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Family Adventures Await in Sonoma Wine Country, California

May 27, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Kid-approved adventures and award-winning wines are just the beginning of a fun-filled family vacation to beautiful Sonoma County.

Situated along 50 miles of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California, Sonoma County is geographically blessed with its stunning coastline, tranquil rivers and lakes, ancient redwood forests, and rich farmland ripe for producing the region’s award-winning wines.

Tucked in and around all this natural beauty lies plenty of activities and exploring for family outings.

Epicenter Sports and Entertainment Center‘s arrival to Santa Rosa this year is giving visitors a full menu of fun, food and fitness at its130,000-square-foot venue. Activities include an array of indoor sports, a fitness center, upscale bowling lounge, trampoline park, arcade, and more.

Santa Rosa also is home to the Charles M. Schulz Museum, where visitors can enjoy learning about the beloved cartoonist who created the Peanuts gang. Ice skating is right next door at Snoopy’s Home Ice (aka Redwood Empire Ice Arena) and shopping for all-things-Peanuts can be had at Snoopy’s Gallery and Gift Shop.

Less than a block away, the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County offers interactive, hands-on exhibits and experiences focused on art, nature, and science.

Located east of Santa Rosa, Safari West Wildlife Preserve & African Tent Camp is home to dozens of exotic animals. Safari West offers the experience of an African safari in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. And for the ultimate in “glamping,” stay overnight in a luxurious safari tent.

Buckle up for the short drive to Rohnert Park to race speedy electric go-karts at Driven Raceway (drivers must be at least 48 inches tall), or step into a real-life video game at the multilevel Laser Tag of Santa Rosa. Get a free factory tour (reservations required) at Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory in Petaluma, and shop the Petaluma Premium Outlets for fashion deals.

Take a drive to the historic, picturesque town of Sonoma (also the birthplace of California’s wine industry), which is situated around a central plaza (the largest of its kind in the state) and filled with charming shops and restaurants. The city also is home to Sonoma State Historic Park, the California Missions Museum, and the kid-approved TrainTown, which features a variety of trains to see, ride and explore, plus six amusement rides.

Nearby Jack London Historical Park is a designated historical landmark sprawled across 1,400 acres, offering families the chance to explore everything from the cottage where London wrote, to his museum and collections of artifacts from his world travels.

For an exhilarating coastal experience, drive along Highway 1 and discover the region’s natural attributes: sandy beaches, sheltered coves, tidal pools teeming with life, easy bluff-top trails, and a wide assortment of coastal wildlife.

Bodega Head — a small rocky peninsula that juts out into the sea near Sonoma County’s southern border — offers amazing coastal views that make it one of the top whale watching spots during migration season (October through April). Bring binoculars year-round because there are lots of playful seals and assorted sea birds to watch.

The two-mile-long sandy beach at nearby Doran Regional Park makes it a perfect spot for beachcombing, picnicking, building sand castles, flying kites, surfing, fishing, and camping for overnight stays.

Travel a little farther north — where the Russian River empties into the ocean — and discover Goat Rock Beach‘s incredible views of tall columns of rock, hang gliders, and the colony of Pacific Harbor Seals that spend the summer on the sand spit at the far end of the sandy beach.

Still farther north, get a hands-on experience of a unique part of California history at Fort Ross State Historic Park, once the bluff-top home to a Russian colony.

Inland from the coast, paddle, swim, fish, splash, or just relax in the sun along the scenic Russian River. Take a stroll through nearby Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and enjoy a family picnic under the towering trees.

Wander deeper into these ancient trees for a truly unique zip-lining experience through the redwoods at Sonoma Canopy Tours. Offerings include a one-of-a-kind course of seven zip lines, two sky bridges, a magnificent spiral staircase, and a rappel back to the forest floor (children must be at least 10 years old and weigh 70 pounds to participate; those under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult).

This is just a sampling of the family vacation adventures waiting to be had in Sonoma County. For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit or call +1-707-522-5800.

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