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Sonoma Itinerary for 3 Days in Northern California’s Wine Country

Today I want to bring you my Sonoma itinerary for 3 days in wine country. This county in Northern California has everything from famous wineries to boulder-laden beaches and hiking trails through redwood forests. Taking a trip to Sonoma is a great way to spend a California vacation, and I’m excited to tell you about my favorite things to do here. Read on for my travel itinerary and a map with all the highlights.

Sonoma Itinerary for 3 Days

Sonoma Itinerary for 3 Days

I’m doing this Sonoma itinerary with my boyfriend and his dog. His sister and her husband were supposed to do it, but they got sick right before they left. They offered us their hotel stay, and now we’re traveling north from San Francisco to wine country. We feel lucky we’re going to get to see what it has in store for us.

Healdsburg Restaurant
Bravas Bar de Tapas

Where to Stay in Sonoma County

We arrive in the evening and check into our room at the Grape Leaf Inn in Healdsburg. This charming Victorian boutique hotel is a few short blocks from the plaza in the heart of town. It’s a great base for our stay, and a lovely home away from home.

Our room has a king-size bed, a spacious bathroom, and pretty decor. The inn also has a cozy living area, a pool, and a dining room where we’ll enjoy a big complimentary breakfast every morning.

Healdsburg Hotel Room
Room at Grape Leaf Inn

We’ve arrived in time to walk into downtown Healdsburg to have dinner on the terrace at Bravas Bar de Tapas. This Spanish restaurant serves mouth-watering small plates heaped with everything from patatas bravas to octopus and lamb sliders. It’s a delicious way to kick off our trip.

Day 1

The next morning our Sonoma itinerary for 3 days officially begins. We enjoy a breakfast of eggs and muffins at the Grape Leaf Inn before walking to Healdsburg Plaza for some shopping. There are places here offering everything from clothing to home goods, antiques, art, and more.

Healdsburg Shops
Healdsburg Shops

Shopping in Downtown Healdsburg

We pop into bookstores like Copperfield’s Books and Levin & Co, and browse through Anthem and Plaza Gourmet to find things for our homes.

We also stop at my favorite clothing stores downtown, Ooh La Luxe and Tamarind. A few doors down from one another on Healdsburg Avenue, they’re packed with stylish clothes that make perfect wine tasting outfits.

Healdsburg Shop


After getting our shopping fix, we head to Shelton’s Natural Foods Market for sandwiches and salads. This is our go-to place for quick mid-day meals in Healdsburg, not least because the food is always good.

This time is no exception. The meal sets us up for the next leg of our Sonoma itinerary: a big hike.

Fitch Mountain Hike

After lunch we put on our hiking clothes and make the 2-mile drive over to Villa Chanticleer for a hike to the top of Fitch Mountain. Situated on the eastern edge of Healdsburg, it’s the highest peak in the area.

We start our hike on the trail to the right of the dog park and follow signs to the summit. The 2.5-mile round-trip route follows a wide, dog-friendly fire road through redwoods and oaks as it winds its way to the top. It’s raining, but we can still make out the views of the Russian River and surrounding area as we trek up the trails.

Fitch Mountain
Fitch Mountain

Wine Tasting in Downtown Healdsburg

After the hike, we return to the Grape Leaf Inn to get ready for the next stop on our Sonoma itinerary: wine tasting. No trip to Sonoma Valley would be complete without it, and we’re excited for our first of 3 tastings.

We walk back into downtown Healdsburg to get to one of the stylish cellar doors just off the plaza. They produce “affordable luxury wines” with a focus on single-vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs.

Our flight includes everything from sparkling wine to Rose, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. As we sip, we’re serenaded by classic rock songs from the tasting room’s record player. It’s a great experience, from the wines to the service and the ambiance.

Sonoma Tasting Room
Tasting Room

Dinner at Valette

We buy a couple bottles, then walk across the street to meet local friends for dinner at Valette. One of the best restaurants in Healdsburg, this place focuses on showcasing local produce. It’s our friends’ favorite, and they’ve booked us a table in the buzzing dining room.

As soon as we try the food, we understand what the hype is about. Everything from the warm bread to the inventive scallops en croute and Mt. Lassen trout goes down a treat. It’s a great end to the first day of our trip.

Sonoma Restaurant

Dessert at Noble Folk

But it’s not over yet. After dinner we walk over to the square to get dessert at Noble Folk Ice Cream and Pie Bar. This small-batch ice cream and bakeshop has everything from Oreo ice cream to grasshopper Mississippi mud pie.

There are so many good options we struggle to choose, but eventually we find ourselves savoring a mix of delicious sweet treats.

Day 2

The next morning we enjoy another big breakfast at the Grape Leaf Inn before walking toward the plaza for coffee at Black Oak Coffee Roasters. Set in a contemporary space on Center Street, this place serves award-winning premium single-origin espresso and artisan coffee blends.

Healdsburg Coffee Shop
Black Oak Coffee Roasters

Shopping in Downtown Healdsburg

Caffeinated, we spend time exploring more of the shops in town. We pop into a unique place called The Harris Gallery, which is part art gallery and part wine tasting room. Set in a historic bank building, the space is as architecturally intriguing as the art is aesthetically pleasing.

From the gallery we walk up to Modern Antiquarium, a treasure trove of objects from times past. Walking through the place feels like being in a vintage museum, complete with everything from signs to furniture and dishes for sale.

Healdsburg Antiques
Modern Antiquarium

Quail & Condor

After getting our retail therapy fix we head down the road to Quail & Condor, a bakery everyone keeps telling us to check out. Known for its cinnamon rolls and other mouth-watering baked goods, this place is a local staple.

We pick up pistachio croissants and chocolate chip cookies, all of which look delicious. It’s hard to resist eating them as we make our way to the second wine tasting of our trip.

Healdsburg Bakery
Quail & Condor

Wine Tasting at Montagne Russe

Our tasting is at Montagne Russe, a winery in Bacchus Landing just outside downtown Healdsburg. This Dry Creek Valley winery is relaxed, doesn’t require bookings, and is so dog-friendly that my boyfriend’s dog has his picture on the wall (and a wine bottle!).

We settle in for a tasting and enjoy pairing the Pinot Noirs, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignons with our chocolate chip cookies. Everything from the ever-approachable Roberts Road Pinot to the rich Cabs goes down a treat.

Lunch and Cocktails in Healdsburg

After the tasting we head back to the plaza for a casual lunch at Healdsburg Bar & Grill. There’s a big football game on, and it’s the perfect place to watch. We order unique dishes like Japanese-style okonomiyaki tater tots and classics like Ceasar salads and burgers.

After lunch we head back to Bravas for cocktails at their outdoor bar. The El Soro gin and tonic with pink peppercorns and grapefruit zest is a favorite, but it’s hard to go wrong here.

Gin and Tonic
El Soro

Drinks and Dinner in Geyserville

From Bravas we head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We’re heading up to Geyserville, a 10-minute drive north of where we’re staying. Established in the mid-1800s, this Alexander Valley town is on the Russian River. It’s known for its Old West shopfronts and good restaurants.

We start our evening in Geyserville with drinks at Cyrus. This acclaimed fine-dining restaurant is known for its tasting menus, but we walk in to sip sparkling wine and cocktails in The Bubbles Lounge.

The dark, sleek space is buzzing when we arrive, and we tuck into Cruse Wine Co bubbly and creative takes on classic libations as we scope out the labyrinth of rooms.

Geyserville Restaurant Wine

After drinks we head over to the main street for dinner at Catelli’s. This place serves California-inspired Italian cuisine in a series of lively dining rooms. We sit at a corner table on the banquette and order everything from a heaping kale salad to garlic bread and spaghetti with mushroom cream sauce.

The food is good, the portions huge, and the service friendly. We head back to Healdsburg in food coma, happy to have a place in wine country to call home for the night.

Day 3

The next morning is the last on our Sonoma itinerary for 3 days. We wake up to another big breakfast, then walk to the plaza for espresso and pour-overs at Flying Goat Coffee. This sparse, contemporary space serves great drinks, and we leave feeling fueled for the day.

Sonoma Coffee Shop
Flying Goat Coffee

Lunch in Guerneville

After checking out of the Grape Leaf Inn, we hop in the car and drive out to Guerneville. This town on the Russian River is known for its rustic charm, and there are good places to eat here.

I pick up a famous biscuit from Piknik Town Market (formerly Big Bottom Market). They’re one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. My boyfriend gets tacos from La Bodeguita. Both fill us up in time for the next stop on our Sonoma itinerary: wine tasting.

Guerneville Market
Piknik Town Market

Wine Tasting in Occidental

We drive through Monte Rio and Camp Meeker to get to Occidental. This small town is nestled in the redwoods and bursting with frontier charm.

We’re here for a tasting at Boheme Wines. We’ve been here before, and we loved the wines so much that we planned a special stop here on this trip.

Boheme focuses on producing fine wines from the Coast Range of Occidental, and they farm all their vines by hand. Owner-winemaker Kurt Beitler is from a line of California winemakers going all the way back to his great-great-grandfather.

We settle in on a comfy Chesterfield in the rustic tasting room and enjoy everything from a Rose to Chardonnay, a range of Pinot Noirs, and a Syrah. They’re as good as we remember, and we pick up several bottles to take home.

Occidental Tasting Room
Boheme Wines

Sonoma Coast

From Occidental we drive up and over the hills on Joy Road to get to Bodega Highway and Highway 1. Along the way we pass through the town of Bodega Bay, where parts of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds were filmed.

Once on Highway 1, we settle in for the scenic drive through the southern part of Sonoma County and into Marin County. We cruise along Tomales Bay and by Point Reyes before cutting over to Highway 101 via Lucas Valley Road. Before we know it, we’re crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to get back into San Francisco.

Sonoma Itinerary Map

I created an interactive map of our 3-day Sonoma itinerary, and you can see it here. I’ve listed all the places we visited, and if you click on the blue pins you’ll find information about each one.

Okonomiyaki Tater Tots
Okonomiyaki Tater Tots

3 Days in Sonoma County

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Sonoma itinerary for 3 days as much as we enjoyed our time in this part of Northern California. From the landscapes to the towns, hikes, shops, hotels, and restaurants, it gave us a good overview of what the county has to offer.

I also hope this blog post has inspired you to visit Sonoma County and see this part of California yourself. It’s one of my favorite places in my home state, and it’s worth spending a few days to discover it. If you want more inspiration, you can take a look at my other Sonoma itineraries. Happy travels!

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Sonoma Itinerary for 3 Days

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Sunday 14th of May 2023

Great post! We will be in the area in November and will keep this in mind!

California Wayfaring

Sunday 14th of May 2023

Thanks! I hope you enjoy your time there.

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