Are you yearning for wide-open spaces, fresh air, and adventure? If so, let us introduce you to one of Russian River California’s hidden gems; the beautiful Russian River Valley.
Russian River California is located just over 100 miles north of San Francisco, right in that sweet spot of the state that is gushing with natural treasures. The Valley is sandwiched between Clear Lake and the coastline, with the Mendocino National Forest just north another couple of hours. The beautiful landscape is accompanied by an established community and culture that prides itself on excellent wine, food, outdoor activities, and relaxing escapes. There’s so much to do there that many locals haven’t even done it all yet. So in order to help you make the best of your time there, we’re presenting you with essential things to do in Russian River, California.
Get a Taste of Award-Winning Wine
Russian River California (and really, all of Sonoma County) is known for all of the incredible wineries, first and foremost. The area has been nationally designated as a wine-growing region for the past four decades and is officially identified as an American Viticultural Area. Due to the region’s cooler climate and rolling fog that comes in from the coast, you’ll find an otherworldly selection of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, which harvest perfectly in this unique climate.
Be sure to check out Iron Horse Vineyards for their specialty sparkling wines, Merry Edwards Winery for the perfect Pinot and free tastings, and Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards for award-winning Chardonnays and croquet. Also, check out the guided tour of the renowned Korbel Winery, which features charming 19th Century architecture, cellars, and a historical museum.
Float the River
The next priority while visiting Russian River California should (obviously) be to get your fill of the enchanting river itself. Stay the night or do an all-day visit at Johnson’s Beach, which hosts plenty of amenities and beautiful resting spots. Or, sign up for a full-day trip with Russian River Adventures, who will set you up with everything you need and the best river routes. If you prefer to float the river all on your own, experts recommend starting from Steelhead Beach and ending at Sunset Beach to avoid overflowing parking lots and unbearably slow stretches of the river.
Eat Your Heart Out
Who doesn’t love beautiful scenery and a good bite to eat? With so many adventure-driven activities in Russian River California, you’re going to want to prioritize delicious food to keep you fueled up and ready for more.
Betty Spaghetti is a local favorite for homemade comfort food. They specialize in hand-rolled pasta and pizzas, sauces made from scratch, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, and various comforting snacks (think garlic bread, deviled eggs, and fried brussels sprouts with aioli).
Main Street Bistro is an essential dinner stop that’s sure to lift your mood. This cabaret piano bar features musical artists and shows almost every night and has an expansive menu chocked full of pizzas, pasta, sandwiches, appetizers, and more.
Don’t forget to visit Chile Pies for novelty pies, cookies, and ice cream for dessert. This small business makes everything fresh daily and entirely from scratch!