Things to do in Sonoma Valley
Stroll a historic plaza, visit a writer’s lair, meet a giraffe or two and see where California winemaking was born
1 | Annadel State Park
Highlights of this 5,000-acre state park a few minutes east of Santa Rosa are stands of California oaks and brilliant displays of spring wildflowers.
6201 Channel Drive, Santa Rosa; 707/539-3911; parks.ca.gov
2 | Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center
A must-stop for anyone who grew up reading Peanuts, this airy museum is big enough to house Snoopy, Linus, Charlie Brown, and the other characters indelibly inked by Schulz, who for decades called Sonoma County home.
2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa; 707/579-4452; schulzmuseum.org
3 | Cornerstone Gardens
At this unique and beautiful spot on the road into Sonoma, you’re invited to explore 20 cutting-edge gardens designed by noted landscape architects. Open late March through early December.
23570 Highway 121, Sonoma; 707/933-3010; cornerstonegardens.com
4 | Jack London State Historic Park
The gifted, hard-living writer installed himself and his wife/muse Charmian on these 800 acres―which he dubbed Beauty Ranch―in 1909. Their cottage is open to visit, as is the House of Happy Walls, which holds London memorabilia preserved by Charmian after his death. The 3-mile trek up Sonoma Mountain gives you IMAX-worthy views of the whole Valley of the Moon.
2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen; 707/938-5216; parks.ca.gov
5 | Luther Burbank Home and Garden
No one took advantage of Sonoma County’s rich soil and welcoming climate more assiduously than self-taught botanist Burbank, who, during his half-century career, developed the Shasta daisy, the Santa Rosa plum, and some 800 plant varieties. Today’s visitors can tour his gardens and home April through October.
Santa Rosa Avenue at Sonoma Avenue, Santa Rosa; 707/524-5445; lutherburbank.org
6 | The Olive Press
Now located next to Jacuzzi Family Winery, the Olive Press sells olive oils and olive-related items from dozens of California growers.
24724 Highway 121, Sonoma; 800/965-4839; theolivepress.com
7 | Safari West
The Serengeti comes to Sonoma at this 400-acre preserve filled with the animals of the African savanna: giraffe, antelope, and oryx, seen on guided tours. If you really want to live your Out of Africa fantasies, bunk down in one of the surprisingly elegant tent cabins. 30 cabins from $225.
3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa; 800/616-2695; safariwest.com
8 | Sonoma Plaza
The city wears its past gracefully, with some of California’s most historic buildings―among them Mission San Francisco de Solano and Lachryma Montis, General Vallejo’s still-Edenic estate―centered around the lawns and spreading trees of its 8-acre central plaza.
Sonoma State Historic Park, 363 Third Street West, Sonoma; 707/938-9559
9 | Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
This 2,700-acre park, with 25 miles of trails, preserves the headwaters of Sonoma Creek. Spring through fall, you can explore via horseback rides run by Triple Creek Horse Outfit (707/887-8700; triplecreekhorseoutfit.com).
2605 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood; 707/833-5712; parks.ca.gov