Healdsburg, A World Class Destination, The ‘Heart’ of Wine Country
It’s all about the wine:
Of course, year round wine-tasting in Healdsburg’s 3 World Renowned Wine Growing Regions, the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys are certainly the major draw for tourists coming to visit Healdsburg’s
Sonoma County Wine Country
. The many acclaimed restaurants in town add to the incredible Food and Wine experiences available in Healdsburg’s Wine Country!
Private limo services are available with a ‘designated’ driver and/or guide, although dozens of tasting rooms are on or within walking distance of the square , for the pedestrian ‘winos’. The more adventurous may choose to experience the scenic Wine Country
tasting adventure by bicycle, with guided tours also available.
For you beer lovers, Healdsburg's Bear Republic Micro-Brewery and Pub, just off the square, produces awarding winning microbrews and pub food for your pleasure.
About Charming, Historic Healdsburg
Even with consideration of the abundant opportunities for enjoying the ‘fruit of our vines’, historic Healdsburg, founded in the mid 1800’s, is a welcoming and eclectic community, preserving it’s small-town ‘Victorian charm’, while celebrating its 150th
anniversary, and has grown from a tranquil agrarian center to a top travel destination. Featuring fine dining, art and antique galleries, specialty shops and spas, a variety of interesting activities are concentrated around the Central Plaza; there is so much
to enjoy and so little time!
The hub of activity of our town is our beautifully renovated town square, lined by mature Redwoods, with walkways, lawns, a central fountain, benches, and a gazebo and stage for free summer concerts and morning tai chi. Antique shows, chili cook-offs and ‘Art
on the Square’, are but a few of the multitude of our special seasonal weekend events.
A local’s favorite, Healdsburg’s Farmers’ Market offers fresh-picked organic fruits and veggies, baked goods, honey, fresh flowers and other hand-crafted delights, from Memorial Day weekend through November, on Saturday mornings, behind the Hotel Healdsburg
off the Plaza. On Tuesday afternoons and evenings from 4:00-6:00 p.m., the Farmers’ Market encircles our beautiful Plaza, highlighted by very popular concerts from 6:00-8:00 p.m. with a diverse range of music from Bluegrass to ‘all that Jazz’!
The surrounding areas are also rich with opportunities for hiking, biking, golfing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and exploring the Lake Sonoma Recreation Area and the beautiful northern California Coast and Redwoods.
Healdsburg’s Russian River Activities:
‘Old Man’ Russian River, flowing through Healdsburg and surrounding wine growing valleys, provides for bird-watching, fishing, seasonal canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. The recreational summer dam is in place generally from mid June through mid September,
slowing the river current, raising water levels approximately 4 feet, and creating an idyllic ‘lake-like’ environment.
For everyone’s enjoyment, Sonoma County’s Memorial Beach Recreation Area offers shaded picnic areas and a sandy beach with lifeguard, special cordoned-off areas for toddlers and children, as well as ‘lanes’ for ‘lap’ swimming. You can also rent canoes, paddleboats,
and kayaks at River’s Edge Kayak and Canoe Trips, across the street and just upstream from Memorial Beach. River’s Edge also provides half and full day canoe and kayak trips, starting upriver and ending on River’s Edges’ Beach, just before Memorial Beach.
Experiencing the incredible views, bird life, and activities, when on the water, provides a unique and intimate connection with Mother Nature and ‘Old Man River’.
For the Fisherman…
The Russian River is open for fishing year round with fall and winter runs of steelhead and salmon and a summer run of shad. Bass, trout and squaw fish are also caught in the summer months, with fishing gear and one day or yearlong California fishing licenses
available in town. Recreational fishing is also enjoyed nearby in Lake Sonoma, Clearlake, and Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake. Only an hours’ drive away, ocean fishing is available with boats leaving from Bodega Bay, Fort Bragg, or the San Francisco Bay areas.
Lake Sonoma Recreational Area:
At the western end of the Dry Creek Valley, from the north end of town and just a few miles west, Lake Sonoma is nestled in the beautiful, coastal foothills and was created by the Warm Springs Dam in the early 1980’s. Lake Sonoma is the largest lake in Sonoma
County and provides flood control, water for agriculture, and lots of recreational activities including water sports, fishing, and hiking.
The Lake Sonoma Marina offers a boat ramp, full service marina, rentals and a store. Available rentals include patio boats, ski boats, wakeboard boats, fishing boats, canoes, and kayaks. The Milt Brand Visitors Center is located at the park entrance providing
information, with interesting exhibits on the Pomo Indians and the cultural and natural history of the Dry Creek Valley.
Also available at the lake, the Congressman Don Clausen Fish Hatchery is run by the Department of Fish and Game and offers group tours during the salmon and steelhead spawning season, from January through April.
For Biking, Hiking and Golfing:
Bike rentals are available in Healdsburg at Wine Country Bikes, Healdsburg Spoke Folk Cyclery, and Getaway Adventures/Wine Country Bike Tours, for around town adventures, as well as guided rides through the Wine Country. Many spectacular hiking and mountain
biking trails are available throughout Sonoma County; in the nearby Armstrong Redwoods State Park, throughout our coastal foothills, and along the beautiful coast line, providing opportunities for ‘breath-taking’ experiences.
For golfers, Healdsburg’s Tayman Park is a very nice public 9 hole, par 35 golf course and driving range; Windsor’s Rooster Run (only 10 minutes away) is a beautiful 7000 yard champion golf course and also available to the public. For a unique golfing experience
‘in the Redwoods’, Northwood Golf Club in Monte Rio (about ½ hour away) is a public 9 hole par 36 course. Many more excellent courses are available within a short drive.
Beautiful Coastal Areas:
Just a few miles south of Healdsburg on the 101, take River Road west, as it follows the winding Russian River through the Redwoods, and ends at the mouth of the Russian River, where it empties into the Pacific Ocean. Once there, you can travel north on
Highway 1, along the rugged and beautiful Sonoma County Coast to Jenner and then on a bit further, to Historic Fort Ross State Park.
Fort Ross was established by the Russian-American Company in 1812, for hunting and fur trading. This eastern-most outpost of Tsarist Russia, is now a California State Park whose restored buildings include a Stockade, the Commandant’s House, and a Russian
Orthodox Chapel. Still further north, you will travel through Sea Ranch and on to the historic, coastal towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg.
Travel south and enjoy the Sonoma Coast State Beach, a 17 mile string of public beaches, considered one of the most scenic and beautiful stretches of coastline in the state. Beach goers on the Sonoma Coast should come prepared with warm clothing as these beaches
can be foggy and/or windy, especially in the mornings.
The fishing port of Bodega Bay is just a little further south, with bayside restaurants featuring excellent seafood. Diners can watch fishing boats coming and going in the harbor. Ocean fishing trips are available year round and leave from Porto Bodega Marina.
Ever More Wine Country Adventures:
From Healdsburg, drive 1 hour north to Willits and board the Skunk Train for an incredible trip winding along a beautiful river, through the Redwoods and fern covered terrain, towards the ocean and Fort Bragg on the coast. Full or half day trips are truly
an exceptional experience, especially in the ‘open-air’ cars!
The Napa Wine Train (1 hour southeast) offers a fine wine and dining experience, as your luxury rail car travels through Napa County wine country. Balloon Rides offer a unique ‘bird’s-eye’ perspective of our lovely landscape and vineyards. A 400 acre Wildlife
Preserve, Safari West offers guided open-air jeep tours daily, by reservation. Home to over 400 mammals and birds, this lush oasis, less than 30 minutes south, offers an intimate exposure to exotic wildlife.
There are too many more adventures to detail here, but we are happy to explore your interests and provide advice and help with reservations.
For Lovers of Music and the Performing Arts:
Sonoma County is also very rich in culture and the arts. Local wineries offer many summer music events, and food and wine tastings. Jazz is offered in the lounge at the Hotel Healdsburg and at several other local venues. For the ‘classically’ inclined, chamber
music is presented periodically in town and the Santa Rosa Symphony performs regularly, nearby. Wells Fargo and Spreckles Centers for the Performing Arts are both just minutes away and attract music, theater and comedy.
Several community theater groups offer local productions and the Raven Performing Arts Theater in town, also hosts a variety of weekend events. San Francisco is only about an hour’s drive south, with many theaters, museums, cable cars, night clubs, restaurants,
Chinatown, the Fisherman’s Wharf and much, much more to enjoy.
With all of these choices and so much to do you may need several days and many return visits to enjoy all of the activities and adventures our lovely ‘paradise’ has to offer!!!