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How to Enjoy Sonoma Wine Country…Sober

Updated: Mar 17, 2023 11:44
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A beautiful view of Sonoma County

Yes, you really can do Sonoma Wine Country sober! Photo by Carles Rabada via Unsplash+

As a Sonoma Valley native who left as a drinker, and came back as one who isn’t, I’ve found it to be an interesting place to be sober. My days of grabbing a bottle of wine, or two…or three, and heading down to the plaza with my friends are no more. Well, at least the way I used to go about it. At first I found it to be a bit ironic living in Sonoma Wine Country sober, but I’ve come to realize that it’s all about your perspective. Good news is the hills are just as beautiful whether you’re drinking regular, or non-alcoholic wine.

For those visiting or staying a bit longer, it’s nice to know there are options available that don’t end up with a hangover.

Because wine country is so spread out, I wanted to focus on just Sonoma County. Here are some of my own recommendations worth considering:

Haraszthy Villa in Bartholomew Park is a neat place to visit while in wine country sober

Haraszthy Villa in Bartholomew Park is a neat place to visit while in wine country sober. Photo by SueA via Wikimedia Commons

With so much beauty outdoors, it would be a waste not to take advantage of the hiking available. Just off the plaza in Sonoma is Bartholomew Park. Yes it’s a part of a winery, but if you can manage not to wander into their tasting room, they have a magical-like trail in their backyard. Whether it’s a foggy morning or a sunny day, you get a certain type of energy in this space that makes you want to come back. And if you want to hang out longer? Pack a lunch and bring a blanket as they have tons of space to lounge around in the grass and enjoy the sun.

Next door is the small town of Glen Ellen, where you have the more well known Jack London State Historic Park. Here you get a combo of the gorgeous outdoors, with a mix of history. But if you’re feeling something even more low key, just head down the road to the Sonoma Valley Regional Park; an easy walk around the reservoir with some stunning mountain views. And while you’re out there, try to meet a local that can tell you where some of the hidden trails are. They’re not explicitly a secret, but if everyone knew where they were it wouldn’t be as special – it’s worth investigating!

Lupines in a meadow, Annadel State Park, Santa Rosa, California, USA

Lupines in a meadow, Trione-Annadel State Park. Photo by Brian Michelsen via Wikimedia Commons

The fourth place is Trione-Annadel State Park. I’ve explored just one of their trails recently, but there are several others to wander around in. With a lot to offer, you can take an easy stroll at the bottom, push yourself for more of a hike towards the top, or even go mountain biking. I took my girlfriend here for Valentine’s Day and we enjoyed an adorable picnic with some non-alcoholic beers along the Spring Lake trail. Another option nearby, if you’re willing to spend a couple bucks, is Lake Ralphine in Howarth Park. Here you can picnic and/or rent some paddle boats, canoes, or kayaks.

For some additional affordable options for doing Sonoma Wine Country sober, you can head out to Guerneville and hangout by the Russian River. Offering up some banks to sun bathe on, or several places to rent canoes and kayaks, it can be an absolute beauty to look at alongside the redwoods. Just be aware it can get a little rowdy on those super hot days during the summer – but who says you can’t be sober and float down the lazy river too?

People eating and drinking outside at Hopmonk Sonoma

Photo of Hopmonk Sonoma from their Instagram

At night your best bet for doing Sonoma Wine Country sober is looking for some live music. There’s usually something going on at any of the local Hopmonks (a collection tavern and beer houses) in Sonoma County. Or my personal favorite is walking down the cobble stone alley to sit at Murphy’s Irish Pub in Sonoma. I more recently discovered their new non-alcoholic cocktail list while listening to some local female bands on National Women’s Day.

Lastly, if you’re feeling a little boujee you will always have something to do. Get some facials or massages at places like the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, The Lodge at Sonoma Resort, or The Spa at MacArthur, just to name a few. There’s also hot air ballooning and bi-plane flying for the adventurous. Or some adorable olive oil tastings at McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma for those seeking a relaxing day with some substance.

So, if you’re sober, sober curious, alcohol free, or simply having a little break from the no-no juice, and you’re out in the vineyards – just know you’ve got some things to do too. I think Sonoma County has a little something to offer that could tickle anyone’s fancy, free to boujee.

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Kaitlyn Morrison

Kaitlyn Morrison

Kaitlyn Morrison (they/she) is a Sonoma County native with a lot of feelings. They like to write about queer things, feminist shit, and whatever else comes to mind on their blog

1 Comment

  1. BigO
    March 17, 2023 at 10:53 am — Reply

    boujee? * Bourgeois? Lol 😂
    I love Sonoma sober and they have some great 12 step groups for anyone who wants some help putting the plug in the jug. Getting out and enjoying nature is one of my favorite activities. Thank you for sharing your ideas!

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