The Pacific Ocean is wild and glorious, but for waterplay head to the Russian River. It’s the perfect place to spend a relaxing day on the water. During the hot summer, riverside beaches are popular with families, gay couples, straight couples, dogs, kids, and everyone else. The Russian River welcomes everyone!
Swim in the water and splash. Be a kid again. Canoes glide by, grandparents sit on the beach and watch their grandchildren. Certain beaches are dog-friendly and it’s a kick to see doggies float by at the helm of a kayak. (Rent a kayak in Healdsburg or Guerneville.) You might come across a few nude sunbathers, but in some parts of the River the 60s live on.
And don’t forget, the Russian River appellation is prime chardonnay and champagne territory. You can go to large Korbel (the choice of Presidential inaugurations), taste, take a tour, and grab a great deli sandwich in their restaurant. You can also try some of the smaller wineries that dot the countryside.
During the fall, artists open their home studios. It’s an adventure to poke into homes among the redwoods and see the wonders that artists create here.
Relax and enjoy the River. Explore it, lavish in it, feel the freedom and joy of it. Get out the binoculars and do some bird watching. The Russian River Valley, and the river that is the artery running through wine country, is a great beauty.