Sonoma Valley, California for Outdoor Lovers
There are few places in the world that have more to offer the lover of the outdoors than Sonoma Valley. From beaches to mountains, rolling hills of vineyards to Redwood forests, Sonoma Valley has it all! And most of the year, our weather is ideal for outdoor activities.
Having lived in Sonoma Valley for nearly 13 years, I am very familiar with an array of places to go and things to see, eat, buy and do. And I’d like to share them with you to make your next visit to Sonoma Valley full of variety by offering a series aimed at a specific type of visitor. My first article in the series focused on the the best places to shop in Sonoma Valley for fashion lovers and continues with, “10 Things for The Outdoorsy Type to experience while in Sonoma Valley”.
Top 10 Outdoor Activities in Sonoma Valley
Here are my top ten recommendations for The Outdoorsy Type, in no particular order:
1. Go for a hike in Sugarloaf State Park in Kenwood. I am fortunate enough to live a short distance from this scenic park and frequently enjoy the many trails, forests, and creeks of Sugarloaf. The trails are well-groomed with beautiful views from atop Sugarloaf Ridge. Pack a picnic and bring along your camera as you will want to capture all its beauty. And be sure to bring a little cash as there is a small fee to enter the park.
2. Rent a bike or take a bike tour.
Wine Country Cyclery, located in the town of Sonoma, will do either! And if you happen to come across a bottle of wine that you simply must have, Wine Country Cyclery will pick it up and have it waiting for you when you arrive back at the shop. They also offer a wine and food pairing to go with your wine country bike tour! Contact them via their website for more information.
3. Rent a canoe or a kayak on the Russian River.
Pack a lunch and your swimsuit and spend the day taking a 10-mile self-guided tour down the Russian River. A return shuttle is included in the price of the rental.
4. Spend the day unwinding at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn’s pool and spa.
You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to enjoy the facilities for the day at the gorgeous and world-renown Willow Stream Spa. Rates range from $39.00 for locals to $89.00 per day. Spa services such as massages and salon treatments are not included. Call ahead for reservations. My husband and I enjoyed a day at their spa last year, it was like being on vacation just a few miles from my home! I think we need to plan a day to return.
5. Horseback ride at Kunde Family Estate.
Take a guided horseback ride through the rolling hills and vineyards of the 1,850 acre Kunde Family Estate located in Kenwood. Tours range from 1 hour to 2.5 hours in length. Visit Triple Creek Horse Outfit for more information.
6. Rent a boat on Lake Sonoma.
Rent anything from a big patio boat to a single-person kayak at Lake Sonoma, located in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. You may rent by the hour or by the day. Go water skiing, fishing, or just cruise around the lake.
7. Go to the beach!
Bodega Bay is a quaint town on the coast of Sonoma County, just a 45 minute drive from the town of Sonoma. Enjoy camping, walking your dogs on Doran Beach, have a picnic, fly a kite, go clam digging, or just watch the sunset. Doran Beach is a county facility and requires a small fee.
8. Take a bi-plane ride.
If you like to fly and you love vintage planes, you must visit Vintage Aircraft Company in Sonoma and take a ride. Get a bird’s eye view of the thousands upon thousands of acres of vineyards.
9. See car racing.
Infineon Raceway, located only a few miles outside of the town of Sonoma, is a world famous racetrack known for its popular for NASCAR and Indy events. They also have drag racing, motorcycle racing and loads of other types of competitions. Check their online schedule for events.
10. Splurge and go for a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards and hills of Sonoma Valley.
Many years ago, I took a balloon ride with my family. It was an experience I will never forget. Even though I am scared of heights, the incredible views and exuberant feeling of floating through the air were distractions enough that I quickly forgot my fears and enjoyed the early morning ride above the valley.
This list should keep The Ourdoorsy Type busy in Sonoma Valley for at least a couple of days!
Coming up, I’ve got a list for The Cultural Connoisseur you won’t want to miss and!