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8 Things To Do When Visiting California Wine Country

8 Things To Do When Visiting California Wine Country

Numerous people travel to scenic wine country in Northern California every year. There are plenty of wineries and tasting rooms to visit in this area, but you can make a real vacation out of it by taking in all of the sights. Here are some things you and your entire family can partake in. Whether you are staying for a couple days or a few weeks, you will never end up saying, “I am bored.”

1. Go Whale Watching

If you do not live by the sea, then you should use this opportunity to go whale watching. There are plenty of services nearby that will take you on a boat to try to see some whales. At certain times of the years, you will find volunteers around the coast who can answer all of your whale-related questions. You want to make sure you have your binoculars and camera with you because you never know when a whale will appear.

2. Hang Out at the Beach 

For people who get seasick easily, they may prefer just staying on the shore. There are plenty of beaches around Wine Country you can take a walk on. You can bring a picnic and enjoy a lovely meal while looking at the waves crash upon the shore. You may even be able to see some sea life from here. Some beaches in the area even have hiking trails and tidal pools. There are also plenty of restaurants along the coast that will give you a one-of-a-kind view.

3. Go Hiking

Northern California has over 50 regional parks in Sonoma County and 11 state parks. This results in miles of hiking trails if you consider yourself to be an outdoor enthusiast. There are plenty of self-guided, free tours you can take. There are all kinds of terrain in the vicinity. Whether you prefer coastal trails with rocky bluffs or simpler terrain, there is something here for people of all experience levels.

4. Head Out on a Safari

Many people would not expect to run into giraffes while in California. Luckily, you can see giraffes, zebras, gazelles and much more at the Safari West Wildlife Preserve. It is located in Santa Rosa, and over 700 animals are housed here. The conditions closely match their natural African environment, so they eat, play and socialize like normal. You can go on a tour to get up close with the animals, making this one excursion people of all ages will love.

5. Check Out Some Live Performances 

Plenty of concerts take place around Wine Country. If you will be in the area for a while, then you should definitely go to one if you can. There are large and small venues alike. You can look up who is playing at the Green Music Center, which is a world-class performing arts center located in the heart of Wine Country. You can also head over to the 6th Street Playhouse, which offers live theater performances and music.

6. Go to One of the Many Art Galleries

For people who prefer paintings over music, there are dozens of galleries in the area you can enjoy. Plenty of these art galleries are within walking distance to one another. This allows you to check out a bunch at once. Additionally, the town of Guerneville has an Art Walk on the first Friday of every month. You can see artwork from various merchants, and you may just find the perfect piece to buy to take home with you to remind you of your time in Wine Country.

7. Visit the Wonderful Charles M. Schulz Museum

Photo courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum

No matter what kind of art you are into, anyone can get a kick out of the Charles M. Schulz Museum. Schulz is the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. Here, you will find artwork featuring Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy and the entire Peanuts gang. You can even watch some of the animated “Peanuts” specials here. It is a great experience worth checking out.

8. Visit All the Wineries

Naturally, no trip to Wine Country would be complete without checking out some of the wineries. In particular, the Alexander Valley Wineries are true sights to behold, and you can try some wines you may not have the chance to sip otherwise. While tasting the wines, you can also enjoy a sample plate of expertly-paired foods. You can also enjoy some stunning views. There is no other way to really partake in the Sonoma Wine Country lifestyle.

You should plan out all your activities in Northern California well in advance, so you get to do everything that sparks your fancy. There is certainly no shortage of activities. Regardless if you are traveling with your children or a group of friends, you can all find something to do. Wine Country is a unique area, and you should absolutely take in everything the cities have to offer.

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.


  1. Cynthia Ragland

    I’d like to follow your blog.

    • Carmen Edelson

      Go right ahead – thank you 🙂

  2. I love going to vineyards and trying out wines!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I do too – it’s so much fun 🙂

  3. WOoooow! I love going to beach, & hiking! Haven’t tried going to vineyard and watch whales..

    • Carmen Edelson

      So many fun activities in California’s wine country!

  4. Ahhh I want to go to California so bad! Who doesn’t want to go wine tasting at a winery?!! Also, I had no idea, or didn’t even think you could go wail watching! Great post!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Yes, you definitely can! California is amazing.

  5. Stephanie

    As if I didn’t already want to go to wine country SO badly – now I want to visit even more. Hopefully I’ll get to check this off my bucket list one day!

    • Carmen Edelson

      I hope so too, Stephanie!

  6. I haven’t been to California in years! These are all awesome ideas for when I finally make it back. Especially visiting the wineries. 😉

    • Carmen Edelson

      Yes, wine tasting in California is the thing to do 🙂

  7. I’m planning on going to California this summer, so I’m def going to take your advice! Thank you 🙂

    • Carmen Edelson

      So glad to hear it, hope you have the best time!

  8. I live in wine country, so I’ve done a bunch of these, but not the Safari. Adds to the bucket list immediately!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Yes, so much fun to be had in sunny California!

  9. Such cool ideas, Carmen! I would’ve never thought about a safari or whale watching!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Thanks so much for reading, Summer 🙂

  10. Pinned this for later! I have always wanted to go to California wine country — hopefully one day I will get there!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Fingers crossed, Monica! It’s a beautiful part of the state.

  11. OMG whale watching AND wine?!?!? Sign me up!!!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Ha, yes! The best of both worlds.

  12. I’ve never been to Northern California but I would love to do all of these things! The safari would be at the top of my list as I love animals.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I do too, and it’s so much fun 🙂

  13. California is the dreamland. When we go there then live there for a long time and we spend time without any stress. So visit that place and try all these 8 things to enjoy the tour. Go to all the wineries and have fun.

    • Carmen Edelson

      Yes the wineries are a must!

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