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California Wine Country & the Pacific Coast

Discover California’s glorious wine counties of Sonoma and Napa and delight in bicycle rides among stately redwood groves, rolling hillside vineyards, and along the rugged coast of the Pacific Ocean.

  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 18 - 44 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 1/2 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy / Moderate

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

California Wine Country & the Pacific Coast

The dramatic coastline, towering redwoods, and vineyard-laden hills that dot our dreamy landscape beckon us to discover one of the world’s premier wine regions. California’s renowned Sonoma and Napa counties are the perfect playground for cyclists and oenophiles alike, as we bike between charming towns and award-winning wineries with soothing Pacific breezes at our backs.  Taste the region’s agricultural bounty during wine and olive oil tastings before dining on fresh and flavorful Californian cuisine. After a rewarding day on the road, we’ll relax in luxurious hotels both on the coast and in historic centers of California’s Wine Country, Healdsburg and Sonoma.

Cultural Highlights

  • Taste some of the country’s best wine during included tours of prestigious vineyard estates
  • Cycle through an 800-acre preserve of coast redwoods—the tallest tree species on earth
  • Tour a local olive oil mill and enjoy a tasting
  • Discover the town of Healdsburg, the epicenter of the Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley AVA’s
  • Take in stunning Pacific Coast views from the seat of your bike or the comfort of our inn overlooking Bodega Bay

What to Expect

This tour offers mostly easy terrain with the occasional rolling hill and the opportunity for some longer rides. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available throughout the trip. Average Daily Mileage: 18 – 44 miles Average Cycling Time: 2 – 4 1/2 hours

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Sonoma Apr 72°  May 78°  Jun 86°  Jul 86°  Aug 89°  Sep 87°  Oct 80°  Nov 67°  Dec 59° Average Rainfall (in.) – Sonoma Apr 4.3  May 1.5  Jun 1  Jul 0  Aug 0  Sep 0  Oct 1.5  Nov 4  Dec 4

What’s Included:

  • 5 nights in superb Californian inns
  • 11 meals – 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • Transfers
  • Tour and tasting at a local olive oil press
  • Wine tasting and picnic at Madonna Estate Winery and wine tasting at Chateau St. Jean
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
  • The option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip or Post-trip: San Francisco – 2 nights for only $345
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Land Only Single Supplement: $545

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
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.

Another option is to join our shuttle from The Fairmont San Francisco. Please be outside the hotel entrance at 1:15 pm. The shuttle will be coming from the airport with arriving VBT guests. Please allow for traffic delays. The shuttle will depart at 1:30 pm. The shuttle bus will carry “Pure Luxury” titles, and the driver will be holding a VBT sign. If you are not onboard when this shuttle departs, you must make your own arrangements to reach MacArthur Place.  If you are not a guest of The Fairmont San Francisco, please respect that some facilities and services are reserved for hotel guests only.

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’ll dine at Saddles Steakhouse, rated the “Best Beef Restaurant in California” by the California Beef Council. (There will be delicious non-beef options, too!)

Hotel: MacArthur Place
Meals: D
Daily Options: 4 miles

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. The Los Carneros area 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, we’ll partake in a private olive oil tasting at a local shop. Afterwards, 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.

Hotel: MacArthur Place
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 16 or 32 miles

DAY 3: Valley of the Moon / Glen Ellen / Kenwood / Bodega Bay

After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll 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’ll cycle to the town of Kenwood, where lunch is on your own today; you can pick up something in Glen Ellen and enjoy it in the setting of a local park. After lunch, we’ll continue to 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. 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.

Hotel: Inn at the Tides
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 14 or 16 miles

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’ll 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.

Hotel: h2hotel
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 25 or 44 miles

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’s 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.

Hotel: h2hotel
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 20 miles

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.

Hotel: Fairmont San Francisco
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 19 miles

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Accommodations

Inn at the Tides

The inn’s rooms are built along a hillside, with views over Bodega Bay, and feature either a balcony or a fireplace. There is a heated swimming pool and hot tub for guest’s use. The inn is perfectly situated for a one-night stop along the coast in Sonoma.

MacArthur Place

MacArthur Place is a luxurious 64-room hotel and spa set in the midst of wineries, fine dining, shops, and unique galleries. Just a short 15-minute drive from the Napa Valley and 45 minutes from San Francisco, the inn is convenient to both Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley wineries.
Free WiFi Included

h2hotel

A glimpse of the undulating green roof of h2hotel signals your arrival in historic downtown Healdsburg, the heart of Northern Sonoma Wine Country. The sister property to the acclaimed luxury Hotel Healdsburg, h2hotel is a sustainable inn, where Architect David Baker’s simple modern aesthetic meets comfortable rusticity in a stylish wine country retreat.
Free WiFi Included
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