A short drive north from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in California, Sonoma County is well known for its world-class wine but it is also big on wellness.
When it comes to California travel the big-ticket spots like Los Angeles and San Francisco can overshadow other gems that the state has to offer.
But there is one County in California that is packed full of attractions – unique stays, a farm-to-table dining ethos and spectacular spas. As well as soaring California redwood forests, windswept coastline and wine, plenty of wine.
Sonoma County gives visitors a taste of that famous West Coast lifestyle without the crowds, a relatively undiscovered region that is just a 45-minute drive from San Fran, with loads to see and do.
Here are some of our favourite highlights on offer in Sonoma County.
THE SPA CAPITAL OF THE WEST COAST
Sonoma County has a great reputation as a spa and wellness destination, with over 40 wellness centres scattered across the region.
Some spas are set within the area’s famous wineries, others are day spas that use local ingredients like ground cedar, while some spa retreats offer waterside meditation lessons in the forest.
The Kenwood Inn and Spa is on of Sonoma County’s best Spa resorts and has been featured in Conde Naste Traveller many times.
Off Highway 12, this adults-only Mediterranean-style hotel with stunning landscaped grounds is 6 km’s from Quarryhill Botanical Garden and a twenty minute drive from Jack London State Historic Park.
Elegant villa-style rooms and suites are arranged around 3 courtyards with ponds, fountains and gardens. All have featherbeds with Italian linens, fireplaces and balconies or terraces, plus Wi-Fi access.
A resort fee covers parking, breakfast, and port and sherry in the lobby, as well as access to a nearby health club. Other amenities include a spa and an intimate, guests-only Italian restaurant and wine bar, plus a heated outdoor pool, sundecks and hot tubs.
Find out more: The Kenwood Inn and Spa
VISIT WINE COUNTRY (OF COURSE)
Californian wine is respected as some of the best in the world and Sonoma County has over 425 wineries all with their own award-winning drops.
This is not one-size-fits-all wine tourism either, the region has a huge variety of microclimates and styles of wine, though specialities of the area include pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and Zinfandel.
Second only to the wine is the warm Sonoma hospitality, ensuring your wine tasting comes with some welcomed local knowledge and wine expertise.
There are also a host of Michelin-starred restaurants inspired by the famous wines in Healdsburg, Forestville and Bodega Bay.
THE BEST OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES
Hit the trails through the towering California redwoods at Armstrong State Reserve, situated between the towns of Guerneville and Occidental. Kayak in the rapids of wild rivers or cycle along the rugged coastline, this region is known for its raw beauty.
You can even zip line through the canopy of ancient forests and get incredible views of the surrounding mountains and ravines. Other activities include paddleboarding, snorkelling and yoga set amongst the famous vines.
Sonoma County is also home to Jack London State Historical Park that is named after the White Fang author who was inspired by this old-growth forest when writing his novel about a wild dog.
BOOK YOUR CLIENTS AND EARN POINTS
Wine or wellness, or both: what do you travel for?
Written by Paul Chai, a KARRYON contributor
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