With a prime location between the Pacific coast and Northern California wine country, the Sonoma County town of Sebastopol offers culinary and outdoor activities that represent the best of the region. Visitors enjoy the laid-back vibe of the town, which isn’t typically as crowded as wine country hotspots like Healdsburg and Sonoma.
Sebastopol sits right between State Route 1 and US Highway 101, the two main routes that wind through Sonoma County, making it easy to visit during your time in wine country whether you’re there for a day or a week. Bike tours are a popular way to explore, as are combination tours that include kayaking on the Russian River, 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of town.
Attractions in Sebastopol include Ragle Ranch Regional Park, which features hiking trails and picnic areas, and a walkable downtown district home to shops, restaurants, a tavern, and The Barlow, an outdoor marketplace. Most visitors pass through for a bite to eat on the way to the numerous surrounding wineries, such as Iron Horse Vineyards and Paul Hobbs Winery.
Things to know before you go
- If you plan to visit on a weekend, factor in time for traffic along US 101, as Sonoma County teems with Bay Area locals trying to get out of the city.
- Sebastopol Avenue between Main Street and Morris Street is the main commercial area where you’ll find the majority of businesses.
- Plan for rain if you visit in the winter and temperatures that can go well above 90°F (32°C) in the summer.
How to get there
Sebastopol is 15 minutes from Santa Rosa along Highway 12, to the west of US Highway 101, and bus line 20 connects the two. If you’re coming from the coast, you can reach the town via Bodega Highway. Sebastopol is 55 miles (88 kilometers) north of San Francisco.
When to get there
Summer and fall are the busy seasons in the Sonoma area, so you can expect crowded wineries and sold-out accommodations during this time but also the most events and fully open attractions. The biggest event in Sebastopol is the Gravenstein Apple Fair, held every August.
Made up of 18 industrial buildings across four city blocks, The Barlow outdoor market district is Sebastopol’s hip gathering place where you can peruse tasting rooms, breweries, restaurants, and shops that highlight the most current arts, crafts, goodies, and produce from Sonoma County.