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Welcome to Sonoma Valley – the birthplace of California’s wine industry. According to legend, the word Sonoma means “Valley of the Moon” based on the legends of the Miwok, Wintun and Pomo tribes. A mission named after St. Francisco Solano was built on this valley by Spanish missionaries in the early 1800s. After many years the Mexican government took over led by Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo who established the El Pueblo de Sonoma or the Town of Sonoma in the image of a typical Mexican town. By the mid-1840’s, the first California Bear Flag was raised almost simultaneously as Vallejo was arrested. Eventually he agreed to become an ally of the United States and guided the town to its development. The first of many of the finest wineries in California, like Buena Vista Winery founded in 1857, were founded in Sonoma.

There are a lot of things to do in Sonoma County. At the top of your list should be visiting some of its famous wineries and vineyards. Enjoy a walk through the five-acre garden at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery on Dry Creek Road in the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg. Visit Rodney Strong Vineyards, also located in Healdsburg on Old Redwood Highway, for an unforgettable winery tour any day of the week.

Your travel experience in Sonoma County wouldn’t be complete without dining in at least one of its many restaurants. The Fountaingrove Inn’s Equus Restaurant on Fountaingrove Parkway in Santa Rosa offers casual dining and a great local wine list.

Numerous shopping centers can be found located throughout Sonoma County. Choose from Golden Eagle Shopping Center on Washington Street in Petaluma, The Options Gallery on Matheson Street in Healdsburg, and the Railroad Square Historic District on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa.

Take the whole family to an outdoor adventure at Safari West located on Porter Creek Road in Santa Rosa. Ride in an open-air safari vehicle while visiting some of the 400 mammals and birds living on this wildlife preserve. Become an animal keeper of the day with the help of the experienced Safari west team. Visit Fast Cat Alley and interact with the resident cheetahs and watch how they play soccer with their keepers.

One of the best entertainment facilities is the River Rock Casino located at Dry Creek Rancheria, Geyserville. Its massive 62,000 square foot area houses over a thousand slot machines aside from video poker and progressives. It also features restaurants, bars and a unique and historic Pomo tribe art collection.

Sonoma Valley is a rich and wonderful destination full of endless possibilities. Make sure to mark your calendar for a recreational vacation or perhaps bring the whole family for the most memorable experience ever.

Explore what Sonoma County has to offer:

Learn more about great Sonoma hotels at Real Travel.