When you are staying at Dillon Beach or the Russian River, you are surrounded by a plethora of beautiful, quaint towns rich with art, gourmet food, and world class wineries.
Here is some info on different towns in the area that you may want to explore during your stay!
With timeless qualities and a touch of European charm, Windsor captures the imagination of those wishing to tour a community famous for its family-friendly environment in a region known for winemaking, culinary arts and breathtaking vistas. Located in the Russian River Valley, this region is home to hundreds of wineries and tasting rooms where you can sample and pair local vintages with mild or zesty cheeses, gourmet chocolates, artisan breads, farm-grown produce and other regional delicacies.
About an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge awaits a veritable country within a wondrous state, where natural beauty unites with world-renowned California artists and artisans to inspire the senses. They call it Healdsburg.
Whether you're visiting to sample from an abundance of world class wineries, to feast from the very best in farm-to-table dining, or to just explore the picture-perfect countryside of lush valleys and redwood forests that cradle Lake Sonoma and the Russian River, you will delight in everything...but leaving.
Known for its charm, beautiful landscape and artistic community, Sebastopol embraces a sustainable environment. Also known for its agriculture, Sebastopol is the gateway to the Russian River Wine Country where Pinot Noir originates and the Gravenstein Apple!
Protected by a bay from the wild whims of the Pacific Ocean, Bodega Bay is a picturesque fishing village on the Sonoma Coast that harbors sights, sounds, and activities — by land or by sea — that calls to the adventurer in all of us. Bodega Head, a rocky cliff that overlooks the ocean, is perfect for strolling along the cliffs and watching for migrating whales.
As Sonoma County's first historic district, tiny Freestone (pop. 32) is home to a number of classic western style buildings. Located at the southern end of the scenic 10-mile drive known as the Bohemian Highway, Freestone is nestled in an exquisitely picturesque valley and surrounded by pastoral vistas and rolling hills. It's a common stop for cyclists tacking the western county roads, and for travelers heading to the Sonoma Coast via Bodega Bay. Freestone is also know for it's bakery, cheese shop, antique store and spa, all of which people go out of their way to visit!
AND HERE ARE THE SMALLER TOWNS ALONG THE RUSSIAN RIVER AS YOU HEAD TO THE COAST!
Guerneville – Known as the “Heart of the Russian River”, this town of roughly 4500 people is the largest of the villages along the Lower Russian River. Its many resorts, restaurants and shops have been welcoming locals and tourists for over 120 years. Guerneville’s biggest attractions are the Armstrong Woods State Reserve and Johnson’s Beach, as well as large festivals such as Women’s Weekend, the Blues/Jazz Festival and Lazy Bear Weekend.
Rio Nido – Back in the day, this village made its mark as the place to go for big bands, weekend dances and bowling. Rio Nido, (which means “river nest” in Spanish) is now home to some 2000 people and has a charming community of year-round and vacation homes nestled amongst the winding roads and dense redwood forest. Rio Nido’s main attractions are the Rio Nido Roadhouse, the Rio Nido Pool and the Rio Nido Lodge which houses local theatrical productions.
Forestville - This small town’s laid-back and comfortable atmosphere is the place to enjoy the good life. Although not directly located on the banks of the Russian River, Forestville connects the rest of West Sonoma County to the Russian River. Forestville is home to approximately 3300 people and features many great restaurants, El Molino High school, Burke’s Canoe Trips and Steelhead River Beach.
Monte Rio – This vacation wonderland was home to Sonoma County’s first elevator inside the Montrio Hotel and was made famous as the summer encampment of the Bohemian Men’s Club of San Francisco. Monte Rio’s dog-friendly public beach attracts hundreds of visitors and 1100 locals alike. The town’s biggest events are the Monte Rio Variety Show, produced and hosted by the Bohemian Club and the 4th of July Big Rocky Games and Fireworks show.
Duncans Mills – This enclave is the second smallest of the villages along the river, with only 175 people calling it home. Duncans Mills was best known for its authentic Northwest Pacific Railway train station which is now a Historical Museum. This charming small town is also known for it’s fine shops and spectacular Cajun dining.
Jenner - This small town sits atop the coastal cliffs overlooking the mouth of the Russian River. With a population of about 130 people, Jenner is the smallest village in the Russian River region. Its main attractions are two fabulous restaurants, the river estuary kayaking and the Goat Rock Sonoma Coast State Beach. Jenner is also an excellent spot for viewing harbor seals and their pups (at a safe distance, of course).
Occidental - A town built around the Northwest Pacific Railway train stop, Occidental has flourished into the small bohemian community we know it as today. Occidental’s restaurants, shops and close proximity to the world famous Sonoma Canopy Tours redwood zip lining course make it a must for a Sonoma County vacation.
Cazadero - This small logging town was first established as a hunting camp, growing until its population grew large enough to merit its own Post Office. Follow Cazadero Highway six miles to the small downtown where you can see the old mill grounds, the historic Hotel and the General Store. Follow the highway up the mountains where you’ll connect with Fort Ross Road which takes you through the wilderness, ending at Fort Ross on the coast.