function OptanonWrapper() { window.dataLayer.push( { event: 'OneTrustGroupsUpdated'} )}So You Think You Know Sonoma County?
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So You Think You Know Sonoma County?

So You Think You Know Sonoma County?

Discover 12 under-the-radar restaurants, wineries, shops, and experiences

If you’ve spent any amount of time in Sonoma County, you’ve probably already experienced the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, the Russian River resort area, Sonoma Valley’s wineries, and the historic downtown plazas of Sonoma and Healdsburg. But no matter how much you may think you know Sonoma County, there’s always more to discover. The region is incredibly vast, covering more than 1,500 square miles of coastline, forests, and valleys. The county is also home to 30 small towns, villages, and cities—each with its own distinctive array of amenities and experiences. With all that ground to cover, even longtime locals don’t know every nook and cranny.

Here are some essential restaurants, wineries, shops, and experiences to help you discover Sonoma’s hidden wonders.

What a Chicken!, Petaluma

This casual restaurant is named for its tasty grilled chickens, but the Mexican fare is the real star of the show. We’re talking housemade tortillas, salsas, and aguas frescas, and some of the most delicious, filling, and underpriced tacos in Sonoma County. The rice and refried beans—an afterthought at many Mexican joints—are insanely good at What a Chicken!.

Sumbody, Sebastopol

Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, and Oprah are among the fans of Sumbody’s locally crafted skincare products. The line features organic, all-natural, handmade goat milk soaps, bath and body care products, and a vegan skincare line. The shop also includes a spa if you’re in need of some extra pampering.

Sonoma Canopy Tours, Occidental

See towering redwoods from a new perspective as you zipline through the treetops. The two-and-a-half-hour eco adventure includes multiple ziplines, sky bridges, and a chance to rappel down to the forest floor. Along with daytime and sunset tours, Sonoma Canopy Tours offers a Night Flight experience that invites zipliners to gaze up at the stars from treetop platforms.

Stump Beach, Jenner

Set within Salt Point State Park, this little gem is one of the few sandy beaches north of “downtown” Jenner. It’s rare to see more than a few people hiking along the quarter-mile trail that leads down to the sand, so you might just have the place all to yourself. While you’re in the park, take time to explore its scenic grasslands, pygmy forests, and 20 miles of hiking trails.

Fort Ross Vineyards, Jenner

Experience the “Extreme Sonoma Coast” in a spectacular setting less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean. Located in the remote Fort Ross-Seaview wine region, Fort Ross Vineyards’ tasting room is set above the coastal fog, surrounded by forests and meadows. Relax on one of the winery’s expansive outdoor decks and enjoy the ocean views while sampling top-notch Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and even Pinotage—a South African grape rarely found in California.

AutoCamp Russian River, Guerneville

This is glamping, Sonoma-style. There’s no need to pitch a tent when you can settle into a comfy Airstream camper or a luxurious canvas tent—each outfitted with modern, upscale interiors. The property is set in a grove of majestic redwoods, and it’s an easy walk or bike ride to the Russian River for swimming and sunbathing, or to downtown Guerneville’s funky shops and restaurants.