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Russian River
Russian River

Russian River

star-5
42 Reviews
California

The Basics

The entire Russian River runs more than 110 miles (177 kilometers) from its source in Mendocino County southward to the Pacific Ocean. Wine country towns like Healdsburg, Cloverdale, Santa Rosa, Geyserville, Sebastopol, Jenner, and Bodega Bay are all draws for outdoor recreation, fine dining, and winery visits. From spring through fall, the river itself is a popular place to cool off—whether you want to float down the river via inner tube or paddle in a canoe or kayak. In the surrounding redwood forests travelers can go horseback riding, hiking, or camping.

Wine-tasting tours are a popular Russian River Valley draw, and round-trip transportation from San Francisco or Sonoma means you don't have to worry about drinking and driving. Group tours via bicycle, kayak, and canoe are great ways to explore the river itself, and often involve a picnic lunch. It’s also possible to combine a float down the river with a wine tour of local vineyards.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Napa & Sonoma

star-5
Awesome experience
Jennifer_P, Sep 2021
Russian River Kayak Tour at the Beautiful Sonoma Coast
Eric was a wonderful guide! Definitely coming back with more friends. He knew history about the town and it was just a great experience.
star-5
Awesome kayaking trip!
steve_c, Aug 2021
Russian River Kayak Tour at the Beautiful Sonoma Coast
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this Kayaking tour. Erik is very personable and I agree with my wife's words, "It was like kayaking with an old friend." Erik let us go at our own pace and his knowledge of the area and of the wildlife greatly enhanced our experience. The scenery was beautiful and it was just a gorgeous day to be on the water. I highly recommend this to young and old alike, experienced or first time kayaker. Thanks Erik for an awesome time!
star-5
Amazing views and gentle (but good) exercise
Bradley_S, Jul 2021
Russian River Kayak Tour at the Beautiful Sonoma Coast
Erik (our guide) was engaging and charming. He made sure the trip was safe and enjoyable. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I would highly recommend it.
star-5
Best Kayaking Company Ever!
Susannah_T, Jul 2021
Russian River Kayak Tour at the Beautiful Sonoma Coast
We had the BEST EXPERIENCE kayaking with Erik, who is the sweetest California dude with a matching easy-going, no worries attitude. My 8 (almost 9 year old daughter), my 60-something cousin and I went out with Erik on a lovely, slow paced journey. Erik has a wealth of very interesting information about the Russian River, and Jenner, and beyond. The water was so calm. There was lots of wildlife to see, and of course, Erik was fully versed in all the creatures on land and in the water. Our 3 hour adventure was so beautiful, peaceful and so much fun. I highly recommend booking a trip with this company. Whether you're a seasoned kayaker or you've never sat in a kayak, this is the trip for you. Wear water shoes and have a windbreaker if you tend to get chilly easily, like me!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Russian River is a must-see for nature, wine, and food lovers.

  • Travelers embarking on kayak or canoe trips should come prepared with sun protection, swimsuits, towels, and water shoes.

  • Most kayaking, canoeing, and wine tours are not suitable for small children.

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How to Get There

The river runs from Mendocino to its terminus at Goat Rock Beach on the Sonoma Coast, so there are many places to access the water. Be prepared to drive on backcountry roads through forests and farmland. Major highways such as Route 1 and Highway 101 lead to the Russian River from the Bay Area.

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Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Napa and Sonoma

How to Spend 2 Days in Napa and Sonoma

Top Wineries in Sonoma

Top Wineries in Sonoma

Top Wineries in Napa

Top Wineries in Napa


When to Get There

The Russian River Valley wine region is popular for wine tours year-round, but during winter months the river is too fast-flowing for boating or swimming. Summer is the most popular time for kayak and canoe tours, when the weather is typically warm and sunny.

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Food and Wine in the Russian River Valley

The Russian River Valley is famous for its chardonnay, pinot noir, and zinfandel, as well as its bounty of farm-to-table food. Restaurants and wineries in towns along the valley such as Forestville, Healdsburg, and Geyserville typically utilize produce and livestock from the surrounding farmland and are frequently managed by celebrity chefs.

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