The county of Sonoma is second only to Italy’s Tuscany region as the “Best Wine Vacation” destination, according to U.S. News & World Report travel rankings revealed June 20.
Napa came in third.
“Often overlooked in favor of neighboring Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley offers an equally impressive landscape and collection of vineyards for a wine vacation,” the report said. “And with delicious Californian food served at top-tier restaurants and hotels, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave. In short, if you want a laid-back introduction to stellar vintages and gorgeous properties, Sonoma — rather than Napa — should be your California wine country destination.”
Sonoma also ranked No. 7 on the publication’s “Best Places to Visit in the U.S.A.” list.
See all the rankings here.
The city of Sonoma also came out on top of “Best Small Towns in the U.S.A.,” which looks at locales with populations under 100,000.
It was followed by Breckenridge, Colorado, which earned high marks for its family-friendliness and abundance of year-round outdoor activities, and Asheville, North Carolina, which draws travelers with its up-and-coming dining scene and close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Sonoma is “known for its romantic atmosphere and charming wineries. At the heart of one of the America’s best winemaking regions, this Northern California town boasts all the charms of a rustic yet refined locale without the crowds and high price tags of its larger neighbor, Napa. Before heading to the wineries, spend the day exploring the shops and restaurants along the 8-acre Sonoma Plaza,” the report said.
The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on an analysis of expert and user opinions, according to the magazine’s announcement.