Coastal Getaway Country
The Russian River resort region offers a wide
variety of accommodations, restaurants, parks and
wineries. Coastal travelers should think about taking a
side-trip along the Russian River, or plan to make the
Russian River Valley a stop-over spot while you explore
the coastal route.
This is an area of great natural beauty as
the river winds through orchards and vineyards, and
through forests of giant redwoods. Five villages, close
to the coast, offer views of Russian River rusticity,
along with distinctive and historic hotels.
Communities in the region include Guerneville
-- the largest town -- with several smaller villages
offering distinctive vacation opportunities.
What to See & Do
In 1886, Sam and Alex Duncan founded
Duncans Mills after being flooded out of their
sawmill site at Salt Point. The mill and post office were
barged to the present site in 1886. Today, there's a
general store, campground, several restaurants and the
old post office. This spot on Moscow Rd. is handy for
Sonoma Beach campers to pick up provisions or to go for a
lunch or dinner.
Blue Heron Inn, a restaurant and bar
in Duncans Mills, is a turn-of-the-century restored
tavern. The redwood-finished dining room features fish,
chicken, and vegetarian dishes and in the summer
barbecued oysters are served in the garden on Sundays.
Across the road is Cape Fear, a full-scale
restaurant with an outside dining patio. A nearby wine
and cheese shop features local wines with a Friday
evening "happy hour." The Duncans Mills General
Store carries a full stock of regional wines and
supplies for picnickers, campers, and anglers.
In Cazadero, north off Hwy. 116,
there's a general store with picnic supplies and Sonoma
wines, as well as fishing supplies, gasoline and
Monte Rio is a larger community --
but still a village -- on the south bank of the Russian
River. Drive along Highway 116 southwest of Guerneville,
take the Bohemian Highway across the Russian River
Bridge, and you're there. Monte Rio is definitely a
summer resort town. It has a good selection of historic,
rustic and modern accommodations in addition to good
restaurants -- a good place to stay while exploring the
Russian River wine country and the nearby coastal areas.
The redwood-studded Northwood Golf
Course with a scenic layout along the river is
located between Guerneville and Monte Rio on Hwy 116 and
includes a restaurant, with patio dining overlooking the
fairway, a bar, and a dance floor.
Due south of Monte Rio, the Bohemian
Highway winds its scenic way to meet Highway 12 (Bodega
Highway). It intersects several other backroads,
including a major intersection is the village of
Like their larger cousin Guerneville,
Rio Nido and Monte Rio are close enough to
the San Francisco Bay Area to attract a large number of
day trippers and weekend holidayers, who come here to
enjoy the riverside forest settings and the relaxed
lifestyle of the quaint inns of the area. Rio Nido is on
the north bank of the river, accessed by River Road. It
is just east of Guerneville, close to river activities
and near Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve.
Cazanoma Lodge, at 1000 Kidd Rd. has overnight
accommodations including continental breakfast and its
restaurant is open for dinner.
If you're partial to out-of-the-way overnight
experiences, the Heart's Desire Inn offers B&B
accommodations in a renovated 1867 Victorian home with
private baths, antique furnishings and a country
In Monte Rio:
One of the prime features of Monte Rio is an historic
three-story inn, built in 1906, which served as "Holiday
Inn" in the 1940s film. Now called the Village
Inn, the hotel has basic rooms as well as one-bedroom
suites in two buildings and a large lobby with a
Rio Villa is a small quiet resort along the
banks of the river in Monte Rio, with abundant gardens,
lawns, and redwood groves. On fair-weather weekends, a
buffet breakfast is served on the redwood patio and the
patio, with its outdoor fireplace, is an inviting
gathering place in the evening.
Huckleberry Springs is a country inn on 56
acres, a mile from the river. All the cottages and cabins
have private baths, and there's a swimming pool and
whirlpool here. This is a full-service operation with a
restaurant. Complimentary breakfast is served to
overnighters. Huckleberry Springs also has a modified
American Plan with breakfast, dinner and lunch included
in the fare.
In Rio Nido:
The resort hotel here is the Rio Inn, an intimate and
moderately-priced resort in the redwoods. The inn has a