1. Jack London State Historic Park, in Glenn Ellen, is the perfect destination for daytrippers. 29 miles of trails to explore coupled with a fascinating history make for a memorable landmark. You can keep it short and sweet or spend the whole day tromping around. If you want to your sojourn even more special, take a tour, ride a horse or bring a picnic.
2. A great place to stay for a night, or two, is the L&M Motel in Healdsburg. Charmingly updated, yet affordable, this family-owned spot is an easy walk to the town’s square, easily one of the quaintest places in the entire state of California. The outdoor spaces the motel offers to guests make hanging out in between other activities particularly attractive. Chill at the fire pit, go for a swim in the pool, or lounge in the sauna. You can even bring your dog.
3. One of the best burger joints on the planet, Gott’s Roadside in St. Helena may just turn into your favorite meal ever if you eat it after an exertive day outside. Order a Point Reyes blue cheese burger, a side of chili-dusted sweet potato fries and a half bottle of Cabernet Franc and marvel at your good fortune.
4. If glamour is your thing, hit up the Francis Ford Coppola Vineyard and rent yourself a cabine poolside, baller-style. Or just lounge in the swimming area bursting with glorious fountains and pretend you’re Sophia Loren. Sunbathe or escape under an umbrella and order yourself a drink from the bar – perhaps a Sofia Brut Rose Mini. Food is also available from the bar.
5. Another fabulous place to stay is the Hotel Petaluma, smack dab in the middle of the newly chic downtown Petaluma. Built in 1923, this boutique hotel showcases lots of gorgeous, historical features, like the phenomenal lobby and old-school elevator, while providing thoughtful updates, like an oyster bar and fluffy duvet covers. Come for a weekend and have your pick of delicious local fare.
6. The Oxbow Public Market, in Napa, opened to great fanfare about ten years ago, and for good reason. Filled with interesting and forward-thinking things to eat, from ground buffalo tacos at C Casa, to a beef bacon BLT at Five Dot Ranch and Cookhouse, the selection will definitely make it hard for you to choose. Try a few places and share. Or, if you’re in the mood, grab picnic fixin’s and go on an adventure. You’ll find everything you need for a very upscale packed lunch.
7. Walk yourself back through time to the lighthouse in Point Reyes. Constructed in 1870, the building is about a half mile from the parking lot but feels much further away from today’s fast-paced reality. The views of the coastline and the Pacific are spectacular and, if you’re lucky, you might just spy a whale. The nearby Visitor Center offers up maritime history for those interested in shipwrecks, wildlife, and the world of lighthouse-keeping. Longer hikes await those with more ambition.
8. For as little as $79.00 a night, consider renting one of the cabin campsites in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Regional Park. If you can’t quite do camping, but feel up for glamping, the sites are quite beautiful, nestled in an oak woodland above the lake. The park also boasts a summer swimming lagoon, 10 miles of trails, fishing and even paddle rentals. You’re also just a short jaunt from the Summerfield Cinemas, a theater that shows consistently great films. Now that’s my kind of camping!
9. Kitted out with a spacious outdoor beer garden, Brewster’s in Petaluma feels very up-to-the-moment, situated on the freshly resuscitated riverfront. As the home page for the restaurant so intriguingly puts it, Southern Carolina BBQ comes to play with California produce. With amenities like a bocce court, children’s playground and live music, not to mention a dog-friendly attitude, you’d be hard pressed to come up with an eventuality Brewster’s hasn’t anticipated and executed to perfection.
10. The most expensive idea on this list is The Napa Valley Wine Train, but it is definitely worth splurging on. The 100-year-old cars run on 150-year-old tracks through historic California wine country. The Gourmet Dinner Tour serves up a four-course meal right at sunset, making for a very romantic evening for two.