Santa Rosa is a huge city and part of Sonoma county and Napa city is part of Napa county I would do Napa valley so do read up about Napa valley at visitnapavalley.com or stay in Healdsburg or Sonoma instead
Each city had a forum and a section called things to do. Sacramento is the state capital and has a nice museum
Why not go to the state forum read top questions and post your overall itinerary. SF needs 3-4 full daysEdited: 16 January 2016, 05:12
In terms of wineries, Sonoma will have more smaller wineries and generally less expensive tasting prices.
Napa is a valley with several cities in it. Napa is at the south end of the valley; Calistoga on the north end.
While there are some smaller wineries, many are very large with more expensive tasting fees than Napa.
Both areas are delightful to visit.
If you want to combine your trip with winery visit, seeing Armstrong Redwoods State Park, and seeing the Pacific ocean (Jenner to Bodega Bay - famous for Alfred Hitchcock the Birds Movie), then Sonoma is a better choice. Healdsburg is a more charming town than Santa Rosa. Sebastopol is also a nice place to stay close to Santa Rosa with less expensive lodging. It has a charming downtown area.
For historical places to stay in Sonoma, then the Sonoma Plaza area is very nice.
In terms of wineries there are so many.
Some do tours. If in Sonoma, Benziger is a popular place to go.
St. Francis has a superb wine and food pairing.
In Napa, there are several good tours.
Mondavi does a very good overview of Napa Valley if interested in finding out more about the entire region.
There are so many fun things to do in either area there is no best place to go....
either would be delightful.
Santa Rosa is a large town/small city and not a place I'd recommend for visiting wine country. But there are loads of places in Sonoma county to stay that are in wine country. Napa county has Napa town, St. Helena and Yountville.
Sacramento has an old town but after that, not much in the way of tourism.
If you post your itinerary on the CA forum, along with who is in your travel group, your dates and the things you want to see we can probably give better advice. For example, Fresno isn't a place people flock to. Neither is Sacto. But the perspective of your entire trip would be helpful.Edited: 16 January 2016, 17:25
We went last summer and planned on splitting a week between Napa and Sonoma (cities). After visiting both areas we wound up cancelling the Napa reservation and extending our stay in Sonoma. The reason being it was closer to the types of wine were were looking for. I like zins and the wine in Dry Creek was fantastic. We also like chards - and were delighted with the RR wines. We found the city of Napa to be huge and Sonoma to be more walkable for us.
We are going back this summer and I'll preface that we are using hotel points. Having hotel points may not mean we stay in charming B&B's. However 'free nights' = more wine shipped home:) We have chosen Santa Rosa for a portion of our week due to it being centrally located to many areas conducive to this year's quest of finding awesome chards. We can hit Sebastopol, Carneros, Chalk Hill, Healdsburg... And still come home to a great selection of restaurants and (sacrilege I know) craft beers. We are also thinking of going to hike the Redwoods, eat oysters on the coast and visit a portion of the Cheese Trail. For us, those are more accessible from Santa Rosa than Sonoma and definitely easier than base camping in Napa.
Personally, I would not squeeze in Sacramento - we spent a solid week in wine county and are flying back again because we haven't fully explored the area.
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