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Biking Vacation California Wine Country & the Pacific Coast​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 18 – 44 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 – 4 1/2 hr
Land only
6 days from only
$2095
Pre-trip Extension:
San Francisco · 2 nights $345

Post-trip Extension:
San Francisco · 2 nights $345
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Sonoma

VBT Bike Tour guests: VBT will offer a shuttle from San Francisco International Airport to MacArthur Place in Sonoma, departing the airport at 1:00 pm. If you are arriving after this shuttle departs or your flight is delayed, you must make your own arrangements to reach MacArthur Place. 

Please meet the shuttle at the San Francisco International Airport in Courtyard #1, outside of Terminal #1. There are signs in the baggage claim area that read “CHARTER BUSES.” Follow them to the extreme end of Terminal 1 (with your back to the baggage carousels and facing the exit doors, you will turn LEFT). Exit the building and continue in the same direction along the pavement until you see the “Courtyard 1” sign. It will be on your left-hand side. Your shuttle bus will carry “Pure Luxury” titles, and the driver will be holding a VBT sign. The driver and vehicle will not pull into the courtyard until 1:00 pm.

For guests driving to the tour, parking is available for the six days without charge at MacArthur Place. Please check-in with your leaders who will let you know where to leave your car.

VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: You have another morning to enjoy San Francisco. At 1:30 pm, the shuttle company will meet and transfer you to MacArthur Place. Please be outside the hotel at 1:15 pm. The shuttle will be coming from the airport with arriving VBT guests. Please allow for traffic delays.

We meet at MacArthur Place, located in Sonoma, California. Sonoma's rustic surroundings, amid the backdrop of a dynamic wine region, is home to award-winning wineries, stately redwoods, magnificent coastlines, the Infineon Raceway, and plenty of shopping. Upon checking in at MacArthur Place, ask at the reception desk for your welcome package, full of information you might find useful on tour. After settling in, meet your Trip Leaders at 3:30 pm for a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a short warm-up ride and introduction to the charming town plaza. Tonight, we dine at Saddles Steakhouse, rated the "Best Beef Restaurant in California" by the California Beef Council. (There will be delicious non-beef options, too!)

Day 2 - Madonna Estate Winery / Sonoma

Our morning cycling takes us from the inn southeast along back roads to enter the Carneros district. Renowned for its still and sparkling wines, this area of low hills and flatlands follows the San Pablo Bay from east to west. The wineries benefit from the ocean air, as it enables them to grow cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This area, also known as Los Carneros, is a viticulture region stretching across the cool lower reaches of Sonoma and Napa Counties. The word carneros means “sheep” in Spanish, and the slopes now covered with vines were once thought to be good only as pasture. We will pause here to enjoy a picnic lunch and tasting at Madonna Estate Winery before continuing back to Sonoma. This afternoon, enjoy free time to continue exploring more wineries, browse Sonoma's shops and galleries, or relax in the pool or spa at MacArthur Place.

Tonight, dinner is on your own at one of Sonoma's fine restaurants. There are many options for dinner on the town plaza. Your Trip Leaders will be happy to help with recommendations and directions.

Day 3 - Valley of the Moon / Glen Ellen / Kenwood / Bodega Bay

After a leisurely breakfast, we start our day with a ride from Sonoma through the Valley of the Moon. This region received its name from the Native Americans, who first noticed that as the moon ascends in the evening sky, it appears to rise again and again over the peaks and glens of the Mayacamas mountain range. 

This morning, we stop at a local olive press for a tour of the facility and a tasting. Continuing on, we cycle to the town of Kenwood, arriving at the beautiful Chateau St. Jean Winery, with its surrounding vineyards and lush, manicured grounds. The estate's landscaping was inspired by formal estate gardens in Italy and France. We will visit the Vineyard Room for a tasting. Lunch is on your own today; you can pick up something in Glen Ellen or purchase something from the Charcuterie at Chateau St. Jean. After lunch, we will board a shuttle for the 90-minute transfer to Bodega Bay.

Our lodging for the night is the Inn at the Tides. Offering stunning views of the bay, the inn is perfectly located for our one-night stopover on the coast. You may wish to take a swim in the inn's pool or relax in the hot tub before dinner. Tonight, we'll dine at the inn.

Day 4 - Armstrong Redwoods / Healdsburg

This morning, we'll have breakfast on the wharf at The Tides Restaurant, which was made famous by Alfred Hitchcock's film The Birds. The Tides Wharf Restaurant and parking area were used for the movie's gas station, café, and boat dock scenes. The Tides complex has been expanded and remodeled several times since the filming.

After breakfast, we start our day with a ride from Bodega Bay, following the coastline for ten miles before heading inland toward Guerneville. This morning's ride offers beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, and as you ride, you'll enjoy the soothing sound of the pounding surf. 

Upon reaching Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, you'll be surrounded by the towering redwoods that are protected here. A testament to the wonder of the natural world, the grove offers solace from the hustle and bustle of daily life, bestowing great inspiration and a place for quiet reflection.

Our stop here gives us the opportunity to marvel at the stately and magnificent Sequoia sempervirens. Commonly known as the coast redwood, it is the tallest living object on our planet. These remarkable trees live to be 500-1,000 years old, grow to a diameter of 12-16 feet, and stand from 200-250 feet tall. Some trees survive more than 2,000 years and tower above 350 feet. Coast redwood stands are classified as temperate rainforests, and they need wet and mild climates to survive. The rainfall in the Armstrong Redwoods Reserve averages 55 inches per year, and the trees are often shrouded in a mystical fog that helps to maintain the moist conditions needed for their survival.

Following our picnic lunch, we'll continue by bike or shuttle to our lodgings in the center of Healdsburg, where we'll have the rest of the day to settle in and explore the town. This vibrant town is known for its historic downtown plaza, which has long been enjoyed as an event and performance site. Visit the museum, stroll along the river though Railroad Park or perhaps explore one of the galleries showcasing local paintings, photography, glassware, and jewelry. This evening, choose one of town's great restaurants for your dinner.

Day 5 - Explore Russian River Valley / Healdsburg

Today takes us on a ride through the kingdom of Pinot Noir. The beautiful west side and east side rides of the Russian River Valley will delight you with striking views of lush, productive vineyards. The Russian River Valley climate is sculpted by the regular intrusion of cooling fog from the Pacific Ocean. Much like the tide, it ebbs and flows through the Petaluma Wind Gap and the channel cut by the Russian River. The fog usually arrives in the evening, often dropping the temperature 35 to 40 degrees from its daytime high. The mist retreats to the ocean the following morning. This natural air-conditioning allows the grapes to develop full flavor maturity over an extended growing season—often 15 to 20 percent longer than neighboring areas—while retaining their life-giving natural acidity.

All riding will be before lunch, which is on your own in the town of Healdsburg. Then, take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a swim or paddle in the river at Veterans Memorial Beach, or take a plunge in our inn's pool.

Tonight, rejoin the group for a farewell dinner at the inn.

Day 6 - Cycle Dry Creek Valley / Depart for home

After breakfast, today's route takes us through the Dry Creek Valley, a beautiful, winding landscape with another unique microclimate. Although it seems to be the same altitude, you might be surprised to spot a redwood grove while cycling, then round another turn and find oaks—or even palm trees and cactus! Along the way, you may wish to visit a few notable wineries like Everett Ridge Winery or Quivira Biodynamic Winery.

Return to our inn for a shower and lunch before our shuttle to San Francisco International Airport at 2:00 pm. We recommend a flight out of San Francisco no earlier than 6:00 pm.

If you parked your car at the start of the tour, the VBT van will transfer you back to Sonoma.

VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: The shuttle from the h2hotel in Healdsburg to San Francisco International Airport will stop en route at the Fairmont San Francisco. Explore the city at your leisure. Refer to the City Information section, included at the end of your Final Travel Booklet, for useful ideas to make the most of your time in San Francisco.
 
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