A Sonoma honeymoon, in a setting of gently sloping vineyards, wooded hills and rivers makes it difficult to think of a more romantic destination. Sonoma and its neighboring valleys are the ideal location for a wine lovers honeymoon, whether you’re connoisseurs or eager to learn more about wines. Besides the vineyards, Sonoma offers the best of California – redwood country, small towns, and the spectacular Pacific coast – all within easy reach.
The Sonoma Valley is part of the Bay Area Wine Country and has over four hundred wineries, so you’ll have plenty of choice when planning your wine tours. The varied geography gives Sonoma the perfect soil and climate suitable for grape cultivation. The region also features a number of micro-climates which allow for over 50 types of grapes to be grown in the region.
Good wine and food go together and Sonoma is no exception. It is widely recognized as a gourmet destination, with some of the finest restaurants in the country. The combination of the finest international cooking styles has led to the emergence of what has come to be called California cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh, organic ingredients.
Beyond wine country, there’s plenty to explore in Sonoma county. The Russian River Valley region will take you on scenic drives through wooded hills. Visit the giant California redwoods, explore the small towns, and take a spectacular hot air balloon ride. On the Pacific coast, you can drive along the coast, take a long walk on the beach, and camp for the night within sight and sound of the ocean.
You’ll find every kind of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes, from luxury hotels and spas to ecofriendly camping and even a treehouse. Luxurious spa treatments are an essential part of a Sonoma honeymoon and will set the time for a relaxing, rejuvenating romantic holiday.
At a Glance
- Sonoma County is just 35 miles from San Francisco and a destination for wine and fine dining connoisseurs. It offers many other attractions as well.
- Santa Rosa is the seat of the county government. The county, the wine-producing region, and the city of Sonoma all have the same name, which can get a little confusing. The name is often used to refer to the wine-producing Sonoma Valley and sometimes to the county. Area residents use the name only to refer to the city.
- There are over 425 wineries in the Sonoma Valley, producing a diverse variety of grapes. Many are smaller, family-owned start-up wineries.
- Visitors in the springtime will see the unforgettable beauty of the vineyards covered in bright yellow mustard blossoms. The plants add important nutrients to the soil in preparation for the planting of the grapes.
- Wine tasting tours are the best way to get around the vineyards. Traveling on your own will give your greater flexibility but a tour bus or limo will be a safer option rather than driving yourself, especially after visiting a few wineries.
- Many wineries offer gourmet meals, as well as chocolate, cheese and charcuterie pairings to accompany wine tastings. Some will even pack you a small wine and cheese picnic to explore the beautiful vineyards and find your own private retreat.
- The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley is a fun way to tour the wine country in a custom built cable car similar to the ones on the streets of San Francisco from the late nineteenth century to the 1930s.
- Spend a day in downtown Sonoma. Explore the Spanish heritage of the town and the region, and visit the Mission San Francisco Solano, founded in 1823 and better known as the Mission Sonoma. Along with other historic buildings scattered across the town, like the Blue Wing Inn, the Toscano Hotel & Kitchen, and Sonoma Barracks, it makes up the Sonoma State Historical Park.
- The Sonoma International Film Festival is held in the town every spring and attracts film buffs from near and far.
- Sonoma County is a gourmet’s paradise, with a number of Michelin starred restaurants. If you love organic foods, you should visit the farmers markets with fresh produce and farm to table restaurants
- Take a scenic drive along California Highway 12 to get the feeling of the area. It will take you past Boyes Hot Springs and to the Valley of the Moon.
- As the poet said, all you need for happiness is a cup of wine and each other. We think a little food would be nice too. For a classic vineyard experience, pack a picnic, and pick up the accompanying wine at the gift shop. Then feel free to wander around the vines, find a secluded picnic table or arbor and enjoy the weather, the surroundings and each other’s company.
- Explore the small towns along Highway 116, which winds along the Russian River Valley. Stop at small towns like Forestville with its Michelin-starred restaurant, explore the art galleries and stores, and go canoeing on the river.
- Spend a day or two along the coastline. Take a scenic drive, stop at the Sonoma Coast State Park for a hike or overnight camping trip.
- Take a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards and the Russian River Valley, with glimpses of the ocean in the distance.
- A gourmet meal is one of the most romantic ways to celebrate your new beginnings and in Sonoma County you’ll find plenty of options.
- GETTING THERE: The two nearest airports are San Francisco International Airport (SFO and Oakland International Airport (OAK). You can get a rental car, limo service, or the Sonoma County Airport Express to bring you to wine country.
- GETTING AROUND: While a car gives you the freedom to explore the area according to your own schedule and preferences, it may not be the best way to tour the wineries. For safety’s sake, we suggest that you either hiring a driver or taking a bus, trolley or limo tour. Public transportation options include Lyft, Uber and Sonoma Country Transit buses.
- WEATHER The climate is classified as a warm-summer mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry with highs in July reaching 88F. Winters are comfortable and rainy with highs in January of 57F.
- WHEN TO GO: Each season has its own attractions: wildflowers in the spring, music and festivals in the summer, winemaking and harvest celebrations in the fall, and a quieter pace in the winter.