fun to do kids sonoma california   Travel for Kids
  | California | Wine Country | Sonoma Valley


sonoma plaza

The town of Sonoma, at the southern end of the Sonoma Valley, is rich in 19th century California history, but also has hiking trails minutes from downtown, bike trails, Train Town steam train, farmers markets, plenty of family restaurants, and a shady plaza to picnic and relax.

Sonoma Photo Album
sonoma photo album
    Sonoma State Historic Park
    Sonoma Hiking Trails

Sonoma Plaza – Sonoma Plaza is an oasis on a hot summer's day. Relax on the grass under leafy shade trees, on park benches and outdoor tables, or in two large playgrounds with climbing structures and swings. The duck pond is fun for little kids, especially the baby ducks. (If you're picnicking on the grass, look out for ducks waddling your direction, hungry for handouts.)

      You never can tell what you'll find at the plaza. On the weekends you might see a beautifully groomed two-humped camel (the owner will let you pet it), an ox roast picnic, or vintage cars. On July 4th, a big old-fashioned celebration with parade, Tuesday night is farmers market May to October.
sonoma bike bath
Rent bikes – Rent bikes and go for a bike ride around town and into the surrounding countryside. Near the plaza you can rent bikes at Wine Country Cyclery on West Napa Street or Sonoma Valley Bike Tours on Broadway.

Our favorite bike route: From the plaza, bike east on Lovall Valley Rd. to Castle Rd. to the Bartholomew Park Winery. Bring a picnic lunch (picnic tables under the trees). Bike back down to the Sonoma Valley Bike Trail, and bike west, past Depot Park and Vallejo Home, to Maxwell Farms Regional Park.

      There's more bike routes around town, such as the Nathanson Creek Trail (also can combine with the Sonoma Valley Trail). Pick up bike maps at the Visitor's Bureau in the plaza.
    Mini golf – Next to Maxwell Farms Regional Park, stop into Sonoma Fun Center for 18 holes of mini golf. One hole is decorated with the Sonoma Mission, play the ball through door.

Depot Park – Depot Park surrounds the old Sonoma train depot, now a small museum. The unused tracks are still there, and a rust red caboose and dusty orange freight cars sit out front.

      In the Depot Park Museum, kids can ring a train bell, try their hand at Morse code, punch a ticket, listen to an antique music box. Check out exhibits of 19th century life in Sonoma: Victorian kitchen, dining room, schoolroom, parlor, and don't miss the hunting souvenir – grizzly bear feet! Museum is free.

The park also has shaded picnic tables, toddlers can play in the small playground.

sonoma train town
TrainTown (on Hwy 12, south of Sonoma Plaza) – Take a 20 min. ride on the Sonoma TrainTown Railroad, a pint-size steam train that rolls through a 10 acre park, past a waterfall and small lake. Along the way, there's a stop at the petting zoo, where you can feed fluffy llamas, goats, sheep and rabbits. Train Town also has amusement rides, perfect for little ones, and carousel, and ferris wheel.
harvest festival cornerstone sonoma
  Cornerstone Gardens & Marketplace (Arnold Rd.) – We first visited Cornerstone gardens for an October harvest festival (see video).
    Each garden is different. In the Sonoma Children's Garden are colorful birdhouses and rows of vines inviting kids to run through. Humming bees land on colorful flowers in the Pollinator Garden. This is a great spot to relax with a picnic lunch (picnic tables are available), there's also a cafe in the marketplace on weekends.
      November to January, sometimes an ice skating rink, and charming display of plastic snowmen and penguins, under bright sun and blue sky on a winter day in wine country.

Fun food

Ice cream shops
sweet scoops
    Sweet ScoopsHomemade ice cream in delicious flavors such as "alotachocolata" with chunks of chocolate, strawberry, oreos and cream, horchata, cupcake, peach, and more. Ice cream cones come in double, single or "tiny " scoop sizes.

Take your ice cream across the street to shady Sonoma Plaza.

michoacana ice cream

La Michoacana ice cream (18945 Hwy 12) – Tropical ice cream, sherbet flavors- try guava, mango, lime, coconut, strawberry, choco coco, Mexican vanilla, plus slushy fruit drinks and popsicles (paletas).

Farmers Markets

Valley of the Moon Farmers Market – In Sonoma Plaza, Tuesday nights, plan on a picnic supper, stock up on local goodies, and listen to music. May to October 5:30pm - dusk.


Sonoma Valley Farmers Market – Locally grown fruits and vegetables, breads and baked goods, everything you need for a picnic. Fridays 9:00am – noon (year-round), in the Arnold Field parking lot, across from Depot Park.

family hotels sonoma california
Travel for Kids has lots of fun things to do with kids in Sonoma, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels in Sonoma Valley and West County, all styles and price ranges, near to places you'll want to explore:

Sonoma Valley family hotels
sonoma vacation rentals

A house rental has lots of advantages for families – full kitchen and dining area, swimming pool, washer and dryer, and more.

Sonoma County family vacation rentals
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