The 4-Hour Rule: Sonoma

Airstream camping, coastal hikes, cartoon museums and more

January 23, 2017 9:00 am

Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series, The 4-Hour Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.

Winter is no excuse to stay indoors.

That chill in the air? That’s why we have fire pits, s’mores and heated vintage Airstreams.

Follow us north for a weekend of fun. 

Tell the family to put on some layers and pack everyone for the AutoCamp at Russian River: chilly nights make for the best fireside chats. One premium Airstream will sleep four; book a couple if everyone’s happier with extra space. Otherwise, the amenities are top notch, from the outdoor fire pit to the flat-screen TV (leave it off; know that it’s there) and Malin + Goetz bath stuff. 

Do you have kids? Do they spend too much time in front of screens? Do you want them to understand that creativity and Snapchat are not necessarily the same thing? We know: These strange, small #2017 creatures may seem impossibly jaded at times — but kids are still kids at heart, if you know what we mean, so force some actual culture on them at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, a winning tribute to a modest adopted son, a very rich man who defined success as the ability to walk into a bookstore and buy any book he liked. 

Feeling hella ambitious? Head to the coast for the trails at Salt Point. Otherwise, stick closer to home and make your way to the Armstrong Nature Trail, a nearly three-mile loop that kids will love if they like redwoods, which informal polling suggests that 100 percent of kids do. 

Parents deserve a treat, too, so head to the grown-up (but family-welcoming) Boon Eat+Drink. Order: truffle fries, flat iron steak, seared ling cod — it’s the kind of relaxed, local menu that makes you glad you live here. As for that treat: Bear Republic beers for those in charge and doughnut holes with vanilla dipping sauce for everybody. 

And now, your packing list:

Top row: VSSL Compact Camp Flask ($72.50) and Club Monaco Alpaca Wool Pom Hat ($62.30)
Middle row: Timex + Redwing Chronograph ($158) and Karesuando Arctic Hunting Axe ($173.98)
Bottom row: Arc’Teryx Cerium SL Jacket ($329) and Lems Leather Boulder Boot ($140)


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