Sonoma Coast State Park#5 in Best Things To Do in Sonoma
Sonoma Coast State Park is a swath of land that extends for nearly 20 miles along the Pacific Ocean from Bodega Head to Vista Trail. A number of sandy beaches, rugged shorelines and coastal prairies dot the area. Although a number of gorgeous beaches line the park, the California Department of Parks and Recreation doesn't recommend swimming as the waters are rough. Still, rock fishing, surf fishing and beach combing are popular activities here.
Visitors say the rugged shoreline and crashing waves at Sonoma Coast State Park are pretty awe-inspiring. They also recommend taking advantage of the trails that crisscross the park.
Although it bears the Sonoma name, the park is located about an hour's drive northwest of central Sonoma in Jenner, California. You can access the park from several points on Highway 1 between Jenner and Bodega Bay. You'll find the Salmon Creek Ranger Station halfway between the South Salmon beach parking lot and the North Salmon beach parking lot off of Highway 1. The park charges $8 per vehicle for day use. For more information, visit the Sonoma Coast State Park's website.
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#1 Sonoma Plaza
Centered in the heart of town, the historic Sonoma Plaza is a must-do. Once a Mexican military station and a Spanish mission village, the 8-acre park is now lined with more than 100 shops, dozens of eateries, and more than 20 tasting rooms. What's more, it's a National Historic Monument. Recent visitors highly recommended spending some time here window shopping, wine tasting, dining and even letting the kids run around the on-site playground. Reviewers said the plaza's atmosphere is both charming and family-friendly, and they suggested visiting on a Tuesday morning to take advantage of the weekly farmers market.
Sonoma Plaza is located in central Sonoma. Restaurants and shops have varying opening and closing times. Street parking is available, but with three-hour limits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For extended parking options, consider leaving your vehicle in one of the free all-day lots located nearby, such as the one at First Street East, located across from the mission. For more information, visit Sonoma Plaza's website.
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