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Russians, in California? You bet. In the 1800s, Russians founded the community in the northwestern part of Sonoma County, situated on a windy stretch of coastline. A company (commissioned by Russia's tsarist government) ruled over Russian exploration, and trade and settlement in the North Pacific. For thirty years, the Russians lived alongside native Americans, bringing windmills, scientific exploration of the region, and shipbuilding techniques to the locals. Situated on the San Andreas Fault, the community was destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, leaving only a handful of structures to explore today. While visiting you may tour ...

Russians, in California? You bet. In the 1800s, Russians founded the community in the northwestern part of Sonoma County, situated on a windy stretch of coastline. A company (commissioned by Russia's tsarist government) ruled over Russian exploration, and trade and settlement in the North Pacific. For thirty years, the Russians lived alongside native Americans, bringing windmills, scientific exploration of the region, and shipbuilding techniques to the locals. Situated on the San Andreas Fault, the community was destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, leaving only a handful of structures to explore today. While visiting you may tour the Kuskov House, the Russian cemetery, the chapel, and the fort itself. To learn more about this era, visit the well-stocked museum and visitor center. Some say the real attraction here is the coastal access, where locals dive for abalone, frolic in tidepools, hike, and view native rhododendrons. Seals have their pups here in the spring, and during the winter, it is common to view whales passing.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: located on the Sonoma coast, including the former Russian fur trading outpost of Fort Ross, plus the adjacent coastline and native coast redwood forests extending inland.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, fall, spring