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Guerneville is surrounded by natural beauty and is full of rustic charm, and should definitely make your Wine Country short list. The town has been a country getaway for San Francisco’s well-heeled gay community for years, and although it is becoming more well-known in other circles, it retains its woodsy, down-to-earth personality that brings visitors back year after year. Follow our guide below to discover the best of Guerneville.

Local Wine Tasting

There are hundreds of wineries within a 30 minute drive of Guerneville, with flavors and prices to suit every preference and budget. Sonoma County’s laws are more lax about picnics than Napa Valley’s, and the restaurants are spaced farther apart, so pack a picnic to bring with you. Here are a few of our favorite wineries:

korbel-750Image Source: Yelp

13250 River Rd
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 824-7000
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 297 reviews
Reservation: Not required for groups of 10 or less

Korbel has been a staple of Sonoma County since 1882, when the winery was founded by the Bohemian Korbel brothers. All of the sparkling wines are made in the traditional method (or methode champenoise, where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, creating millions of tiny bubbles), and range from dry to sweet. Educational tours of the winery and the gardens are offered daily, and are a great experience for larger groups or those just getting interested in wine. Insider tip: Visit the deli on-site and pick up some provisions for a picnic to pair with your bubbles.

gary-farrell-vineyards-&-winery-750Image Source: Yelp

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery
10701 Westside Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 473-2909
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 115 reviews
Reservations: Required

Gary Farrell specializes in Russian River Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also makes some tasty Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel. Gary Farrell began making wine in 1982, and in 2000 he built a new winery on top of a ridge overlooking Russian River Valley, with spectacular views. The winery staff put their hearts into the experiences they offer, so be sure to schedule some time to tour the cellar or enjoy a guided tasting of the single-vineyard wines available only at the winery. Insider tip: Gary Farrell partners with neighbors Benovia and Dutton Goldfield to offer an awesome all-day Ultimate Russian River Valley Wine Experience, which includes winery and vineyard tours, lunch, private tastings, and more.

arista-winery-750Image Source: Yelp

Arista Winery
7015 Westside Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 473-0606
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 43 reviews
Reservations: Required – Cannot accommodate groups larger than 8

Arista’s focus is Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, sourced from some of the best vineyards in the area. They also produce worthwhile Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel, most of which are available only at the winery. The small tasting room is surrounded by a mesmerizing Japanese water garden, with something different in bloom each season. Insider tip: Arista’s beautiful grounds are perfect for hosting events, from wedding receptions to company retreats.

Hike Among Giants

armstrong-redwoods-state-natural-reserve-750Image Source: Yelp

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
17000 Armstrong Woods Rd
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-2015
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 697 reviews

Armstrong Redwoods is a short drive from Guerneville but feels a world away. Great hiking trails wind through majestic Sequoia trees (also known as Coast Redwoods) that are over 500 years old and over 200 feet tall. The Reserve offers parking, picnic facilities, a visitor center, an amphitheater, and several self-guided nature trails. Insider tip: Ogle the largest tree in the park—higher than a football stadium is long, at 310 feet—and the oldest tree—1,400 years old—on easy walks close to the park entrance.

Water, Sun, and Fun

johnsons-beachImage Source: Yelp

Johnson’s Beach
16215 First St
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-2022
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 53 reviews

Johnson’s Beach has been a Guerneville tradition for over 100 years. Rent a chair and an umbrella, stake out your spot, and let the fun begin. Swim in the roped off “kiddie pool” or in the deeper river dam, float in rented inner tubes, or get a bit more active with paddle boats or kayaks. When it’s lunchtime, head to the snack bar for hot dogs and ice cream. Located near downtown Guerneville with free admission, there isn’t an easier or more fun way to spend a summer afternoon. The beach is open Saturdays and Sundays, May through September. Insider tip: Check the events calendar for parties, triathlons, music festivals, and more fun events at the beach all summer long.

Adventure on the Russian River

russian-river-adventures-750Image Source: Yelp

Russian River Adventures
20 Healdsburg Ave
Healdsburg, CA 95448
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 38 reviews

The wide, lazy Russian River is the perfect place to spend a sunny day. Rent an inner tube, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard from one of the many river outfitters in located in or near Guerneville. You can venture out on your own, hire a guide, or join a tour group for the day. Insider tip: A canoe is the best way to see wildlife on the river, which is rich and varied, from osprey to egrets.

Visit the Flea Market

guerneville-flea-market-750Image Source: Yelp

Guerneville Flea Market
16405 CA-116
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-9433

Search for treasures in the Safeway parking lot each Saturday morning at the Guerneville Flea Market. Grab a cup of coffee and then wander from table to table, discovering the odds and ends that Russian River Valley’s residents have collected over decades. You’ll find the most authentic souvenirs of your trip here! Insider tip: Bring cash in small bills to make bargaining easier.

Stroll Main Street

main-street-guerneville-750Image Source: and

Guerneville’s “downtown” is centered on a few blocks of Main Street, filled with a mix of trendy coffee shops, boutiques, art galleries, and wine bars, alongside rural small town staples like hardware stores and diners. The staff are locals who have lived here for decades, so ask them to share tips about where to dine, hike, and wine taste. Insider tip: Check out the Guerneville 5 & 10, where you’ll find old fashioned candy, vintage toys, and classic Americana.

pee-wee-golf-&-arcade-750Image Source: Pee Wee Golf & Arcade

Pee Wee Golf & Arcade
16155 Drake Rd
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-9321
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 17 reviews

Feel like a kid again at Pee Wee Golf & Arcade, one of the best examples of old-school mini golf kitsch left in the U.S. Fantastical dragons and brightly colored dinosaurs watch over players on two miniature golf courses, and vintage arcade games offer hours of entertainment. Well-maintained and fun for ages 2 to 102, this is a must! Insider tip: Pee Wee Golf & Arcade is open until 10 p.m., so take a break from the bars one night and make this your date night instead.

Check Out the Bar Scene

rainbow-cattle-company-750Image Source: Yelp

Guerneville is the crown jewel in the collection of Russian River Valley towns that embrace a thriving gay culture. The bars are one of the best places to experience the fun, so suit up and dive in! Some fun places to start are Rainbow Cattle Company, known as “Sonoma County’s Gay Playground,” sports bar McT’s Bullpen, and Whitetail Wine Bar, where you can find dozens of local Russian River Valley wines. Insider tip: Order one of the Rainbow Cattle Company’s signature Mason Jar Drinks. It’s just not a night out in Guerneville until you’ve had one!

Get Some Culture

pegasus-theater-750Image Source: Website

The Pegasus Theater
Location: Each performance is held in different locations, check the website for details
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 1 review

Step outside your normal vacation routine and catch a performance by this nomadic theater company. Local and traveling actors perform in these low-key productions of classic and avant-garde plays. Each new play is performed in a different venue, sometimes in an outdoor amphitheater and sometimes in a community center. Insider tip: The venue can be outside, so check ahead of time to see if you need to bring cushions, blankets, a picnic, etc.

Eat Your Way Through Guerneville

boon-eat-&-drink-750Image Source: Yelp

boon eat & drink
16248 Main St
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-0780
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 315 reviews
Reservations: Recommended

boon eat + drink serves up Sonoma-local ingredients for California-fresh dishes, and is a must-taste for your Guerneville visit. The restaurant was featured in Food & Wine and Sunset magazines for its flavorful food and warm atmosphere. Everything from their flash-fried brussel sprouts to chili braised pork shoulder is delicious, so come hungry. Insider tip: Order the Belfiore Burrata with beet hazelnut pesto for an unforgettable starter.

big-bottom-market-750Image Source: Yelp

Big Bottom Market
16228 Main St
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 604-7295
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 84 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Big Bottom Market is part gourmet deli, part farmers market, and is the place to start your morning. Come in the morning for coffee and biscuits, then come back in the afternoon to stock up on wine, cheese and other provisions for happy hour. You’ll find a great selection of local wines, in case you haven’t had time to explore the surrounding wineries. Insider tip: Order the Sea Biscuit to chase away your post-Rainbow Cattle Company night: a cheddar/thyme biscuit with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, capers, pickled onions, and fresh greens.

Guerneville may be small, but it offers everything a wine, food, and nature lover could want. Come for a romantic getaway or a celebration with friends, and fall in love with this Wine Country town like countless others before you.

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