The 17 Best Things To Do In Sonora, California (2024)

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Want to know all the best things to do in Sonora, California? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know!

Sonora, California is a small town in Northern California between Yosemite National Park and Sacramento

It’s known for it’s Gold Rush history and hiking trails.

There are plenty of state parks, museums, outdoor trails, and restaurants to explore during your visit

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Things To Do In Sonora, California

Sonora itself is a small town, so there are just a few places to go within the city limits.

But there’s lots to do in the surrounding area.

It’s similar to visiting a place like LA where you’re likely also going to visit Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, etc., rather than just this one little spot.

Let’s start off with the things to do in the city limits of Sonora.

1. Veterans Memorial Hall & Military Museum

Address: 9 N Washington St, Sonora, CA 95370

This museum highlights the local history of the area, with many preserved artifacts, uniforms, and weapons from many wars. 

The museum is also free to visit and takes about an hour or so to see it all. 

2. Tuolumne County Museum

Address: West Bradford Ave, Sonora, CA 95370

This museum is in the old county jail and highlights the pre-1950s history of the Tuolumne County area. 

A lot of this area has a rich California Gold Rush history, which is highlighted in this museum. 

This museum is also free to visit. 

3. Indigeny Reserve 

Address: 14679 Summers Lane, Sonora, CA 95370

Indigeny Reserve is a cider works and distillery in Sonora. 

The property is a 160 acre preserve and apple orchard. 

Here they make hand-crafted hard cider, apple brandy aged in oak barrels, and fruit-infused vodka.

Sample their ciders for $5 per tasting. They are open 7 days a week from 10 am – 5 pm. 

4. Dragoon Gulch Trail 

Address: 601 Woods Creek Drive, Sonora, CA 95370

This is a 2.2 mile loop trail near Downtown Sonora. 

One entry point is by the parking lot of Woods Creek Rotary Park. 

The trail is woodsy and follows along a creek. It’s popular with pets and families. 

5. Llamas of Circle Home 

Address: 15301 Tuolumne Road, Sonora, CA 95370

Llamas of Circle Home offers personalized tours, animal assisted interventions programs, and llama training for therapeutic and educational purposes. 

Enjoy a 90 minute hosted experience meeting the llamas that live on this farm and learning about their personalities and Andean roots and history. 

Llamas of Circle Home in Sonora, California

6. Teleli Golf Club 

Address: 17566 Lime Kiln Road, Sonora, CA 95370

This 18 hole championship course has been a staple in Sonora since 1990. 

It’s currently owned by the local Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians and is part of the Black Oak Casino. 

You can book your tee times online, but if you’re eligible for special rates like the junior or senior discounts, you need to call to book your tee time and have your discounts applied. 

Prices vary by time of day and day of the week, but most rates fall under $50 for week day afternoon tee times, to $80 or less for weekend early morning tee times.

Things To Do Near Sonora, California

Sonora is such a small town that there is only so much to do within city limits. 

If you’re looking to venture out to the neighboring communities, here are even more things to do when you visit Sonora.

11. Visit Stanislaus National Forest

Address: Stanislaus National Forest

Stanislaus National Forest is made up of 78 lakes, 811 miles of streams and rivers, and 1,000 miles of hiking trails over 898,000 acres of land. 

There are 62 developed campgrounds where you can stay overnight or for a long weekend while you’re visiting the area. 

Recreational activities include rafting down the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River, canoeing one of the lakes, off-roading, horseback riding, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and more. 

If you want to venture even further out to the designated wilderness areas you can get free permits before you visit. 

Always check the website before you visit for weather, road, and trail conditions, because in these kinds of areas access to various areas changes constantly. 

Stanislaus National Forest near Sonora, California

12. Explore Jamestown

Home to one of the oldest gold mining towns in California, this historical district is a must-see in Sonora!

Visit places like Wood’s Creek, Gianelli Vineyards, Jim Town Gold Mining Camp, Chicken Ranch Casino, Inner Sanctum Cellars, and more. 

The Emporium in Historic Jamestown, California

13. Take A Tour Of The Columbia State Historic Park

Address: 11255 Jackson Street, Columbia, CA 95310

Located just outside of Sonora, the historic Gold Rush town of Columbia has been preserved as a state park. 

The park exhibits are open daily from 10 am – 4 pm and most merchants are also open from 10 am – 5 pm.

Parking and admission to this park is free!

Tour the town, check out the museum, and shop around the local businesses. 

14. Visit Murphys

Murphys is another small town near Sonora.

With over 15 wineries in the area, you are sure to find a fantastic selection of wines. 

There is actually so much to do in Murphys, we’ve made an entire post about it! 

Check out this weekend getaway guide to Murphys

Historic Downtown Murphys, California

15. Visit Angels Camp

This small mountain town offers plenty of things to do, from hiking trails to local restaurants, wineries, shopping, and more!

Check out the Angels Camp Museum and Carriage House, Prospect 772 Wine Company, Barrel of Monkeez entertainment center, and more. 

Angels Camp is always featured in the blog post I mentioned above.

I highly recommend the Club Wyndham Angels Camp property if you’re staying in the area. 

Angels Camp, California

16. Make a Day of Wine Tasting

I’ve shared some towns that are known for their wineries and tasting rooms, but there are plenty of others in the area. 

Some neighboring wineries include: Yankee Hill Winery, Indigeny Reserve, Brice Station Vintners, Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch, Mineral Wines, Twisted Oak, Airola Road Vineyards, Loraine Wines, Above the Rush, and more. 

Hatcher Winery Tasting Room in Historic Downtown Murphys, California

17. Check out Railtown 1897 State Park

Address: 5th Avenue, Jamestown, CA 95327

This historical park offers plenty of things to explore and learn about, from old steam trains to gold mining equipment.

From April – October the park is open 9:30 am – 4:30 pm. 

From November – March the park is open 10 am – 3 pm. 

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-17, and free for everybody else. 

Parking is free and admission is included if you purchase train excursion tickets. 

The train excursion is a 6 mile, 45 minute round trip train ride through California’s Mother Lode Country. 

The train runs on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 am, 12 pm, 1:30 pm, and 3 pm from April through September. 

On Wednesdays from June 8 through July 28 there are train rides pulled by a diesel locomotive at 10:30 am and 12 pm. 

Tickets for the train are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 6-17, and free for everybody else. 

Best Restaurants in Sonora, California

While you’re in Sonora, there are a variety of local restaurants to enjoy that serve a variety of cuisines.

Diamondback Grill

Address: 93 S Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370

Located in a historic gold rush building, Diamondback Grill is a family run restaurant and wine bar. 

In addition to their main menu, they offer 6 daily specials that are always written up on their chalkboard, each with its own wine pairing recommendation. 

Their menu offers dishes like burgers, sandwiches, ribs, fish and chips, salads, soups, and a variety of appetizers.

Emberz

Address: 177 S Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370

Emberz serves fresh produce, organically grown ingredients from local merchants, and in-house blended seasonings and dressings. 

They are also the only restaurant in Sonora with a wood-fired oven. 

Their menu is full of appetizers, small plates, shareable plates, salads, sandwiches, burgers, wood-fired pizzas, pastas, meats, and more.

✅ Mandy’s Breakfast House 

Address: 22277 Parrotts Ferry Road, Sonora, CA 95370

This place is open daily from 7 am – 2 pm. It’s the best breakfast and lunch coffee house available in Tuolumne County. 

The breakfast menu is extensive with offerings like omelettes, skillets, waffles, pancakes, french toast, and classic breakfast plates. 

Their lunch menu includes burgers, patty melts, sandwiches, and salads. 

✅ The Standard Pour 

Address: 19040 Standard Road, Sonora, CA 95370

The Standard Pour is a casual restaurant that serves craft beer, local wines, and a diverse menu. 

The restaurant is in the old Pickering Lumber office building that was built in 1924.

Daily specials are featured with seasonal dishes sourced from local farms and vendors. 

They offer up to 19 craft beers at any given time, supporting local micro-breweries. 

Their menu has a variety of small plates, loaded fries, burgers, salads, sandwiches, steaks, salmon, and more. 

✅ The Peppery

Address: 13494 Mono Way, Sonora, CA 95370

This family owned restaurant has been around for over 25 years. 

Their menu consists of a variety of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, pasta, steaks, grilled entrees, and more. 

They serve traditional American cuisine and their dessert list has all the best treats you expect when going out to eat. 

Best Places To Stay In Sonora, California

Extend your time in Sonora with an overnight stay or weekend getaway at some historic and classic inns and hotels. 

☑️ Historic National Hotel

Location: 18195 Main Street, Jamestown, CA 95327

This 1859 historic hotel is right in the middle of historic downtown Jamestown. 

There are 9 rooms that are all decorated with fine antiques. 

Enjoy the complimentary coffee bar in the mornings. 

You also get exclusive access to the Soaking Room. This is their 1800s version of a jacuzzi, which is an antique claw-foot soaking tub built for two. 

? Click Here To Book Your Stay At Historic National Hotel Today!

☑️ Bradford Place Inn & Gardens

Location: 58 Bradford Street, Sonora, CA 95370

Enjoy a weekend getaway at this casual bed and breakfast in Historic Downtown Sonora. 

Gourmet made-to-order breakfast is included in your stay. 

Each room has different features, so when you book your stay you can choose the style that you like best. 

The parlor is a common area with a piano, books, board games, self-serve water, coffee, and other hot beverages. 

? Click Here To Book Your Stay At Bradford Place Inn & Gardens Today!

☑️ Lazy Z Resort 

Location: 22732 Middle Camp Road, Twain Harte, CA 95383

Enjoy a true mountain retreat in California’s Gold Country. 

This resort has been family owned and operated for over 3 generations. 

There are 13 cabins and cottages to choose from ranging in size from accommodating 2-8 guests. 

? Click Here To Book Your Stay At Lazy Z Resort Today!

What is the Weather Like In Sonora, California?

Sonora, California is known for its sunny climate and moderate temperatures all year round.

Summers are typically hot and dry with average high temperatures in the low to mid 90s (Fahrenheit).

Winters are milder with colder evenings; snowfall is rare though some light flurries have been known to occur in the winter months.

Spring and fall tend to be pleasant with warm days and cool nights.

Rainfall is also quite limited, making Sonora a great destination for outdoor activities throughout the year!

Natural Bridges Trail in Calaveras County, California

When Is The Best Time To Visit Sonora, California?

The best time to visit Sonora, California is between May and October when the weather is at its warmest.

This is when all of the outdoor attractions are open and when many festivals take place.

You can also enjoy great deals on hotels and restaurants during these months!

If you’re looking for a more laid-back atmosphere, visiting in the winter months may be a better choice as temperatures are cooler and crowds are smaller.

The mild winters make it an ideal time for exploring downtown Sonora or enjoying some of the local dining options without having to fight large crowds.

Historic Downtown Murphys Coffee Shop

What Is Sonora, California Known For?

Sonora, California is known for its charming downtown area and its mild climate.

It’s also well-known for its outdoor recreation options such as hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, and golfing.

This city is also home to a variety of historical sites including the Sonora Opera Hall and the Tuolumne County Courthouse.

And if that isn’t enough to keep you entertained, there are plenty of restaurants offering everything from quick lunches to gourmet dinners to plan a special occasion around!

Conclusion: Things To Do In Sonora, California

As you can see, Sonora is a great destination for an outdoors getaway, historic gold rush getaway, and wine tasting getaway.

There are plenty of things to do in Sonora for all types of travelers of all ages.