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Russian River Towns

Quaint oceanside village overlooking the mouth of the river. Great views, terrific restaurants, near Goat Rock State Park with its spectacular beach and harbor seal nursery. (16 miles west of Guerneville on Hwy 116)

Jenner is a quaint coastal town located where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean. The town is very small with just a gift shop, a coffee shop, a gas station/convenience store, a kayak rental and a few fabulous restaurants. There are, however, beaches, cliffs and views a-plenty, and the wildlife viewing cannot be beat. Most of the homes are on the hillside overlooking the estuary.

River Info

At Jenner, the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean in a breathtaking estuary. Kayaks can be rented for close up viewing of the wealth of wildlife, including a myriad of seabirds and a colony of harbor seals, and beaches provide driftwood for beachcombers. And if you’re lucky enough to see the red tide when the estuary is alive with phosphorescent algae, you’ve had one of the most memorable moments the natural world can provide.

Daytime Activities

Salt Point State Park: This is a 6,000-acre park with 6 miles of coastline with rocky coves, tidepools, and an underwater reserve popular with divers. Miles of hiking trails.

Fort Ross Historical Park: Ten miles north of Jenner, the visitor center at the park entrance contains exhibits of Russian history, which include artifacts from the early Russian community. Inside the fort, a short walk from the visitor center, the buildings of 1812 have been restored. You can walk down to the beach where supplies would come in by ship. The park is open for tours every day except for major holidays from 10-4:30.

Kruse Rhododendron State Reserve: Next to Salt Point State Park, this reserve offers 317 acres of second-growth redwood, Douglas fir, grand firs, tanoaks, and rhododendrons, which bloom most brilliantly in May. There are five miles of hiking trails with a short loop trail that leads through clusters of rhododendrons. No dogs or bikes are allowed on the trails.

Coastal Beaches: Jenner is the gateway to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, up and down the coast; some are dog friendly. Long sandy beaches below rugged headlands, a craggy coastline with natural arches and secluded coves are features that make Sonoma Coast State Park one of California's most scenic attractions. The Beach, actually a series of beaches separated by rock bluffs and headlands, extends from Jenner 15 miles south to Bodega Head and 4 miles north of Jenner to Vista Trail. Beachcombers, fishermen, sunbathers and picnickers can access the beach from more than a dozen points along coast Highway 1. While the north coast weather can be foggy, it usually burns off by midday and the cool ocean breezes make the Sonoma Coast a haven for visitors seeking to escape the inland heat. This area of the Sonoma Coast is rightly famous for its harbor seal nursery, whale-watching, tide-pooling, fishing, and hiking.

WARNING: Like most north coast beaches, Sonoma Coast is NOT FOR SWIMMING. Strong rip currents, heavy surf and sudden ground swells make even surf play dangerous. A small staff of well-trained lifeguards are usually on duty during the peak season, but with so much coastline to cover they may not be available. Please keep children back from the highest water-line and never turn your back to the ocean. Many rescues are made each year and there have been a number of drownings, virtually all of tourists who did not heed the warning signs posted. Also be careful of the bluffs and rocks as the shale formations are unstable.

Harbor Seals: State Park Volunteers assist in safeguarding the local harbor seal habitat at Goat Rock, the largest colony on the Sonoma Coast, located at the mouth of the Russian River. The annual pupping season is March through August and it is then that the seals are great fun to watch, but also the most vulnerable to interactions with the public. The volunteers who monitor the nursery will ask the public to stay 50 yards away from the pups. Because of the vulnerability of the seals, no dog are allowed on this beach. Some years an elephant seal or two decides to hang out at this beach, finding the seal pups to be a convenient meal.

Whales: The area south of Jenner allows the public to witness one of the grand events in nature: the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale. The whales begin their journey far north in their Arctic feeding grounds in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. They migrate down the Pacific coast to their calving lagoons off Baja California in Mexico. After the winter, they return with their calves along the same route, but generally closer to shore, with the calves inland. The best viewing is from the high cliffs of Bodega Head, 15 miles south of Jenner, from January through mid-May. Bodega Head is the rocky headland that forms the entrance into Bodega Harbor. The harbor side provides a popular crabbing area along the jetty, and the many hiking trails on the ocean side allow access to small, sandy coves and spectacular scenic bluff-top views.

Tidepooling: The Sonoma Coast tidepools are teeming with life; Shell Beach, also a prime spot for fishing, is the most popular beach for tidepooling. Here you will see anenomes, hermit crabs, and a whole array of fragile creatures.

Other Ocean Beach Activities: Surfing, diving, birding, and rockclimbing are all available.

Horseback Riding/Chanslor Ranch: Many miles of trails along the coast and on the beach. Highway 1, just north of Bodega Bay. Tel: 707-875-3333

Bike Rentals through Bike Partners: They will deliver your bike rental to your home or into town. They offer an assortment of bikes, Singles and Tandems. You can also rent a child carrier attachment for the bike. The bikes are fold away bikes. Which means you can fold them and put them in the trunk of your car and drive to whichever location you would like to ride. $40 for a 24 hour rental. Plus a $20 delivery charge out to Jenner.
Call for inquiry: 1.855.483.3732 (toll free)

Hiking: Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods leads guided coastal hikes. The Sonoma Coast is home to some of the best hiking trails in the Bay Area. The California Coastal Trail traverses this area via the Kortum Trail. The Pomo Canyon Trail starts from the coast at Shell Beach and continues inland accessing Redhill. Among the incredible spring wildflowers to be found here are: Douglas iris, California poppy, monkey flower and California Indian pink. Docent-led wildflower and plant identification hikes are popular during the spring and fall.

Kortum Trail: A magnificent hike along approximately 10 miles of the California Coastal Trail. The trail starts at Blind Beach (enter the Goat Rock beach entrance just south of Jenner and drive 0.8 miles to the Blind Beach parking lot). The trail crosses multiple State Beach parking lots. We recommend parking one car south at your end destination and carpooling back to Blind Beach.
Pomo Canyon Trail and Red Hill: The Pomo Canyon Trail is part of an ancient Native American trade route. It runs from Hwy. 1 just east of Shell Beach to Pomo Canyon Campground (off Willow Creek Road). Redhill is accessed using a 2-mile leg of the trail, which takes you across open grassy hills (past two hidden redwood groves) to a vantage point atop a rocky ridge. For a longer hike, you can continue to the Pomo Canyon Campground, a beautiful redwood environmental campground.

Boating: There are kayak rentals and tours in Jenner, and other types of boat rentals out of Bodega Bay. Upriver, there are canoe rentals and guided canoe and kayak tours.  more info

Fishing: Deep sea fishing can be arranged with one of the companies operating out of Bodega Harbor. Rock and surf fishing are popular at Portuguese and Schoolhouse Beach, as well as Shell Beach. Surf fishing, along with surfing, is popular at Salmon Creek Beach near Bodega Bay. Because of the need to protect the endangered western snowy plover no dogs or fires are allowed on this beach. For info about guided river fishing trips and equipment rental, visit King's Sport & Tackle, which is in Guerneville.  more info

Wildlife Viewing: There is a colony of Harbor Seals at Goat Rock; the Stewards of Coast and Redwoods gives tours. There is also superior birdwatching on the coast and upriver.

Local Radio: 97.7 FM/The River plays classic rock. 95.1 FM/The Bridge is a non-commercial community radio station which provides a bridge between the Guerneville Community Church and the Russian River Communities.


Seagull Gifts has been there forever. Affordable gifts, stuffed animals, t-shirts and sweat-shirts, and lots and lots of shells. Plus a kid’s room with educational toys, as well as garden statuary. Tel: (707) 865-2594

Coffee, Dining & Nightlife

Café Aquatica has great Cubano coffee, inexpensive food offerings, river-view. Watch the kayakers paddling by. 10439 Hwy 1, Jenner. Tel: 707-865-2251

Jenner Inn: the restaurant always keeps a tureen of soup ready for guests at any time. There’s also a sheltered, glassed-in front porch for dining: no wind! Tel: 707-865-2377

River's End: The most delicious food and wine served overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It doesn't get better than this. 11048 Highway 1, Jenner. Tel: 707-865-2484

Sizzling Tandoor: Wonderful Indian food. 9960 Highway 1, Jenner. Tel: 707-865-0625

Groceries & Banks

Groceries: The nearest 24-hour Safeway is at the corner of Main and Mill Streets in Guerneville.

Convenience Stores: At gas station on Highway 1 in town.

Banks: The nearest Wells Fargo ATM located inside Safeway in Guerneville. The Bank of America ATM in the old bank building at Main and Mill in Guerneville


Blues and Jazz Festival: At Johnson's Beach in downtown Guerneville the weekend after Labor day.

Stumptown Daze Parade and Rodeo: This 30-year-old tradition of rodeos, food, and parade is enthusiastically endorsed by the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association. Breakfast begins at 7am. The parade starts down Main Street at 11am. The rodeo begins at 2pm. Yearly, first week-end in June. The parade is in downtown Guerneville; the rodeo is held in Duncans Mills. T: 707-869-1959 or 877-644-9001

Winter Festival with Parade of Lights: Open house of downtown merchants with refreshments, tree lighting, carolers, and a visit from Santa. Parade of Lights is simply spectacular! Downtown Guerneville every December. T: 1-877-644-9001

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