The charming small town of Sonoma is located in the heart of Northern California's wine country. Originally established as a mission town in the early 19th century, Sonoma's town square retains a bit of Old World Spanish charm. Today, there are many small boutiques, ice cream parlors, restaurants, and antique shops surrounding the grassy central plaza. Many of California's famous wineries are located in the region around Sonoma, and most are open to the public for tours and wine tastings. If you are interested in California varietals, pick up a map, plot your course, and spend a day visiting some of the beautiful wine growers in the valley. For cycling enthusiasts, Sonoma's picturesque roadways are a wonderful place for a ride, while mountain bikers and hikers will enjoy the scenery in the numerous state parks near the city.
The California wine country is also known for its wonderful restaurants and the town of Sonoma is no exception. In true California style, the town is filled with gourmet restaurants with a decidedly casual atmosphere. To pick up some of the region's products for yourself, check out the weekly farmer's market in the town square.
When visiting Sonoma, don't miss:
-Mission San Francisco de Solano: Also known as Mission Sonoma, this old mission was founded under Mexican rule of California in 1823.
-Sonoma City Opera: Add a bit of sophistication to your Sonoma vacation with an opera performance.
-Sonoma County Repertory Theater: The works of William Shakespeare are among the most popular acts at this community theater.
-Jack London Historic State Park: Once owned by Jack London, this state wildlife preserve offers hiking trails overlooking the vineyards, as well as the grave site of the author.
-Russian River Valley: Not only is the Russian River a top wine growing region, it is also a great place for a family canoeing adventure, hiking, and fishing.
-Bouverie Preserve: A branch of the local Audubon Canyon Ranch, this nature preserve is a great place to take guided tours of local flora and fauna.
A vacation rental is a wonderful way to experience the magic of Sonoma, California. For access to great shopping and dining, look for a rental home near the town square. Romantic vacationers can seek out a luxury villa along one of Sonoma's picturesque streets or a cozy condo near the vineyards.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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