Nestled between the Napa Valley and Northern California’s rugged coast, this region is so well known as a wine and food paradise that its rich history and reputation as an outdoor playground are sometimes overlooked. Make your base in the charming town of Petaluma, an hour north of San Francisco, and get ready to explore.

Day 1

Mission San Francisco Solano, Photograph by Rosangela Lima/iStock

Morning: Start your day at Della Fattoria, a bakery and café on Petaluma Boulevard. Try its rancho gordo beans on rosemary-Meyer lemon toast before walking to the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum to learn why this town was once called the Egg Capital of the World.

Afternoon: Drive 25 minutes to Sonoma Plaza, an eightacre park surrounded by boutiques and wine-tasting rooms in the heart of the historic city of Sonoma. Grab a niçoise salad at the Basque Boulangerie Café before visiting Mission San Francisco Solano, the last Spanish outpost built in California.

Evening: Return to Petaluma for dinner at The Shuckery, a wine bar in the lobby of Hotel Petaluma. Feast on the Kumamoto oysters along with the pan-seared catch of the day. Be sure to try one of the restaurant’s most unexpected menu items— cauliflower “hot wings.”

Day 2

Goat Rock Beach in Jenner, Photograph by Michael Marfel/Alamy

Morning: Enjoy coffee and homemade granola at the Water Street Bistro, a local favourite located beside the Petaluma River. After, drive an hour northwest to Jenner, a coastal town at the mouth of the Russian River and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Afternoon: Purchase a few snacks for a picnic before renting a kayak from Getaway Adventures and enjoy a mellow tour of the Jenner estuary. During your paddle, you may spot cormorants, pelicans and harbour seals playing in the waves. Stretch your legs—and enjoy your lunch—on Penny Island, a local landmark that was once home to a cattle ranch.

Evening: Back in Petaluma, enjoy dinner at Central Market, a restaurant loved by both locals and area chefs. Its Mediterranean inspired, farm-to-table menu features local wines and produce. Order the chef’s five-course tasting menu to experience the very best the Sonoma region has to offer.

Day 3

Photograph courtesy of Safari West.

Morning: Visit the Bagel Mill—its flour is stone-ground on site—and order the spicy turkey club to take with you on your hour-long drive northeast to Jack London State Historic Park. Once there, tour the Beauty Ranch, to see where the author of The Call of the Wild lived, wrote and experimented with farming methods considered progressive at the time.

Afternoon: Drive about 30 minutes to Safari West, a 400-acre wildlife preserve nicknamed the Sonoma Serengeti. Take a tour in a double-decker utility vehicle to see some of the 95 species that live here, including giraffes, zebras and bonteboks, a type of antelope.

Evening: Stay for a South African braai (a wood-fire barbecue) at Safari West’s Savannah Café, then spend the night in one of its 30 Botswanan tents, complete with ensuites, a private deck and comfortable beds.

Where to Stay

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Sonoma

Sonoma Mission Inn has been the last word in classic Wine Country luxury since 1927. Its Willow Stream Spa sits on the site of a natural mineral spring, and Santé Restaurant showcases regional produce.

Hotel Petaluma, Petaluma

Built by Petalumans in 1923 to reflect their town’s prosperity, this luxurious hotel was restored to its former glory in 2015. Its charming courtyard, vintage elevator and modern rooms are within walking distance of the town’s attractions and eateries.