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  • Sonoma County
  • Sonoma County
  • Sonoma County
  • Sonoma County

Sonoma County Holidays​

Sonoma County Holidays have a down-home feel to them that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. (The California sun helps with that, too.) This is the Napa Valley's baby sister, just an hour's drive north of San Francisco - but a world away from Napa's more upscale glitz. Here, the beautiful  hills and slopes are strewn not only with vines, but with purple lavender, and the wineries are smaller-scale and often family run. The result is a laid-back country vibe perfect for anyone in search of some R&R.

Wine tastings often top the 'to do' list on Sonoma County holidays, and there's plenty of choice. The area's microclimates mean growers  can raise cool-weather grapes in the south and heat-loving varieties further north - so you get the best of both worlds. Wind your way among the valley's wineries, sipping crisp Chardonnays and rich Merlots, and chatting to growers about their art. Then stop off at a nearby artisan cheese maker or farm shop to round off the day's tastings with some delicious local produce.

There are interesting little towns to explore along the way too, and some talked-about restaurants to try, including four with Michelin stars. But Sonoma County holidays aren't just about food and drink, since there's also 55 miles of spectacular Pacific coastline to discover - a mixture of dramatic surf-buffeted crags, and wide sandy beaches stretched below rugged headlands. Plus there's the Russian River, with its water activities and nature trails; and forests of towering California Redwoods to wander through.

The result is that Sonoma County holidays offer not only fabulous food and wine, but also stunning scenery and an impressive list of things to see and do; so if variety really is the spice of life, then this is the place to be.​

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Sonoma Coast State Park

Sonoma Coast State Park

Extending 17 miles south from Vista Point to Bodega Point, this spectacular stretch of coastline, with its jagged outcrops, flying spray and sandy coves, offers some jaw-dropping vistas. Drive along Highway 1, stopping at the various viewpoints along the way to drink in its majestic glory; or go hiking along its trails to spot harbor seals and migrating whales.

Festivals and More

There's always a festival going on somewhere in Sonoma County. The Olive Festival lasts through January and February; the KJZY Jazz Concert Series runs from June till September; the Russian River Passport wine festival is in June; the showcase Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is in late September; the Sonoma County Harvest Fair falls in October; and the World's Ugliest Dog Contest happens in June!

Armstrong Redwood State Reserve

Lose yourself amongst a grove of magnificent ancient Redwood trees, including some of the oldest and tallest specimens in the entire State. Walk the shady nature trails; picnic whilst looking up, and soak up the stillness of a centuries-old landscape unlike any other.

Russian River

Enjoy some time out on the water, kayaking or rafting down the Russian River amid breathtaking scenery. Calm stretches alternate with rapids, and there are plenty of beaches to take some time out at along the way.  Look out for otters, turtles and Great Blue herons as you float along.

Hit The Town

Sonoma County has some interesting towns well worth exploring. Sonoma itself, with its tree-filled plaza, has a good number of wine tasting rooms, as well as motor racing at the Infineon Raceway, and good theatre and opera. Glen Ellen is where Call of The Wild author Jack London lived, and you can tour his house as well as the grounds of his ranch.

 

Fly-drive holiday: San Francisco and the Winelands

San Francisco - Sonoma County - Napa Valley

Our suggested self-drive itinerary is perfect for wine connoisseurs who want to visit the many wineries California has to offer in stunning surroundings. Start your holiday in San Francisco where there is so much to see and do to start your holiday from Alcatraz Island to the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Drive on to Sausalito which offers a peaceful ‘seaside town’ ambience with a sedate pace before reaching Sonoma County which offers a huge array of renowned wineries for you to sample. Napa Valley is your next step which again is perfect for wine lovers to indulge in their favourite past time. Finish your holiday in San Francisco before boarding your flight back to London.
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Wine Country Tour by Horse and Carriage  
Travel by horse-drawn carriage through the vineyards of Sonoma County to three award-winning Healdsburg-area wineries. First, indulge in a wine cave tour, barrel sampling and wine tasting, and then enjoy a 2.5-hour cross-country adventure through creeks, over hills and along the vines to two more stellar wineries. Along the way, enjoy spectacular vistas, a bounty of gourmet snacks and chilled spring water. Receive an entertaining perspective of local history, as well as information regarding vineyards, grapes and winemaking. Savour the relaxed pace while leaving the traffic far behind. From £89pp

Wine and Food Pairing Experience at Williamson Wines in Healdsburg  
Meet the winemakers and learn about wine pairing from your expert host as you taste six fine wines paired with artisanal food prepared by the in-house chef. Try a variety of wines such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon paired with delectable bites such as blue cheese, stuffed mushrooms, honey-drizzled pears and dark chocolate brownies. This fun and informative session lets you enjoy some of the best wines in California wine country while learning how to showcase them along delectable dishes. From £15pp

Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley  
Experience the Sonoma wine region in a unique way - on the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley. Jump aboard this historical replica of a San Francisco cable car and grab a seat on a special wine tasting adventure you will never forget. This open-air trolley will let you experience the picturesque vineyards like no other tour. On this tour, your friendly and knowledgeable guide will take you to four family-owned wineries for tastings. You will visit Sonoma's top historic landmarks and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch during one of the scenic stops. From £59pp

Russian River Canoe Trip from Healdsburg
Ride down the Russian River on this canoeing adventure from Healdsburg. Aboard a comfortable, stable inflatable canoe, enjoy scenic views as you navigate the beautiful Russian River. Stop to swim, spot wildlife, and relax on the beach. Include lunch for a perfect afternoon on the water! This is a great activity for the whole family, and dogs are welcome on the half-day tour. From £40pp

You can add tickets for activities to your booking later.

You will need your ESTA!
The US authorities have imposed a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), to register for Electronic Travel Authority if you are travelling to the US. Any passengers who have not made an application for and received their travel authorisation via ESTA before travelling may not be permitted to board the aircraft or could be denied admission at the US entry destination. But of course, neither possession of a visa, nor meeting the basic requirements for travelling visa-free on the VWP will guarantee a passenger admission to the United States. The final determination of admissibility is made by the immigration office at the port of entry.

Where can I apply for ESTA?
Prior to travel, you will need to visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and fill out an online application form.

When should I apply?
This will need to be applied for at least 72 hours prior to travel if you intend to travel to America.

How long is my ESTA valid for?
Your ESTA will be valid for up to two years, or until your passport expires. It is also possible for you to use for multiple entries to America. Just be sure to amend any necessary data, such as date of travel and your address whilst in the US.

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