Insiders guide to visiting Guerneville on the Russian RIver in Sonoma County
A popular getaway spot for Bay Area visitors to the Russian River area, Guerneville is a good base to explore the town and surrounding area in West Sonoma County. You’ll enjoy spending some time on the beach or taking a nice road trip to the coastline areas, cliffs areas and local beaches and other historic places to visit along the Russian River.
Originally a funky area for Sonoma visitors to hang out in the river eventually, San Francisco and Bay Area natives started looking for easy day trip or weekend getaways and the Russian River with Guerneville filled the needs with an eclectic, low key and casual vibe. A marketing program inviting visitors to visit West Sonoma County and explore all the cool outdoor venues, adventure experiences and wine tasting along the Russian River area was successful to luring California visitors to this popular getaway. With all the ebbs and dips to visitors in the area, Guerneville maintains its quirky charm and relaxed river vibe that draws visitors from around the state.
Popular attractions and activities to do around Guerneville and Russian River area
If your looking for fun things to do and see around Guerneville and some cool outdoor activities, check out these top things to do in town and outlying areas now.
Visit the tall redwood trees at Armstrong Woods State Park
A short drive from downtown Guernville, Armstrong Woods is low key and fun to explore all the cool outdoor trails and enjoy all the tall trees and forested areas of the park. Hiking to the crestline trails will give you a fantastic viewpoint to enjoy views of the areas below with the river area and small downtown areas below.
Colonial Armstrong, a logger and landowner deeded over 600 acres of this forested area to his daughter who the had the foresight to save these amazing old growth redwood trees and eventually turning this into a state park for perpetuity.
Go wine tasting along the Russian River area
West Sonoma vineyards exel in delicious reds of Pinot noir, Zins and Cabernets along with whites like Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes that are fun to taste. There’s also world class champagne producer Korbel Vineyards. Other well known vineyards with tasting rooms includes:
Dehlinger Winery – Sebastopol, off the beaten path and open to the public twice yearly
Fog Crest VIneyard – Sebastopol, a luxurious tasting room to try their award winning wines
Hartford Family Winery – Forestville with hand crafted and award winning wines of Pinot Noir, Zin and Chardonnay
Iron Horse Vineyards – Sebastopol, visit their winery for sparkling wines, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Kendall Jackson – Fulton a gorgeous chateaux with edible gardens and award winning wines.
With over 94 wineries to choose from around the Russian River Valley and Central Sonoma County region, discover all of these fantastic wineries to taste and visit their tasting rooms in person.
Go kayaking or sup boarding or beach time on the River
Time to slow down, enjoy the water activities and even kayak or canoe on the peaceful and easy moving Russian River. With a variety of public and hidden beach areas to unplug and enjoy the river scene here, you’ll enjoy some easy and relaxing time on the river. Add a nice barbeque or picnic on the beach and you have an instant fun event planned. You can rent kayaks right on the beach areas at Guerneville or go on tours with outfitters right on Johnson’s Beach.
Take a road trip to the Sonoma coastline
Winding through relatively flat and scenic road that runs parallel to the river, the drive past farms and meadows down to the mouth of the Russian River and ocean is very pretty and easy going. A fast 16 mile drive to the Ocean at Jenner, you can explore north or south of the river to popular venues like Goats Rock, Bodega Bay, the Jenner Headlands or explore the outdoors on the Kortum trail along the Sonoma coastline.
Visit the Russian fort Ross on the north coast of Sonoma
A drive on the coastal highway 1 to Fort Ross brings you back to the Russian settlement of this fort and historic site. Used for protection, trade and getting perishables from ships plying the fur trade up to Alaska. Fort Ross was a busy hub trading with Spanish, American and Russian traders at their outlet while also protecting the fur trade and coastlines of Northern California to Alaska. Learn more about the Russian Settlement here for images and details of the daily life and places of interest around the fort.
Explore the cool little towns along the Russian River
There are so many little towns along the Russian River like Forestville, El Rio, Freestone and Duncan’s Mills. All these towns are unique, fun, funky and cool to walk around and grab a bite, pop into the local shops, have a hearty meal or just chill and enjoy the local vibe. It’s fun to explore these small towns with the hole in the wall bars and mom and pop shops and chat with the owners and pick up a souvenir or treat to bring back home.
Take the cool and scenic route West Dry Creek road to Healdsburg
After Forestville the windy and slow roads on West Dry Creek ambles through scenic countryside, vineyards and iconic wineries from the area growing old growth zinfandel, Cabernet, Riesling and other grapes that grow well in the area. You can visit wineries including: Dry Creek Vineyards, Teldeschi Winery, Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves and a multitude of other fantastic wineries around the scenic Dry Creek Corridor here for more inspiration to doing this fabulous and beautiful road trip to Healdsburg.
Enjoy a spa experience at the Osmosis Spa
If you’re looking for a really cool and unusual spa experience, head over to the zen garden and Japanese inspired Osmosis Spa over in Freestone. Immersing yourself in a one of a kind cedar bath with cedar chips, massage or relaxing spa package makes this a fantastic experience while you enjoy the zen garden, sip some herbal tea and feel rejuvenated by the relaxed and quiet atmosphere and healing powers of the area. You’ll enjoy your visit to Osmosis and a splurge with their spa services in Freestone and while your their don’t forget to drop by their famous bakery at Wild Flour Bread for some delicious breads and pastries to go.
Where to dine around Guerneville
Eating venues around Guerneville cover all different foods and eateries from casual to fine dining. Check out all these different places to eat around the Guerneville area now.
Boon Eat and Drink – California bistro style with inventive and comfort food for indoor and outdoor dining with flavorful specials like pork shoulder, cod and beans or polenta lasagna.
The Oxbow – Burgers and sandwich joint and a local favorite spot in Guerneville area.
Brot – German style in a modern setting with schnitzel, German beers, flatbreads and yummy salads.
Betty Spaghetti – delicious spaghetti and other pasta dishes, salads, Chicken Milanese and other Italian inspired dishes
Where to stay around Guerneville
There are mostly small inns and Air Bnb style accommodations around the Guerneville area for an overnight stay. Check out these best reviewed places here for updated prices and availability.
Autocamp Russian River – Glamping fun with beautiful surrounding and amenities in a luxury camp, airstream or funky trailer with cool vibe and stay for the night.
Highlands Resort – Once a gay resort, the retro charms of the places is open to all visitors in this woodland and quirky resort with a wonderful swimming pool and outdoor areas.
Farm House Inn – luxe West Sonoma accommodations in a stylish boutique inn with plush rooms, amenities and Michelin star restaurant and afternoon wine tasting experience.
Check out all these other well reviewed places in Sonoma here for current prices, availability and calendar of dates.
Check out these other wine country destinations below
Conclusion to Visiting Guerneville in the Russian RIver
West Sonoma county and Guerneville is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy a morning or a few days discovering the various attractions and lifestyle in the valley. Hope you enjoyed reading this post on Guerneville and the surrounding area and hope you bookmark this post for a future trip in the area.
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