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It is no secret that Sonoma County is home to amazing wineries and visitors flock year-round to taste the bounty. But in addition to wine, there are amazing opportunities to explore the surroundings. Read on to check out our favorite adventures in Sonoma County beyond wine.

A Horse, of Course

What better way to take in the breathtaking views of Lake Sonoma and Dry Creek Valley than on horseback? The Ranch at Lake Sonoma is located near Healdsburg, and the view from the newly built barn is enough to make the trip well worth it. They offer all levels of riding, from hand-led burro rides for kids (ages 3+) to rugged trail rides across cliffs and through the forest and meadows. Expect incredible views of Lake Sonoma and the surrounding wine country atop a well-trained and well-treated horse! Book rides in advance, and don’t forget your closed-toed shoes.

“From the Redwood Forest…”

Prepare to be in awe of the ancient, towering redwoods upon visiting Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. This 800-plus-acre reserve is relatively easy to navigate, and you can really spend as long or as short as you want exploring the different trails. The ranger informed us that the tallest tree in Armstrong Redwoods is 310-feet tall, which makes the tree taller than a football field is long! There are plenty of places to snap the perfect picture, but don’t forget to take the time to really soak in the nature and self-reflect. The silence and shadows cast by the redwood canopy provide a sense of calm and the walk along the paths can do wonders for our busy brains. Whether you seek some physical activity or peace, we highly recommend a visit to Armstrong Redwoods to see some of the planet’s oldest living things.

Say Cheese!

You feta add a farm tour at Achadinha Cheese Company to your upcoming itinerary! This family farm runs guided tours of their ranch and cheese plant before offering some delicious cheese to sample. Along the way, you will meet some of the animals and learn about farm life and the cheese-making process. Their passion for doing things well to produce the best possible product seeps from every stage along the way, and you will taste a difference. We are obsessed with the cheese curds, but book your own tour today to try for yourself.

Explore the Towns

Each town in Sonoma County offers a charming, unique personality with activities sure to keep you busy. Shop the antique shops in Petaluma, or rent a stand-up paddle board and travel down the Petaluma River. Picnic in Sonoma Plaza park and soak in the sun, or visit Sonoma State History Park to learn of the area’s past. Venture to Healdsburg to explore an art gallery, or relax at a spa to unwind after a long day. Lesser known towns and villages along the Sonoma Coast and the Russian River invite you to discover hidden treasures and to connect with the land and the people.

The wine is delicious and the vineyards are breathtaking, but don’t forget about all the other opportunities waiting for you in Sonoma County.

Where to Stay, You Ask?

There are many options of where to rest your head in Sonoma County. Here are two gems that we experienced firsthand!

Hotel Petaluma is a boutique historic hotel located right in downtown Petaluma. We guarantee you will fall in love with the hotel at first site of the grand lobby. Relax with a book and glass of wine near the dreamy fireplace or nibble a pastry while admiring the lavish decor at the complimentary breakfast. The rooms are clean, comfortable and well-kept. We especially liked the close proximity to the Petaluma River, shops, restaurants and bars.

The Raford Inn Bed and Breakfast is a stunning 1880 Victorian home perched on a hill overlooking the Russian River Valley vineyards. The Inn was purchased by Dane and Rita in 2004, and they are committed to keeping the history alive and providing top-notch hospitality. They offer a daily wine tasting and homemade breakfast (still dreaming of the quiche!) where they aim to get to know their guests and answer any questions about the property or area. Leave some time to sit and relax on the large porch and take in the views.