3 Sonoma Wine Country Stops You Need to Make for a Dreamy Parents’ Getaway

Let’s face it—there comes a time when parents just need a chance to enjoy uninterrupted conversations, sleeping in past 7 a.m., and of course some good old fashioned hand holding.

And, a family wedding in Oregon gave me and my husband the most dreamy opportunity to do just that. So, we put our daughter on the bus for the first day of school and left her in the more-than-qualified care of two doting grandmas while us parents headed out west to Sonoma Wine Country.

We had the best time, and I figured it was a must for me to finally share with you our 3-stop itinerary so you and your loved one can do the exact same.

And, while California’s historic wildfires took a devastating toll in 2017, the restaurants and majority of wineries in these areas are open for business and looking to travel lovers like you and me to visit and support them. Enjoy!

First stop: Sausalito, California.

sonoma wine country stops to make

After one very painless and peaceful flight filled with reading, naps, and good conversation, we were in San Francisco. With an extra 3 hours (thanks Pacific Time!) on our side, we decided to head straight to Sausalito for strolling and lunch on our way to Windsor—serving as our home away from home for our first night.

While not exactly located within Sonoma Wine Country, Sausalito was the perfect little seaside town to stop in and set the romantic vibes. The views of the bay, charming boutiques, and watering holes are all well worth the detour.

I highly recommend you grab a couple of waterfront seats, a glass of wine, and some salads at the Barrel House Tavern where you can watch the ferries and boats sail by. All while taking in the stunning views of downtown San Francisco in the background. Meanwhile, I promise all the things that made you fall in love with one another will quickly come rushing back!

Second Stop: Windsor, Sonoma County California.

sonoma wine country stops to make

A 90-mile drive from the San Francisco Airport will offer you an opportunity to cross over the scenic Golden Gate Bridge and put you in Windsor.

Windsor is a charming little town in Northern Sonoma County—located two miles from the Russian River (home to the lovely Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir).

Here’s a list of my favorite must-dos while visiting:

1. Wine Tasting: There are plenty of great wineries within 15 minutes of where we were staying—Worldmark Windsor. And, we narrowed it down to J Vineyards & Winery because of its sparkling wines. Plus, the fact that it shares a parking lot with Rodney Strong Winery was an added bonus so we could get a diverse sampling in one fell swoop!

The basic flight of six signature wines at J Vineyards & Winery was a great value at $20/pp. Especially when you factor in the warm (and very knowledgeable!) hospitality of their staff.

Lastly, another stop worth making is Sonoma Cutrer Vineyard—home of award winning Chardonnays—as it offers a more formal, sit down tasting setting.

2. Dining:

You can’t leave Windsor without eating breakfast at KCs American Kitchen—most notably known for being Windsor’s “most popular” restaurant. It’s located right along the town green in Old Downtown Windsor, and offers outside seating along with views of the park. This hotspot’s friendliness and décor alone are worth the visit. We’re still talking about the homemade raspberry coffee cake and eggs benedict.

sonoma wine country stops to make


Tripbound Tip: If you’re staying at WorldMark Windsor, be sure to let the waiter/waitress know. You’ll receive an extra 10% off your bill!

In addition to KCs, a quick 10-minute ride into Healdsburg is a must for a night of dinner, drinks, and shopping. The pedestrian area has a cool, casual feel with lots to do and see. Nearly everyone we asked recommended Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar for dinner after a craft cocktail at Spoonbar.

So, we took their advice and grabbed a $15 Uber ride. Neither of us were disappointed! We loved “The Joanie” at Spoonbar—a delicious concoction of Hangar One Kaffir Lime, mandarin vodkas, Kalani Coconut, lime, and pineapple juice. Not to mention the tuna poke and crab cake tapas at Willi’s Seafood.

And, if you find yourself in the mood for one final stop, pop into Duke’s Spirited Cocktails for some truly inventive drinks and a lively atmosphere.

3. The Great Outdoors.

With just two quick nights in Windsor, there wasn’t nearly enough time to do it all. Next time, we’ll fold in some of the area’s other outdoor activities. During the summer months, Windsor’s Town Green offers concerts, movies, and a farmers market. Also, Shiloh Ranch Regional Park serves up beautiful views, trails, and wildlife perfect for a hike or picnic.

If you’re a watersports kind of couple, however, hit up Russian River Paddle Boards for a unique paddle experience. You can grab some rentals and go out on your own or enjoy your choice of guided tours—from the calm morning Lake Benoist Tour to the River Paddle and Wildlife Tour if you’re craving a bit more adventure.

Speaking of adventure, ziplining the Redwoods at Sonoma Canopy Tours is definitely on my must-do list for next time. This time though, we headed back into the city of San Francisco for one very luxurious last night at the Loews in Union Square.

Last Stop: San Francisco

sonoma wine country stops to make

Our hotel was so swanky we barely wanted to leave. But, the city was calling and we had to hit the hotspots. The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in San Francisco’s Chinatown was the perfect place to make $1 personalized fortune cookies for take-home souvenirs.

Other more romantic high notes included walking along the Fisherman’s Wharf to enjoy the sea lions and chowder, Ghiradelli Square, and the old Ferry Building. I also suggest you rent bikes and travel across the Golden Gate Bridge once more, grab a table at an outdoor café for some really great people watching, or stay in bed and order room service. Your choice!

In the end, the city offered the perfect backdrop for one last decadent night before heading back home to our daughter and life’s hustle and bustle.

I hope you leave this blog post today with a sigh of relief knowing you have a 3-day stop itinerary if you choose to visit Sonoma’s stunning Wine Country for your next parents’ only getaway.

There’s definitely no guilt in returning home more rested, connected, and with a more sound mind to parent as we gear up for another fun-filled summer with our mini-mes. 

If I sparked your desire to book a getaway to Sonoma Wine Country sooner than later, explore the sweet suite deals we have to offer up for some home-away-from-home accommodations.

Any stops we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!

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