Sonoma County California Travel Guide



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Neptune Festival

Neptune Festival
by Anthony Vaarwerk

Things to do in Sonoma County California

Sonoma County California

Sonoma County California is a land full of wonder and discovery. Lined with the nationally renowned redwoods-a venture up and down the coast takes visitors through areas with the best of wineries in California and the finest of resorts and spas in the region. Rich history, rolling hills and miles of pristine beaches edged with rugged cliffs and scenic views offer up invitations for relaxation and adventure for all.


Located on the northern coast of California, Sonoma County is the largest of the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties. The population of Sonoma County is approximately 483,878. The natural beauty and moderate temperatures seldom dip below freezing, even in the winter, making it a popular vacation destination. The birthplace of California's wine industry, the Sonoma County area produces more wine than any other area in California and has over 370 wineries to show for it.  Agriculturally, the area's great reputation for productivity reaches as far back as the 1920s when it was ranked 8th most productive county in the United States and a leading producer of poultry products, hops, grapes, prunes, apples and dairy products. In actuality-the turning point for the fruitfulness of the land can be traced back to decisions that European settlers made back in the 1830's concerning the use of the land and the management of resources of the surrounding area. Surprisingly to many, the first settlers in the area were not English, not Spanish but Russian. Many Russian trappers had gone to Alaska to kill otters for their prized fur. As the otter population dwindled, the trappers moved further south. In 1812 a group of them landed at Bodega Bay and founded a settlement north from there. They named the fort “Ross,” an old name for “Russia.” The Spanish who were making their way through Mexico and up the coast of California claiming land for Spain heard of the Russians movements they made every effort to thwart their possession of the land. The Russians were peaceable and in the end the Spanish influence in the area predominated. The Sonoma County area is home to several Native American Tribes primarily the Pomo tribe. Sonoma County’s first inhabitants, the people of the Pomo, Miwok and Wappo tribes were described as quite peaceful societies. Life in the Sonoma was good for them-with all the plentiful fruits, fish, wildlife and mild winters.



Visitors to Sonoma County enjoy the 40 plus regional and state parks of the area including as a highlight-Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. The performing arts may be seen at the acclaimed Green Music Center. This world-class performing arts center joins a palette of 30-plus performing arts centers, and more than a hundred galleries and museums, giving the Sonoma County the reputation of having more artists per capita than anywhere else in California with 27,000-plus artists and hundreds of music and art events each month. Among many of Sonoma's outdoor opportunities there are 18 hole golf courses, wildlife preserves, zip-line tours, horseback riding, kayaking and hot-air ballooning. Sonoma County is also known as a cyclist’s paradise with its 1,400 miles of secondary roads and off-road bike trails with challenging climbs. Cyclists can opt to tour from winery to winery to couple the exercise with wine tasting. The Sonoma County offers you the best cycling experience in Wine Country. Discover some of Sonoma County's history and visit the Buena Vista Winery founded by Haraszthy-known as one of the founding fathers of California's Wine Country, the location of the Bear Flag Revolt- at the Sonoma State Historic Park, the settlement of Fort Ross, and Petaluma, one of the oldest cities in California. The treasures of Sonoma County faithfully please traveling enthusiasts from all over the world-for more information see:

Map of Sonoma County California

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