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My family vacation is over, and my individual adventure begins. I was lucky enough to spend 8 days in Jenner, CA with my parents and some extended family, although I missed my little brother a ton and wish he had been able to join us. Here are my 5 recommendations of things to do if you’re in Sonoma County! 
Go wine tasting in Dry Creek Valley near Healdsburg, CA:
The last time my family went wine-tasting, I was about 14 and not allowed to drink. Although I tasted a few wines there, it obviously didn’t compare to the full experience of driving from winery to winery, sipping from glasses and dumping out the untasted wine to prepare for the next taste.
Vineyards at Wilson Wineries

Wine barrels at Ferrari-Cardano
Explore Petaluma, CA:
On the day we drove in to Sonoma County, we happened upon a farmers’ market in Petaluma’s Walnut Square. There, we found a delightful and delicious assortment of vegetables, fruit, cheeses, hummus, bread and more.
Chocolate!
On one of my last days in the area, we went to Petaluma and got to walk around the main part of the town; there are so many great boutiques, antique stores, book shops, food (including a killer chocolate shop! Viva Cocolat!) and we even got to the movie theatre. Petaluma seems to have the comforts of a bigger place with the feel of a small town.
Walk through the Armstrong Redwoods outside of Guerneville, CA:
Be inspired by the strength and antiquity of these incredible trees. There are hikes and walks ranging from .5 miles of easy trail to strenuous 9 mile treks for the fittest of hikers. Admire the stillness and light filtering through the gargantuan flora.
Hang out with the seals in Jenner, CA:
View of the Russian River in Jenner, CA
Okay, so maybe “hang out” isn’t the right term, but “admire from afar” may suit. Drive down to Goat Rock Beach and walk to the jetty to inspect the seals (from the appropriate distance, mind you!) or rent a kayak and paddle to the nearby shore for the same privilege. The Nature Channel up close and personal, seriously! I, for one, never knew what weird croaking noises seals made until I heard them in person.
Survey the surf along the Sonoma Coast Trail in Sonoma County, CA:
Whether the fog is rolling in like a scene from a Hitchcock or it’s blue skies as far as the eye can see, it’s worth walking any of the paths that connect the beaches along the coast. We drove to Grill Way and walked about a mile south, all the while gawking at the beautiful view of the coastline. Even in the fog, it was impressive. Trails are well marked, and can vary in length; if you want, you can even connect it with your seal hangout by walking the path that goes all the way to Goat Rock Beach!
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