Wine, Whales, and Redwoods for New Year's?

Jun 2nd, 2007, 01:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 156
Wine, Whales, and Redwoods for New Year's?

I'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip to the SF-ish area for New Year's and could use some help. Looking into a few things as my topic suggested: wine tasting, whale watching, and hiking/checking out some redwoods during our 5/6 day stay.

My first concern: weather. I keep checking into averages and am not sure if I'm being realistic for wanting to hike during the winter? Have been looking into Big Basin, Muir Woods, or if we end up further south, Big Sur. We're fine with bundling up and love hiking but will it be too cold/rainy to be enjoyable?

Now... I'm trying to figure out exactly where would be the best to stay. It seems that Monterray area would be the best for whale watching (and not too too far from Big Sur/Big Basin?), but that Sonoma/Healdsburg/Russian River area is best for wine. Is there a happy medium? Or would it be best to split up our time and stay different places? I'm sure we'll get a rental car.

I searched and googled whale watching and came across a few tours, but wasn't sure if anyone had taken one the same time of year we're planning our trip? Good/bad experiences?

Sorry for the amount of questions, just kinda trying to figure out where to start!

Thank you in advance for your help!
kalikiana is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3,051
You can accomplish all of that in Sonoma County. Armstrong Redwoods is a great old grove Redwood forest, right near Guerneville in the Russian River area. From there, drive about half an hour to Bodega Bay. There are whale watch tours out of Bodega Bay. Lots of great wineries in the area.
Grassshopper is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,507
If you are looking to see the grey whale migration from shore, PT Reyes National Seashore is supposed to be a good spot, and it's quite close to the Sonoma wine country, as well as redwoods. There is nice hiking in open country within the National Seashore area.

If you want to take a whale-watching boat, Monterey is probably the best place for that. There must be wineries there someplace, because we are seeing lots of Chardonney from that area.

enzian is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 02:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,854
Having lived in the SF Bay area since 1988, now in Sonoma County, I will offer
that there's is a good chance for rain-
and if it's alot of rain the Russian River will flood-I have seen it many,many times. So, I don't think I can support the idea of staying in Guerneville at that time of year.

Grasshopper is right about the many wineries in the area, so how about Healdsburg instead ? or Pt. Reyes is a supurb idea as well ! Sonoma town has loads of rentals on vrbo.

Find a rental with a fireplace for certain.

Back to Pt. Reyes, we visit PR often, winter-summer-rain or shine-always the most gorgeous place on earth, IMHO,
any weather.

Now, if the weather is rainy, the seas will be surging and a whale watching tour will not be for the sea-sick prone
or faint of heart-the Pacific up here is notoriously rough. Then of course you could hit a day when the ocean is glassy flat, lol!

Here's the group I would use:

I say, come on up and enjoy !

razzledazzle is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2007, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 824
I'd pick the Monterey/Santa Cruz area at that time of year. We often go to Monterey in December and January. The weather varies quite a bit in January but it is usually a touch better there then than on the North Coast. Also, if it rains there is still a lot to do. There are also plenty of wineries both in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties.

We really like the whale trips from Fisherman's Warf in Monterey. They are only half a day, reaonable in price, and have a good record of sightings. Here's the one we used last time but there are others.

If fine wine is your primary interest, then Sonoma is a great choice and January can be stunning if you miss the storms. But, if it does rain hard, flooding is not uncommon which could ruin your trip.

There is plenty of hiking within an hour or so of Monterey or Carmel. Big Sur, Pt. Lobos, Henry Cowell Redwoods and Big Basin are excellent winter hiking destinations.

There's also great golf on the Monterey Penninsula. In fact, the weather is often better in late January or early February when they hold the AT&T National than it has been in June for some of the US Opens held there. If the sun is shining Pebble Beach is magnificent but in June it's usually overcast due to fog.
Of course, if its raining in January, the golf can be miserable and some years the tournament is rain shortened.

Finally, there are a host of nice hotel or B&B options and great restaurnts in the area. We like the Monterey Plaza where you can stay in a room right over the Bay and we love to eat at Fandango in Pacific Grove.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:22 AM.