Santa Rosa, California

Located 55 miles north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa, California is the largest city in Sonoma County with a population of 167,000, and it occupies the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. Originally home to the Pomo, Miwok, and Wappo Indians, the area was later settled by the Spanish, who were its first European settlers, in the early 1800s. As people rushed to California in search of gold in the mid 1800's, many found that they could find commercial success by settling the area and farming the fertile soils of Santa Rosa. The region enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with wet, cool winters and warm, dry summers.
Santa Rosa, California
Today, Santa Rosa offers a variety of activities that appeal to virtually all visitors. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy a unique local art and culture scene, shopping, beautiful landscape, outdoor recreation, fine dining, festivals, and excellent wineries. With more than 100 parks and recreation areas, Santa Rosa is an excellent destination for outdoors enthusiasts and families. From state and local parks to biking, jogging trails, and lakes, individuals and groups of travelers are sure to find a way to connect with the natural surroundings. Many groups offer biking and even motorcycle tours through the region, and the popular and scenic Pacific Coast Highway is just minutes away. Outdoor adventurists can also enjoy zip line tours and rappelling, and it is even possible to get an aerial view of the less accessible landscape of some of the wineries by helicopter.

Offering an array of malls, boutiques, and outlets, Santa Rosa appeals to a wide range of shoppers. In the downtown area, consumers can peruse three shopping districts that offer a retail experience with a charming historical ambiance. Bargain hunters can find numerous deals at shopping centers, thrift stores, and discount outlets throughout the city. For travelers wishing to enjoy the arts, Santa Rosa offers a theater, numerous galleries, a local symphony, and art center. Families may enjoy skating at the ice arena or seeing wild African animals while touring the Safari West theme park.

With its attractive climate, diverse history, and exciting recreational and cultural offerings, Santa Rosa is an enticing destination for travelers of all ages.


Sonoma, California

The wine industry is alive and well in Sonoma, California, the wine center for the west coast of the United States. Sonoma is one of the first places where wine was made in California, with activity dating back as far as the early to mid-1800s. the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, the state's oldest wine making celebration, is held each fall and draws thousands of tourists and wine aficionados to the area.

Sonoma has been an ideal location for wine making due to its favorable climate and ample moisture. The area has a hot, dry overall climate during the summer and its winters are cool and wet. In addition, Sonoma receives just over 30 inches of rain, on average, in a given year. Sonoma Creek runs through the town and ends in the Napa Sonoma Marsh. Other creeks supply plenty of moisture for all the grapes that are grown in the dozens of vineyards in the Sonoma area.
Sonoma Coast, Bodega Bay California
Though Sonoma had a population of just over 10,000 people as of the 2010 Census, it is a huge tourist draw due to its vineyards and wine shops. Many area vineyards offer wine tasting tours during the peak season. Outside of the wine, Sonoma is known for its arts and culture. It is home to the Sonoma International Film Festival, which has been held annually since 1997 and features films from novice and professional filmmakers around the globe.

History is another main source of tourism for Sonoma, as many visitors come to the area to see its historic locations. Popular stops include the Mission San Francisco Solano, which was the only Franciscan mission established in the state of California by Mexico. Lachryma Montis, the home of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, is another popular spot for tourists interested in the history of the area, as is the Bear Flag Monument in Sonoma Plaza, which marks the spot where California was declared to be freed of rule by Mexico.


Outside of history and wine tastings, there are still plenty of things to do in Sonoma. Visit one of the local live theaters for regular performances or the Sonoma Traintown Railroad, a park that includes a petting zoo, ferris wheel, rides and more for children and adults alike. If the timing is right, you can even take in an event at Sonoma Raceway, home to NASCAR road races, IndyCar races and more.



North Coast, California

The beautiful area of the North Coast of California offers scenery, excitement, culture and more. Fabulous views abound, as one explores the Wine Country of Sonoma and the beauty and adventures in Santa Rosa. Out by the area of the Russian River, one eventually winds up on the Sonoma Coast, spotting coastal beaches and maybe even whales. Art galleries, winding roads and stopping points make Hwy.1 a delightful trip towards Mendocino make this one of California Regions favorite travel destinations..



Pacific Coast along California North CoastSanta Rosa
A drive over the Golden Gate Bridge heading north from San Francisco will take you to Santa Rosa. This is the starting point on your exploration; Santa Rosa offers fabulous dining, as it is on the list of America's Top Foodie Cities. Fresh food and delightful wines are part of the heritage here. Walking tours, biking and hiking, and a visit to the home of Luther Burbank are all part of Santa Rosa. Then continue towards the wineries on scenic Hwy 12 to Sonoma.

Sonoma Wine Country and Sonoma
Shop around the town square, visit an art gallery, and go wine tasting in the Sonoma area.

Russian River
From Hwy 101, take the River Road Exit and head towards Guerneville. Beautiful redwoods, scenic river views and even a champagne cellar, Korbel, can be found along the way. Armstrong Woods State Park is found in Guerneville and should not be missed. Towering ancient trees and paths beneath the redwoods can be explored. Discover the small community of Guerneville, then head towards Jenner and the coast.

Coastal Beaches
Jenner has an accessible beach; it is known as the area where the Russian River meets the sea. One spectacular beach is Goat Rock. During the season, seals relax on the beach and are waiting for your photos. Then head north on Hwy.1, with a stop at historic Ft. Ross. Beaches below the highway offer pounding surf and fabulous views. Continue the scenic drive, with stops along the way where you can park or snack. Several towns offer dining and shopping along the way; Gualala has several hotels.
If you choose to go south at Jenner, you will get to Bodega Bay, where Hitchcock's "The Birds" was filmed.

The town of Mendocino offers art galleries, unique shops and fabulous restaurants to suit every taste. Enjoy an open studio art tour or just relax and chill in this historic Preserve America community.