Sausalito residents and locals know that if you are craving the forest and mountains there is a closer venue than the Sierra Nevadas to get your fix. Just over an hour away, in Sonoma County is the Russian River valley with its redwood trees and remote canyons, wooded hillsides and parks, camping, wineries, and more to help you get your outdoor and mountain craving satisfied without driving all the way out to Lake Tahoe.
The area near Guerneville and Forestville has been drawing locals and residents of Sausalito and neighboring areas for years because of the small town feel and woodsy, outdoors ambiance that combines so nicely with the wineries, arts, and culture that have always been a part of life in this part of California. If you come looking for hiking, camping and biking you will find plenty easily within reach, If you come looking for fine dining, nightlife, restaurants and wineries, you will find those in ample supply as well. Exemplifying the California lifestyle to the fullest extent, the Russian River area towns and businesses have made staying here friendly and fun.
Outdoor Activity in the Russian River Area
Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the Russian River area for the hiking, cycling, camping, fishing, and boating opportunities that are everywhere in the area. From the Armstrong Redwoods/Austin Creek State Parks to the trails along the hills and the river itself, there are many trails and venues to look toward for outdoor fun. The State park has campgrounds as well, and there are many private riverside campgrounds that define the summer season in the Russian River and Guerneville area.
Note that summer is by far the busiest time in the area and campgrounds fill quickly. The most popular spots and campgrounds can be booked to capacity as far as a year in advance in some cases.
For those looking for fun on the river itself, there are many merchants available who rent kayaks, canoes, boats, and inner-tubes to enjoy the river’s current and soak a bit in the warm summer sun. Many visitors follow the river toward Jenner where it disgorges into the Pacific Ocean and rent kayaks there to enjoy the delta area and calmer currents.
Wineries in the Russian River Valley
One of the largest draws in more recent years to the Russian River Valley has been the wineries. With the continued worldwide recognition of the Napa and Sonoma Valley Wineries, California wines in general, and specifically those in the northern area of the San Francisco Bay Area, have also been getting more attention and acclaim than previously. The Russian River Valley wineries have become a powerhouse ion their own right and have amassed a large following of those connoisseurs who appreciate the unique and more subtle variation that is produced in this slightly cooler region.
Labels such as Freestone Vineyards, Russian River Vineyard, Hartford Winery, Joseph Swan Vineyards, and others have done an excellent job of making Russian River wines both accessible and elegant. A tasting tour and trip in the Russian River area is a unique and wholly different experience than in any other appellation in California.
Visiting the Russian River from Sausalito can make for a wonderful day trip, a healthy weekend away, or an entire weeklong vacation of its own!