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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Sonoma in 2024 (Our Take)

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Sonoma in 2024 (Our Take)

What's the best time to visit Sonoma?

The best time to visit Sonoma in northern California is during summer and fall, when the weather is mild with temperatures in the mid-high 80s, and rain is scarce, ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the scenic coastline.

This period coincides with the wine harvest season, offering a unique experience with winery tours, grape harvesting, and local events like the Taste of Sonoma. Autumn remains warm and is perfect for hiking, “wiking” tours, and enjoying the vibrant fall foliage.

Sonoma in northern California is one of the state’s most beautiful destinations, renowned for its wine and for its rolling landscapes. One of the main draws of visiting Sonoma is the region’s famous wine producers, which boast over 500 vineyards that you can visit.

Even if you’re not someone that is normally a fan of wine, you’ll enjoy the lively gastronomy scene (and wine pairings) in the region, as well as the beautiful landscapes that are perfect for cycling, horseback riding, or just strolling.

Sonoma is a great place to go for a weekend getaway in California, especially if you time it properly. We’ll show you the best, least busy, cheapest, and worst times to visit below — let us be your guide!

The Overall Best Time to Visit Sonoma

Photo of a sunset over a vineyard in Sonoma framed by trees with orange hills in the background

SONOMA, CA, USA – SEPTEMBER 9, 2008: Sunset in Sonoma Wine country north of San Francisco in California, USA/Rolf_52/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Sonoma is in the summer and fall, when you will have the best weather for exploring and can also catch the wine harvest season.

Located in northern California, Sonoma has a mild climate that never gets cold, but also isn’t unbearably hot in the summer. According to U.S. Climate Data, summer temperatures are usually in the mid-high 80s.

Temperatures remain pleasant well into October, when the average high temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Summer and fall also have stable, mostly sunny weather.

Between June and September, Sonoma averages the least rain it receives all year, meaning that you have a pretty high chance of clear skies and sunny days.

While the weather in northern California is pretty fickle all year round, in the summer it’s mostly sunny, besides some fog near the Sonoma Coast. That makes summer the perfect season to explore the nature around Sonoma.

Check out the spectacular coastline at Salt Point State Park, or hike through the redwoods in one of the many protected preserves near Sonoma. Summer is the perfect time for hiking, camping, kayaking, diving, and many other outdoor activities.

Temperatures remain warm well into autumn, so you can continue to explore the beautiful nature that Sonoma has to offer. In fact, the official Sonoma County Regional Parks website recommends visiting in the autumn, when you can enjoy the warm weather and fall foliage.

Park authorities organize regular events such as tide pool hikes and yoga, and private tour companies organize “wiking” (wine plus hiking) tours that combine winery visits with hikes.

There’s a bigger reason to visit Sonoma in the fall than the parks, and that’s the wine. Fall is the peak season for winery tours because it’s the harvest season. You’ll get to see the grapes fat on the vine as well as the harvest process.

Many Sonoma wineries offer interactive experiences where you get to join in on grape harvesting and even stomping. Others throw parties to celebrate the harvest season.

Sonoma throws many events to celebrate wine in summer and fall, such as:

With so much to do and beautiful weather, you’ll soon see why Sonoma is a popular destination in summer and fall.

Cheapest Time to Visit Sonoma

Sun setting over the Pacific Highway in Sonoma County during the cheapest time to visit, gloomy season, with rocks protruding out from the still water

Lebig Volodymyr/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Sonoma is during the off-season, between November and early May, with deals particularly abounding in January and February.

Once the weather cools off, you enter Sonoma’s low season. Fewer people visit between November and May, meaning that demand for accommodation goes down. To adjust, hotels and home rentals lower their rates.

During the entire off-season, you can sometimes find hotels at 50% of the price they would be during the peak season. To save on other aspects of your trip, such as flights and car rentals, the best time to visit is in the middle of winter.

Flights within the United States, including to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, cost the least in January and February, after the holiday rush is over. If you are driving up from nearby San Francisco, winter is also the best season to visit.

The price of car rentals tends to decrease in the winter. If you’re planning a winter visit to save money, just make sure that you avoid popular holidays such as Valentine’s Day since prices tend to go up during this time.

Least Busy Time to Visit Sonoma

Fall vineyards near Healdsburg, California, pictured during the least busy time to visit Sonoma, the fall

Kara Jade Quan-Montgomery/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Sonoma is the off-season, between November and May, when cooler temperatures mean the atmosphere is much more low-key.

The weather in winter and spring in Sonoma is cooler and also more changeable, with frequent fog and rain storms. However, as long as you bundle up, you can still enjoy walks through the now-bare vineyards and on the beach.

For true lovers of wine and fine dining, the off-season is one of the best times to visit. Fewer crowds mean that you get a more intimate experience at wineries, with opportunities to truly talk to employees and owners.

Plus, the year’s new vintages are just starting to meet the tables. The off-season is a foodie’s dream in Sonoma.

You no longer have to reserve restaurants well in advance, but can dine in some of the finest places in the county. Seasonal delicacies such as Dungeness crab abound starting in November.

The region also hosts several events dedicated to food and drinks during the off-season, such as:

With fewer crowds, you’ll truly be able to enjoy the laid-back pace that Sonoma locals pride, and enjoy the natural beauty with fewer crowds.

Worst Time to Visit Sonoma

Hazy day over a vineyard in Sonoma during the winter, the worst time to visit


There is no bad time to visit Sonoma, although the cold weather of the winter may put some visitors off. Although Sonoma never truly gets cold, temperatures get cool in the winter and early spring.

Nighttime temperatures in January can dip down to 38 degrees Fahrenheit, while cool temperatures persist well into April. December, January, and February are also the rainiest months of the year, so you’ll need to pack an umbrella.

However, if you visit during the latter half of the off-season (March and April), the weather begins to warm up.

Although the weather is still unpredictable, you have higher chances of sunny days. As long as you bundle up appropriately for the weather, this is actually a beautiful time to be outdoors and discover that Sonoma is more than the wineries.

The forests are lush thanks to all the rain. Between January and April, you can also catch the region’s famous mustard blooms, when the wineries are carpeted in bright yellow flowers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wine barrels in a cave in Sonoma, pictured during the best time to visit with a gorgeous lush fall landscape

Kent Sorensen/Shutterstock

Still have questions about finding the best time to visit Sonoma? We’ve got the answers:

What is the best month to visit Sonoma Valley?

September is the best month to visit Sonoma Valley thanks to the beautiful, sunny weather, and because you’ll get to catch the beginning of the wine harvest.

When is the best time of year to visit California wine country?

Autumn is the best time of year to visit any part of California wine country. Fall is the harvest season and the weather is beautiful. If you want to save money, then winter is the best time to visit.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Sonoma?

The best time to visit Sonoma is during the high season, summer and fall. The weather is at its most beautiful, and the wineries are at their peak. However, winter also has its charms, including much lower prices. Happy travels!