Since living in LA, I’ve explored many different areas of California — from mountains to desert and the beach — one place I’ve been longing to visit is up to wine country.
Earlier this month, I checked it off my list — my travel buddy, Lauren and I decided to take a quick road trip up north to Sonoma County. I must say, it was a nice little getaway. Quite peaceful and refreshing — it was an excellent way to end my travels this year.
Because we planned on staying for only two nights, we decided to drive up there early that morning to get the most out of our day. Sonoma is a small area, so if you’re looking for a quick, yet relaxing getaway, it’s the perfect spot to do it in just 2-3 days!
And don’t just think this county is only great for wine and food lovers — Sonoma and its surrounding areas are also known for its many outdoor adventures, such as kayaking, horseback riding, cycling, and so much more!
Sonoma is quickly becoming a popular place to visit — so if you’re wanting to go, you should plan to go now. To get you started on your future visit – today I am going to share with you how to do Sonoma in two days!
I will go over my day to day itinerary, plus share extra ideas and tips so you can get the most out of your trip!
If you plan on getting the most out of your first day, I’d recommend flying in and/or drive up super early. As mentioned above, Lauren and I got a head start (4 AM to be exact) in order to arrive on time for our first activity, which was at noon.
Indulge in the stunning views of wine country by horse! Horseback riding has been on my bucket list for ages and I was so excited to finally do it! There are many different trails and experiences available — but just by research, we decided to horseback ride at The Ranch of Lake Sonoma — located in Geyserville, just an hour away from where we were staying.
The Ranch of Lake Sonoma is a family-owned horseback riding company — since we visited during the rainy season, we lucked out and received a private and unique tour with one of the owners, Nikki. She was very informative and knowledgeable regarding the area’s history. Though it was a bit shorter ride, I learned a lot that day including how to ride a horse.
The family were very welcoming and ensured we both were riding their horses safely. They offer a variety of different trails and rides, make sure you check the site for more info. This was truly an amazing experience overall, and I can’t recommend them enough! If you are looking to stick around, they also offer a bar area to enjoy some wine after your ride!
Just about 20 minutes away from The Ranch at Lake Sonoma is a cute little town called Healdsburg. We stopped here for a quick snack before heading to our hotel. This town is known for many great restaurants and of course, wine!
It was around 3:30 when we finally made it to our hotel, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa — which by the way is the perfect place to stay for a guaranteed relaxing Sonoma visit! To end the night on a good note, I had booked a spa treatment at their Willow Stream Spa; it was both relaxing and much needed after a long day of driving!
Whether you are staying at the Fairmont hotel or not, this spa is a must to add to your itinerary. Willow Stream Spa offers great spa packages and/or treatments, as well as a bathhouse with a variety of great amenities (sauna, mineral pools, jacuzzi, and steam room) for you to come in and just relax.
After my incredible spa break, Lauren and I stayed in and had dinner at the restaurant of our hotel — Sante Restaurant. The food and hospitality were equally incredible; I recommend trying their Alaskan Cod for entree and Valrhona Dark Chocolate & Pinot Noir Mousse for dessert.
We had scheduled a wine tour via Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley; it was a 6-hour trolley tour, where we visited four boutique Sonoma wineries (every tour you visit different wineries) and enjoyed catered lunch by the Girl and the Fig restaurant. Again, Lauren and I got lucky and had a private tour as the other tourists never showed up. The tour initially sounded long but in those 6 hours, you receive a very informative tour ride with amazing scenic views of wine country in the open-air trolley.
Our tour guide was amazing too by the way, which makes it all worthwhile!
- If you plan on going in the wintertime, make sure you are wrapped up! Bring gloves, hats, and layer up because it was a lot cooler on the trolley than it was outside.
- Wear comfortable shoes — This was a mistake I made. I thought it would be okay to wear my comfortable heels! But little did I know we would be walking and standing a ton (at one of the wineries, we had a little tour of their vineyards and learned the history and the process of making the wine).
- The tour does not cover any wine tastings. This is just FYI. I honestly didn’t really look more into this part, so my bad. But the tastings aren’t very pricey and you have the option to sit one or two out if you’d like!
- Make sure to eat prior or bring a snack on the tour. Yes, you will be having lunch on the trolley, but that isn’t until after two wineries. The tour begins at 10:15 AM but can start earlier if you plan on having them pick you up. There will definitely be snacks for purchase at the wineries, but that’s about it.
The wine tour is a great idea for those who are first-timers and if you just want to explore more of Sonoma wineries in one day.
After the tour, we decided to head out for some dinner. We ended up at this delicious Italian restaurant called Enoteca Della Santina, located right in the Sonoma Square area.
If you’re looking for a restaurant where the locals hang, this is the spot to go. The restaurant was very intimate and had the most amazing dishes!! Totally recommend eating here if you’re ever in town. We ordered their Duck Papperdalle, Spaghetti, and Burrata — drooling just thinking about it!
On our last day, we had a nice big breakfast at the same restaurant (Sante) at our hotel; which I totally recommend for breakfast as well! Their breakfast was to die for — we ordered their Lemon Cottage Cheese Pancakes (which is a must staple breakfast item to order), the Caramelized Brioche French Toast, and Banana Bread with a light espresso peanut butter on the side.
It was the perfect breakfast to end our perfect 2 days stay in Sonoma and to get us ready for the long drive back home!
Additional Places I Recommend + Need to Check Out
- The Girl and the Fig – During the trolley tour they cater lunch from here, however, this place was recommended to visit for lunch or dinner; a local favorite.
- Pangloss Cellars – This is a popular wine tasting room located in Sonoma Square (minutes away from Enoteca restaurant).
- St. Francis Cellars – We went here one of the days but only had a limited time to taste as it was about to close by the time we got there. The winery is very intimate and cozy.
- Hiking – There were some hikes I wanted to check out but we didn’t have any time, unfortunately. Some hikes I saw were Jack London State Historic Park, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, and Quarryhill Botanical Garden.
Overall, Sonoma is a place I’d love to visit again soon! Though it was way cooler during the winter, it was definitely less busy and more of a chance you’ll receive a private tour! Until next time, I’m headed to the east coast early next month and can’t wait to take you all with! See you on the flip side!