Russian River has practically all the best features of California along the length of one scenic waterway. Just north of Marin County, which is just on the other side of the Golden Gate, is this area, which is a hub of outdoor activity. The Russian River meanders from the coast inland towards the east, then it heads north; past wineries excellent enough to rival both Napa Valley and the Sonoma Wine Country.
The area around Russian River California was named after the first settlers. In the early 1800s, Russian fur traders established a settlement here and hunted the sea otters that were once plentiful on the Northern California Coast. After a railroad was added around 80 years later, Russian River camping became one the favorite summer pastimes of residents of San Francisco. By the 50's this area was the setting for big music concerts along the scenic Russian River.
One of the main towns in Russian River California is Guerneville. This town was a center of the area, and the ever popular Russian River vacation rental used to be among the 14,000 cabins and hotel rooms that were available in 1940. That number has now shrunk to around 3,000, since many have converted what used to be a charming, ideally situated Russian River vacation rental into permanent homes.
If you are planning to visit the area for a weekend, you can opt for an economic alternative to a Russian River vacation rental and stay in one of the charming inns that have been restored to their historic splendor, like Fern Grove Cottages, which has rustic exposed wood interiors. Complete with Internet access and a spa tub in every room, this is a great home base while you explore the wineries in the area. More champagne is produced in the Russian River area that in anywhere in the state.
Just outside Guerneville is a great day trip, and many nature lovers who come to the area to enjoy Russian river camping visit the local parks. Only 20 minutes off of Highway 101 is a one of the best Scenic Drives in the state into Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. There is a small fee to drive in with your car, but if you've never seen the biggest species of Sequoia tree, these coastal giants will blow you away. There are 805 acres of tranquil scenic groves of old growth Redwood in this park.
Russian River camping is a popular activity, and many visitors enjoy canoeing the miles of scenic river. The river flows west, and though most drive north from the coast to the wineries, if you are on a canoe or an inflatable raft you'll be headed towards the Pacific, and enjoying the dramatic changes in scenery along the way.
With Jazz and Blues festivals, county fairs, and great wineries lining the banks of the river, Russian River California is the setting for a classic summer vacation. The weather is perfect, the food is excellent, and you will find it a fun challenge to explore all the different activities you can enjoy before you run out of time.