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Russian River

Wine Country/Santa Rosa, California, USA

Description

On weekends and in summer, the Russian River is a lively, happy place. Kids frolic in the water. People drift by on tubes with coolers floating behind them. You can rent a canoe at Burke's Canoe Trips and row serenely down the river for hours. They will pick you up at the end- they do the work, you have the fun! The redwoods that tower above you will fill you with awe and the sunny vineyard-covered hills make a nice contrast. See directions below for places to launch.
Dogs are allowed on leash at Steelhead Beach, Mom's Beach, and Sunset Beach launch areas and they like to splash in the water.
Unfortunately, the high level of bacteria in the water of Russian River can give you swimmer's itch- not a pleasant experience.
If you're hungry, head west along River Rd to downtown Guerneville, a cute town that you can walk around, where there are many restaurants.
While you're in Guerneville, drive just one minute down to Johnson's Beach which is situated below the historic Guerneville Bridge. Or just three minutes to Armstrong Woods, an amazing redwood forest with easy trails for kids and nice plaques explaining how redwoods grow. For some kiddie fun in the summertime, check out historical Pee Wee's Minigolf, which is in a pretty location and has some unusual holes- it's a lot of fun!

Photo Gallery


Gorgeous foliage at the Russian River.

View over the Russian River, with champagne vineyards and redwood forests in the background.

Sunny September day in Russian River.

Groups of happy paddlers row down the river on weekends.
 

Directions

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From Highway 101, exit at River Road, which is just north of Santa Rosa. Head west for about 8 minutes and you will see Burke's Canoes on your right, opposite Mirabel Road, at 8600 River Rd, Forestville CA 95436. You can bring your own kayak or tube and launch it at the SteelHead State Beach Area located at 9000 River Road, Forestville CA 95436 and then have a friend pick you up downstream at Johnson's Beach. Parking at Steelhead Beach is $7 and the area is pretty much only good for launching- the picnic areas aren't nice. If you walk in, you won't have to pay parking. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboats at Johnson's Beach but you can only row upstream from there because they have the river blocked off.
Other river entry points are:
Mom's Beach at 10584 River Drive. Cost is $7.
Sunset Beach at 11057 Sunset Drive. Cost is $7. Lovely area.
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