In the regions known as Russian River, dramatic vineyards give way to majestic redwood groves and spectacular coastal scenery. This enchanted getaway is about 70 miles north of San Francisco, so it’s a favorite weekend retreat for harried city dwellers. But the secret’s out, and Californians aren’t the only ones who flock to the resorts in the township of Guerneville.
What's in store? Hiking in the misty forests, horseback riding, canoeing, hot-air balloon rides, and wine tasting, for starters. Then there’s those romantic nights in front of a fire.
Fly into San Francisco International Airport, (about 70 miles to the south of Guerneville), Oakland (67 miles away), or Sacramento (120 miles and with fewer traffic hassles). Rent a car or take a shuttles, taxi, bus or limousine to your destination. Alternately, fly into the small Charles M. Schulz, Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, a 30 minute drive from Guerneville. Direct flights on Alaska Airlines connect with Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, and Portland. For bus services see websites of Airport Express, Mendocino Transit or Sonoma County Transit. If driving, avoid Friday and Sunday afternoon traffic whenever possible.
A car is the best — actually, it’s just about the only — way to get around the Russian River area. Guerneville itself is small enough to walk or bike around.
Media & Resources
KRCB is a local radio station (91FM and online stream) with LGBT community programming each Sunday at 8pm.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Russian River/ Guerneville listings pages.
Wine-country accommodations do not come any more relaxed or romantic than at Applewood Estate Inn (13555 Highway 116, Guerneville; 707-869-9093). Gay-friendly retreat, elegant indulgence with restaurant, pool, spa, solarium, and spectacular garden.
If flush with cash, try the Boon Hotel+Spa (14711 Armstrong Woods Rd, Guerneville; 707-869-2706) opened by two women and named for their dog in the renovated former Retreat Resort location.
Candlelight Inn (1045 Easum Dr, Napa; 800-624-0395) in 1929 postmaster's English Tudor-style house, romantic, soothing wine country environment. A talented team of veteran innkeepers take good care of you.
Christopher's Inn (1010 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga; 866-876-5755), boutique hotel luxury, fireplaces, feather beds, patios, breakfast, Jacuzzi tubs, bath robes, WiFi and cable TV.
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant (7871 River Rd, Forestville; 800-464-6642), eighteen cottages, rooms and suites on 6 acres, heated pool, 6 concierges, full farm-fresh breakfasts.
Fern Grove (16650 Highway 16, Guerneville; 888-243-2674) has cottages with spa tubs, fireplaces and skylights, a heated pool, a short drive from ocean beaches and vineyard tours.
Gay Gay Napa Getaways/ Absolute Gay Travel (1370 Trancas St #356, Napa) offers the best in food, wine and accommodations in California's wine country. Wine tastings, vineyard tours, vacation homes and hotels and event arrangements are their forte.
Perched on a mountain, Highlands Resort (14000 Woodland Dr, Guerneville; 707-869-0333), retreat on three wooded acres, is a short walk from the action. Camping is permitted for a modest fee.
Luxe Calistoga (1139 Lincoln Ave, Calistoga; 707-942-9797), 5-guest rooms, adult-only old-world luxury, modern amenities, fireplaces, brunch-style breakfast, WiFi, iPads.
Two blocks off Main St, Downtown Guerneville, Russian River Resort (16390 4th St; 800-41-RESORT), 24 deluxe adult-only guest rooms, large pool deck, and two bars (Promenade Pool Bar & BBQ and Piano Bar) with entertainment and gay crowd all week.
Village Inn (20822 River Blvd, Monte Rio; 707 865-2304), river and mountain views, terrace, ten guestrooms with balconies, decks; award-winning Sonoma County restaurant.
The Woods (16484 4th St; 877-887-9218), at quiet corner bend of Fifes Creek in downtown Guerneville, amidst the redwoods; cottages, cabins and full-amenity suites, plus one of the largest pools around.
Bars & clubs
McT's Bull Pen (16246 First St, Guerneville), 24 beers on tap, cocktails and wine, live music, DJs, dancing, karaoke, pool table, big screen TV sports, etc.
Rainbow Cattle Company (16220 Main St, Guerneville), spunky, rustic "queer steer" bar, the Rainbow welcomes all from 6am "come hell or highwater!" Quart jars of Long Island Ice Tea, Rainbow Root Beer floats, and Mad Cow. Hump Nite potluck nights, pool table and outdoor patio.
R3/Triple R Bar at Russian River Resort (16390 4th St, Guerneville), nightly bar and restaurant; drag, and occasional comedy shows.
Boon Eat+Drink (16248 Main St, Guerneville) modern California bistro; seasonal, local and usually organic food. Small plates of meat, cheese, panini, salads, with local wines and micro brews.
Cafe Claudio (9890 Bodega Hwy, Sebastopol), casual dining, friendly atmosphere, Italian food and wine.
Coffee Bazaar (14045 Armstrong Woods, Guerneville), a refreshing alternative to the chains, with indoor and outdoor seating. A community-oriented hangout with coffee, sandwiches, wraps, and light fare.
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant (7871 River Rd, Forestville) Gourmet Magazine and Zagat rave. Delicious, wholesome, intensely flavored dishes that rely entirely on in season food at its peak.
Flavors Unlimited (16450 Main St, Guerneville) has coffee, tea, ice cream and frozen yogurt.
River's End Restaurant (11048 Hwy One, Jenner) breathtaking views and romantic dining where the river meets the Sonoma coast. Eclectic menu for lunch and dinner.
Willow Wood Cafe & Market (9020 Graton Rd, Graton), breakfast, lunch, dinner; books, unusual gifts, beer & wines, garden dining.
Zazu (6770 McKinley, Sebastopol) roadhouse restaurant in midst of 150 local wineries. Italian-inpired playful Americana cuisine. Dinner and weekend brunch.