Family Fun in Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County in Northern California is best known for it’s vineyards, spas and hot air balloons, but there’s also a lot of family fun to be had in this beautiful valley. With the pacific ocean, rugged beaches, rolling hills, rivers, farms and ancient redwood forests, Sonoma County makes for a great destination for outdoor fun and exploration. My family really enjoys visiting this unspoiled area of Northern California and I highly recommend it to all of our readers.
- Sonoma Valley is located 45 minutes north of San Francisco. You can go for a day trip and pick a few sights to visit or spend a weekend, there’s plenty to do.
- The beaches in Sonoma County are rugged and not meant for swimming. The water is cold and rough, and the winds are strong. Plan on beach exploration- not sunning and water play.
- Cell phone reception is spotty at best. If you need to make a call, get out your quarters!
- Summer and fall are the best times to visit and you’re pretty much guaranteed fantastic weather. The coastal areas are always cooler so be sure to bring a sweat shirt or jacket.
- Take the lesser known country roads if given a choice. You’ll discover some great spots you might not normally find.
Armstrong Woods State Reserve in Guerneville is one of our favorite places to stroll amongst the redwoods – the trees soar to the sky! The forest is usually cool and damp, so dress accordingly. The pathways through the forest are flat making for an easy walk.
The Fish Hatchery at Lake Sonoma is really fun to visit. Kids can feed the fish or participate in one of the Junior Ranger activities at the lake. Boating, hiking trails and fishing are also available.
The Russian River, Guerneville is an old-fashioned town where the river is the main attraction. Families can kayak, canoe, fish, swim or just relax by the river. For lunch stop by Andorno’s on First Street and enjoy a hand-made pizza. Sit on the patio overlooking the river. While you wait, the kids can play in the game room.
A great spot for the kids to play is Sonoma Plaza, the plaza features two play areas, a duck pond, and a large grassy area. Festivals, events, and kid activities are often held here.
Spend the day with trains at the Sonoma Train Town, ”the Most Well-Developed Scale Railroad in the Americas!” Not only can the kids ride trains, but on the weekends a vintage carousel, airplane ride, ferris wheel and a roller coaster. Fun for the entire family.
For an adventure with African wildlife, visit the Safari West Wildlife Preserve in Santa Rosa. Take a Safari vehicle tour and be amazed by the abundance of animals. You can even spend the night in a safari tent or cottage!
The rugged beaches from Bodega bay to Jenner are not to be missed. Travel down Highway 1 and stop at one of the many lovely beaches. One of our favorite spots is Goat Rock Beach- perfect for finding sea glass and shells and building castles with sand, rocks and wood.