Santa Rosa, the urban heart of Sonoma County, not only appeals to wine, craft brew lovers and foodies, but is an ideal destination for travelers looking for unique experiences that allow them to maintain active lifestyles even while on vacation.
Fortunately, a visit to Santa Rosa means no longer having to sacrifice fun when it comes to a health-minded vacation. Whether a foodie, wine lover or outdoor enthusiast – or a combination of all three – Santa Rosa makes it easy to have a vacation that actually feels like a vacation, thanks to the area’s many activities that blend wine or sightseeing with endorphin-inducing movement.
For those looking for a unique way to experience wine country, the Santa Rosa Wine Trail Cycle from Getaway Adventures is a chance to explore the wineries of Western Sonoma on two wheels, stopping to enjoy a gourmet lunch and wine tastings. Wine-loving yogis might prefer the Yoga, Hike & Bubbly experience, which starts with a guided yoga session in the middle of majestic redwoods at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, followed by hiking, and lunch with a priceless view. The company also offers customized Sonoma County hiking tours, ranging from 2-5 hours, for a chance to take advantage of the area’s many beautiful hiking trails.
Beer enthusiasts looking to head out on two wheels will be partial to the Pints ‘N Pedals Tour, a bike and brewery tour showcasing the craft beers of local breweries during a ride through the picturesque and artistic town of Sebastopol. Or, for an outdoor adventure that combines cycling with kayaking, the Russian River Pedal ‘n paddle tour from Getaway Adventures provides the opportunity to explore the scenic Russian River Valley by bicycle, with stops for wine tastings, before getting out on the water to kayak along the Russian River in the afternoon. There’s also the Russian River Kayaking Tour, an all-day kayaking tour that is a fun and leisurely way to enjoy the natural surroundings, with kayaks that are dog-friendly, too!
At Trione-Annadel State Park, visitors can spend the day hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and fishing – all just a few miles from downtown Santa Rosa. Or, for a bit more adrenaline, Sonoma Canopy Tours offers world-class zip lining through Sonoma’s redwood forests, making for a thrilling way to experience the beautiful scenery.
Those looking to take a more relaxed pace while still enjoying the outdoors should pack a picnic and walk around the QuarryHill Botanical Garden in nearby Glen Ellen, famed for its collection of exotic and diverse plants, set in a secluded garden of tranquil ponds and rolling paths at the abandoned quarry. Or check out one of the local food walking tours throughout Sonoma, which includes walking around towns such as Sebastopol while stopping at various restaurants to sample gourmet selections.
Golf enthusiasts will enjoy a round at Bennett Valley Golf Course, a par 72, 6,500-yard course lined by oak, redwood and pine trees, as well as Oakmont Golf Club, surrounded by the beauty of the Mayacamas Mountains, where two challenging courses will provide enjoyment for both casual and experienced golfers.
Too often a vacation is synonymous with overindulging or veering away from a healthy lifestyle, but Santa Rosa is an ideal place for those seeking balance. Combining a mix of sightseeing and unique local experiences with good food and wine, visitors can maintain an active lifestyle without sacrificing fun.