Sunday,  August 9, 2020  3:58 pm

Spring in Sonoma County is something special—here’s why

Spring in Sonoma County is something special—here’s why
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch:

When the grape vines first get their leaves, and the wildflower buds first start tilting their heads towards the sun, it’s a telltale sign that spring has arrived in Sonoma County.

In 2018, the destination welcomed 10.8 million visitors, representing 4.8 million overnight stays and 6.0 million day trips. The average stay was 2.9 nights and the average per-person expenditure for overnight visitors was $210. Though 90 per cent of that demographic is domestic, Canada is amongst the 10 per cent that makes up Sonoma County’s international arrivals.

Located just 45 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, Sonoma County is easy to get to for Canadians. While there are no direct routes from Canada just yet, there are plenty of car rental companies, like Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Sixt that are stationed at the airport, and the scenery along the way makes for quite an enjoyable road trip.

There are more than 425 wineries in Sonoma County, making the destination an incredibly popular destination for wine enthusiasts. Photo: Sonoma County Tourism.

Spring in Sonoma County means meeting makers and artisans in pop-up markets and festivals, revelling in the surrounding flower fields and farmers fields in all their glory, and sampling culinary delights when ingredients are local and in season.

“Sonoma County is home to families who have been here for generations," said Birgitt Vaughan, director of global media relations, Sonoma County. "The backbone of our county is agriculture, and those businesses are family-owned across generations.”

With warm, California temperatures that don’t dip a degree under 5 °C in the month of March, things are just a little brighter and a little fresher in Sonoma County this time of year.

Wildflowers in full bloom along the coast of Schoolhouse Beach. Photo: Sonoma County Tourism.

Stop and smell the wildflowers

Spring kicks off in Sonoma County when the mustard flowers begin blooming in between the rows of vines, bathing Sonoma’s picturesque valleys in bright yellow. Typically, this starts in February, and bud break, the first sign of the wine making season, follows shortly after. 

Mustard flowers bathe Sonoma County's valleys in a warm yellow glow. Photo: Sonoma County Tourism.

Then, the spectacular wildflowers start blooming.

“By the end of March and early April, the whole hills are covered in wildflowers,” said Vaughan.

These first few months of the year make the perfect time to hike through flower-laden meadows, indulge in an outdoor creativity retreat, or enjoy special new release parties at Sonoma County wineries—there are more than 425 of them! 

Outdoor adventures and nature are one of the biggest tourism draws for the destination in spring. Sonoma County is also home to several breathtaking state parks, including the 520-acre Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, which is home to 1,000 year-old Sequoia redwood trees that tower over visitors at 250 feet!

Visit the 1,000 year-old Sequoia trees in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Photo: Sonoma County Tourism.

Those interested in exploring the destination can plan an entire trip across Sonoma County, and travelling to Sonoma County during the peak wildflower blooming period means taking advantage of special offers on lodging, tours, and tastings.

Festival season is another sure sign that spring is in full bloom in Sonoma County, and there is truly something for everyone, whether it’s celebrating craft beer on National Beer Day (Apr. 7), saving room for dessert on National Apple Pie Day (May 13), or meeting some furry faces on a farm tour.

“We feel really very fortunate to live here in this land of abundance,” Vaughan said. “There’s always a seat at our table. We feel life opens up for people who visit.”

For a full list of upcoming spring events and festivals in Sonoma County, click here.

For more ways to experience spring in Sonoma County, click here.

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