Getting To Sonoma

Most visitors arrive in Sonoma via private car — either their own car, a rental car, cab or limo. Currently, there are no regularly scheduled airport shuttles that will get you all the way to Sonoma. There are shuttles to nearby Petaluma and Napa, from which you can take a taxi.

Your Bay Area Airport Options

Bay_Area-MapSan Francisco (SFO) and Oakland (OAK) international airports are approximately 60 miles south of the  City of Sonoma and generally provide the best options for most fliers. SFO is on the west side of the Bay, OAK is on the east side. Best Editors Pick is slightly in favor of SFO due to number of flight options, quality of the airport facility, and scenic route to Sonoma, but OAK is definitely a good choice too.

The San Jose Airport (SJC) is a fine alternative, but will add an extra 45 minutes to your drive.  Also, some visitors do fly to Sacramento Airport (SME), but we don’t have enough experience to comment on that.

If you’re flying from Seattle, San Diego, or Los Angeles, it’s worth checking Alaska Airlines for direct flights into the Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa. Driving directions from the Sonoma County Airport to Sonoma take you through Kenwood and Glen, to Sonoma, provide a scenic preview of what you have to look forward to in Sonoma Valley.  It’s a much smaller regional airport – fewer chaos and crowds, fewer flight and car rental options, etc.

Lastly, there are two small private Airports just outside of the town of Sonoma, Sonoma Valley Airport and Sonoma Skyport.

Rental Cars, Airport Shuttles, Private Limos

sfo-airtrainCar Rentals From SFO.  San Francisco Airport (SFO) operates a central Car Rental Center reached by an AirTrain monorail. Follow signs to reach the AirTran station in each terminal and board the Blue Line to reach the Car Rental Center. Driving Directions from SFO to SonomaRental Cars & Golden Gate Bridge Tolls (read this!)

Taxis from SFO. Taxi service from SFO to Sonoma costs approximately $258 (including the 150% surcharge for destinations 15 miles beyond the San Francisco City limits). Up to 5 persons can ride for the price of 1 person. Taxi drivers are required by Airport regulation to accept fares to all Bay Area destinations. More information.

Airport Shuttles from SFO. There currently no regularly scheduled Airport Shuttles that will get you all the way to Sonoma. Sonoma County Airport Express will get you to City of  Petaluma, which is approximately 15 miles from Sonoma.

Private Shuttles & Limos. The cost for private limos and shuttles for the SFO to Sonoma is generally comparable to Taxi fares. Some will meet you in the terminal and help with luggage, and generally the vehicles will be more luxurious. SFO Limousines Companies. If you’re considering a Chauffeured Wine Tour while in Sonoma, contact the same company to see if they will also do airport pick-up. Chauffered Wine Country Tours.

Other Helpful Links:

Oakland Airport (OAK) Ground Transportation

Sonoma County Airport (STS) Ground Transportation

Important Golden Gate Bridge Toll Info

golden-gate-bridge-toll

If you’re planning to travel between San Francisco and  Sonoma, you will probably be crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Golden Gate Bridge tolls are collected in the southbound direction via an automated system that “reads” license plate numbers (or senses Fastrak transponders  in the vehicle). There are no human toll takers or mechanized toll boxes. Cars simply slow down and pass through the Toll Plaza without stopping. It is possible to set-up a Golden Gate Bridge payment account, so that tolls are automatically paid from one of your financial accounts; however, this won’t be practical for most out-of-area visitors.

If you’re renting a car, we strongly suggest you ask your Rental Car company agent about your Bay Area bridge toll options BEFORE you leave the rental facility. Many companies offer a Toll Program which will cover all of your Bay Area Bridge Tolls for a flat daily rate, but rental car company policies differ, so be sure to check. One way or another, you will be held accountable for tolls and penalties, so make sure you understand your options BEFORE you cross the Golden Gate Bridge,  in the Southbound direction.

If you’ll be traveling in a personal vehicle, and don’t already have a GGB License Plate Account or Fastrak Transponder, then you have several options. Frankly, the options are bit difficult to explain, so here’re a few links to the official site:

Golden Gate Bridge Toll Frequently Asked Questions

Toll Tips for Visitors – Out of State and Out of Country

Driving Directions To Sonoma

sonoma_directions_map

If you’re using a smart phone apps to navigate to Sonoma Valley, you can enter the following Zip Codes for your destination points:

Sonoma = 95476

Glen Ellen=95442

Kenwood = 95452

 

Driving directions from SFO to Sonoma heads north through the City of San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a beautiful route. If have a few extra minutes, after you cross the Golden Gate Bridge, take the first exit to the scenic overlook. If needed, the Scenic Overlook also has a public restroom. Google Map Directions:

San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Sonoma (95476):     Approx 60 Miles
San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Glen Ellen (95442): Approx 70 Miles
San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Kenwood (95452):  Approx 75 Miles

Driving directions from OAK to Sonoma  heads north through the City of Oakland. In most cases, OAK flyers would take the San Rafael Bridge and merge with  the SFO flyer route into Sonoma. Under certain traffic conditions, OAK travelors will want to pass the San Rafael Bridge turn-off and keep going north through the bottom tip of Napa, and then into Sonoma. OAK flyers can also opt to go through San Francisco by re-routing over the Bay Bridge (new spectacular span, replacing the bridge that partially collapses in the ’89 quake), through San Francisco, and over the Golden Gate Bridge. Google Map Directions:

Oakland Airport (OAK) to Sonoma (95476): Approx 60 Miles
Oakland Airport (OAK) to Glen Ellen (95442): Approx 70 Miles
Oakland Airport (OAK) to Kenwood (95452): Approx 75 Miles

About Bay Area Traffic

bay_bridge_trafficTraffic

If your are planning to drive “up” to Sonoma from the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Bay Area, it might help to give some thought to Bay Area traffic, bridges, and tolls. As the fifth largest urban area in the United States, we have our share of heavy traffic, road construction, and tolls. Plan, relax, and make the best of the situation.

SF Bay 511 is an amazing resource for getting around the Bay Area.  Before you depart, point your Web browser to Visit 511.org  for current information on roads, mass transit, etc. While in the Bay Area, Dial 511 from any phone (cell or land line) and follow the prompts for Traffic > Current Traffic Conditions.

Absent real-time traffic reports, be aware of the following traffic patterns:

o Workday Afternoons (3-7pm): Expect delays San Francisco/Oakland to Sonoma
o Workday Mornings (6-9am): Expect delays Sonoma to San Francisco/Oakland
o Sunday Evenings (3-7pm): Expect delays Sonoma to San Francisco/Oakland

Bay Area Bridges

Bridges

The Bay Area is home to three of the most spectacular suspension bridges in the world, two on the same short stretch of roadway.

golden-gate-bridge-toll

Golden Gate Bridge ( San Francisco <> Marin County):  The iconic bridge is a landmark well worth the hype. The scenic overlook at the north anchorage  provides an awesome view of San Francisco and the Bay, as well as public restrooms for those in need. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also walk out on the bridge and watch the tankers pass underneath.

 

 

New Bay BridgeThe Bay Bridges (San Francisco <> Oakland): The new Bay Bridge segment between Oakland and Treasure Island is the newest major landmark in the SF Bay Area. Westbound, driving from Oakland to San Francisco, the toll is collected at Oakland anchorage.

Sonoma Skypark

Sonoma SkyparkLight aircraft, public use, airport located three miles from the Sonoma Plaza. Sonoma Skypark is collectively owned by over fifty members of the local community. The airfield offers self-serve 100LL Aviation Fuel and tie-downs are available for transient parking. Free courtesy car available, call for details.

Phone:

Web Site: http://www.sonomaskypark.com/

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