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Overview

The rustic and romantic Russian River Valley has long been a resort destination for sun-searching San Franciscans. In summer, Bay Area families have been populating the Victorian B&Bs and simple cabins, low-key cafes and river beaches since the 1940s when big bands played lively outdoor shows. Gay and lesbian travelers soon caught on, enjoying the shade of second growth redwoods, hidden bakeries, easy access to the Sonoma Coast, and plenty of water to canoe. Wine tourism also draws visitors to the region. As the Russian River Wine Road flexes its pinot noir and sweet white grape muscles, the champagne makers at Korbel sit back and smile ...

The rustic and romantic Russian River Valley has long been a resort destination for sun-searching San Franciscans. In summer, Bay Area families have been populating the Victorian B&Bs and simple cabins, low-key cafes and river beaches since the 1940s when big bands played lively outdoor shows. Gay and lesbian travelers soon caught on, enjoying the shade of second growth redwoods, hidden bakeries, easy access to the Sonoma Coast, and plenty of water to canoe. Wine tourism also draws visitors to the region. As the Russian River Wine Road flexes its pinot noir and sweet white grape muscles, the champagne makers at Korbel sit back and smile (they've been growing grapes here since the late 1800s). Unpretentious (compared to her wine country neighbors), the Russian River Valley towns inspire you to don coveralls, baseball hats, and settle in for a spell. Besides the heart of this valley, Guerneville, other attractons of note include the galleries and eateries of Occidental, the antique shops of Duncan's Mills, pastoral living in Forestville, the art deco architecture of Monte Rio, and quiet Graton.

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 in Northern California, this summer resort and wine area in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties 75 miles north of San Francisco.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Guerneville
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, early fall, late spring