with their unique offerings. Horse ‘n Around Trail Rides offers different rides, like a beautiful trail ride on the Hagemann Ranch Trout Farm, a family-owned ranch with stunning views. Other companies include Thunderbird Ranch, Triple Creek Horse Outfitters, Sonoma Valley Trail Rides, and The Ranch at Lake Sonoma Horseback Riding.
Insider tip: Triple Creek Horse Outfitters offers beautiful trail rides through Jack London State Historic Park. All rides include a tour of Jack London’s writing cottage and tickets to complimentary wine tastings at Benziger Family Winery. If you didn’t know, Jack London was an American novelist famous for the book Call of the Wild.
3. Swing Through The Trees On A Canopy Tour
Location: 6250 Bohemian Highway.
Looking for more of an adrenaline rush? Nestled deep in the redwood forest is Sonoma Zipline Adventures, which offers two unique courses that allow guests to experience multiple zip lines, sky bridges, a stunning spiral staircase, and even a rappel to the forest floor. Zipeliners will be able to get up close and personal with some gorgeous redwoods, including a tree named Walter, who is the oldest of the bunch. The tour is adrenaline meets eco-education, as you will learn more about redwood trees, which are only found natively in Northern California.
Insider tip: For an extra memorable affair, book the Sonoma Treehouse Adventure, a one-of-a-kind experience where patrons can stay overnight in a tree house. The adventure includes a guided nature hike, fourteen zip lines, a sky bridge, a gourmet dinner, and breakfast.
2. Follow the Cheese Trail
If you didn’t already know, Sonoma County, California, is home to over 30,000 grass-fed dairy cows, over 35,000 sheep, and 22,000 acres of land dedicated to producing cheese and dairy products. Cheese making is a tradition in this region, dating back to the 1800s. Fun fact, during prohibition, many vineyards decided to focus on cheesemaking, and today Sonoma County has over 130 different types of artisanal cheese ready to be discovered by any cheese lover.
There is even a California Cheese Trail Map that allows travelers to discover artisanal cheese makers and family farmers and even an events map that promotes tours, tastings, and cheese-making classes.
Insider Tip: Sonoma is also home to the California Artisan Cheese Festival, which happens annually in May.
1. Take A Cooking Class at Ramekins Culinary School
The people at Ramekins love food and want to share their passion with the world. Although this culinary school has a test kitchen open for public cooking classes, they also offer private classes. Ramekins Culinary School is just a few blocks from the historic downtown plaza and includes cooking classes like the french countryside, traditional sushi, and a taste of Spain: tapas. What is more romantic than cooking dinner with your partner before enjoying the fruits of your labor and a bottle of regional wine?
Most Frequently Asked Questions about Sonoma
Now that we’ve addressed some of the most romantic things to do in Sonoma, you might have some lingering questions about the region. Here are some of the answers to those questions:
If you didn’t already know when you should go to Sonoma, it’s a year-round destination, with the most significant number of visitors coming during the summer and fall months.
January-March is the rainy season, with February being the wettest month. The weather during this time is in the 60s and 70s. Spring means fewer tourists and lower hotel prices. It is also the season when most wineries release their new wines. Some things to do in Sonoma during the spring include the Super Bloom at Ferrari-Carno, a spa trip, hot air ballooning, and even wine tours.
The summer season starts in June, which is the peak tourism season. The season, however, doesn’t end in August. It extends into September when the wine harvest stars. This is when hotel prices are at their highest, and tours are almost always booked.
Fall and Winter start in October and run to mid-February. The temperature in Fall is pleasant, ranging from the 60s to 70s, and then drops in the winter to the 50s and 60s. Although some vineyards close during the winter, this season and springtime is the ideal time to come and experience Sonoma County without the crowds.
Think casual, sporty, and chic, all wrapped into one—let’s say dressy casual. What you end up packing largely depends on the type of activities you’d like to do during your romantic getaway. If you plan on spending your days poolside, then maybe skip the running shoes and shorts.
Some must-have things include a water bottle that will keep you hydrated whether you are on a wine tour or horseback riding through wine country, pajamas, a swimsuit, comfortable walking shoes, an evening outfit (or two), sun protection, and breathable clothing. But above all else, comfortable shoes as you’ll probably be on your feet (in the heat) all day.
You can get to Sonoma by car, air, or public transport. Sonoma is about 45 miles northeast of San Francisco and 68 miles from Sacramento. If you are coming by air, the Charles M. Schulze – Sonoma County Airport has direct air service on a couple of domestic airlines flying from other US cities like Seattle, Denver, Burbank, and Los Angeles. The Sonoma County Airport Express also runs between the San Fransico and Oakland airports and Sonoma County. Last but certainly not least, there are trains (like Amtrak and Sonoma-Marin Area Regional Trainsit (SMART) and buses that travel to and from Sonoma and major US cities.
And there you go, our most romantic things to do in Sonoma. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.