The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. It’s a summer holiday (right before my birthday, thankyouverymuch) comprising of picnic food, fireworks, parades and staying up late. It’s the best. Also, Sonoma County does it right by helping you to celebrate all weekend long!
July 1 & 2: Monte Rio Independence Day & Guerneville Independence Day. You can spend the entire weekend out on the Russian River. Monte Rio’s two-day family friendly festival kicks off on Saturday with games and a BBQ at the Monte Rio Fire Department. The fun continues on Sunday with more games, boat parade, water curtain and fireworks over the water. On Saturday, Guerneville is also getting into the spirit with fireworks over the river, preceded by a block party and barbeque. Guerneville has so many shops, bars and restaurants to check out, it will make for a very fun day. Personal favorites are El Barrio, Seaside Metal and Guerneville Bank Club.
July 2: Fireworks over Bodega Bay. This is one of my yearly must-see firework shows. The explosions in the sky do a reflective dance on the water and it’s absolutely breathtaking. It’s been fogged out before, which is a bit of a downer, but worth the gamble if it’s a clear night. The fireworks are shot directly over the water, so if you can see the bay, you can see the show. Plus you can just pull over on any pull out off the main roads and throw out some chairs or a blanket. I always bring wine, snacks and a headlamp! Show starts at 9:30pm (or whenever it’s dark).
July 3: Sebastopol Fireworks. Sebastopol comes through and keeps the celebration going even on Monday at Analy High School (yes, the high school filming location in 13 Reasons Why. There are lots of things to do including live music, food, games and raffles beginning when gates open at 5:30 pm, with the fireworks show starting at approximately 9:40. Bring blankets or beach chairs (No camping chairs because they’ll dig into the turf.) and mingle with approximately 4,000 other patriotic partiers.
July 4: Sonoma’s Old-Fashioned Fourth of July. Now for my favorite, must-do, can’t-miss 4th of July celebration. The entire population of the town of Sonoma and folks from all over Northern California come to this tiny town to see the adorable parade around the square beginning at 10 am. There are usually about 60 entrees including local wineries, cultural groups, local companies and community organizations. The folks with homes along the parade route turn this event into a neighborhood block party – it’s so fun! After the parade, check the many restaurants and bars around the square serving up delicious food and drinks – El Dorado Kitchen, The Girl and the Fig and Della Santina are some favorites. Be sure to throw your blanket and picnic basket down somewhere in General Vallejo’s field before dusk to hold your space for the best fireworks you’ve ever seen. Seriously. Better than Disneyland, y’all. Rumor has it, an anonymous donor gave a lotta stacks of cash to keep the fireworks in Sonoma going strong and they do not waste a penny. Travel + Leisure knows what’s up, and now so do you! It’s actually spectacular!
Bonus July 4: For a unique and unforgettable 4th, check out Bill & Dave Hikes at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park for views you can’t get anywhere else. It’s about a 90-minute hike each way and when you reach the top they will have snacks and lemonade, but bring a picnic and wine along with a blanket (and a headlamp and plenty of layers. I really love headlamps!). Depending on that coastal fog we all know and love, fireworks shows from all around Sonoma County and the Bay Area can be seen!