Sonoma County's Gay Playground

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Winter is quickly turning into an early Spring!

Daffodils are going to be blooming in about 3 weeks and the Camilla trees are already in bloom, but that's winter in Sonoma County for you. Warm weather and sunny sky. It's the perfect time to come for a visit. 

Winter Deals! As usual during the winter and spring many of our resorts, inns, b&b's and vacation rental properties are offering special rates. Feel free to take advantage! We love that.

Wildfire Damage: We don't want to gloss over the recent damage from wildfires in our area - it has been devestating for many parts of Sonoma and Napa Counties. We all feel very fortunate that the fires were confined to a relatively small area. It has also been very wonderful to see folks working together to overcome this tragedy and to rebuild. Part of the rebuilding process is YOU, our visitors.

We need YOU to come, right now, and be a tourist. Because the parts of Sonoma County that you come here for - the redwood forests, wineries, shops, food, farms, ocean, whales and all of that - it's still here. Hasn't been damaged at all. Most touists to the Russian River will not see any fire damage at all other than along the freeway north of Santa Rosa because most of the damage was to residential areas. We can help our neighbors by encouraging our visitors to return and enjoy themselves. That lets all us locals do our jobs, get paid and then support all of our local businesses like usual. Then they pay their employees and our local economy survives. So if you've been to the River, love it and want to know how to help us all recover - the best way is to come and stay! If you haven't been here before - come and stay - you'll have a wonderful experience!

Winter/Spring Events:

  • Wine: Winter Wineland is Jan 13 & 14, Barell Tasting is the first 2 weekends in March (check for deets)
  • Cheese: Artisan Cheese Festival happens in March in Petaluma
  • Crab: it's crab season and there are crab feeds happening all over Sonoma County during January & February. 
  • Whales: Whale watching off the coast. You can see them from Hwy 1 and from Bodega Head (Bodega Bay)
  • Wildflowers: In bloom now and just getting better!


What to do? Your choices are varied:

Hiking: Armstrong Woods/Austin Creek is close to Guerneville and a great place for either a hike or a pleasant walk. There are also hiking and walking trails out nearer the ocean where the temperature will be about 20 degrees cooler!

Kayaking: this time of year we kayak the Russian River delta in Jenner or the Laguna de Santa Rosa near Sebastopol. Lots of wild life especially birds to see!

Bicycling: Great rides in the hills and throughout the county. 

Wine / Craft Beer / Spriit Tasting OR Cheese / Creameries / Bakeries: To drink or not to drink? We've got tasty treats for everyone. 

Oh, and we'll give you a tip - when you stay, let your innkeeper know about what your plans are and they may have special discounts and 2 for 1 coupons for things like wine tasting and some of the other attractions in the area.


But really, what's going on? Well...

  • *   Fun with the locals. Get a chance to chat up the locals at various weekly events: Check out the calendars at the
  •      Rainbow Cattle Company and at the R3 Hotel.
  • *   First Friday Artwalk - the first friday of the month our local galleries stay open in the evening and offer opportunities
  •      to meet artists.
  • *   Amazing food. And Wine. And cheese.

Oh, and many of the local establishments will have special events going on, take a look at their websites for details.


What's New?

If you haven't visited before, just scroll down and we'll let you know what you've been missing. For all of our regular fans, a quick update on what's going on...

For Activities (festivals, theme weekend, etc.) check out our calendar AND these local event calendars (R3 Hotel, Russian River Chamber, Sonoma County Tourism, Wine Road) Gay events in town include Women's Weekend (May); Sonoma County Pride (June); Lazy Bear (Aug ) and, of course, all the major summer holiday weekends (Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day). Every 2nd Saturday the Russian River Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence throw a big ol' BINGO party to raise funds for any number of worthy causes (check out their calendar)

Restaurants & Bars: New additions in the last few years would include: Timberline (at the old Bucks/JuicyPig location) serves up great cocktails and beers to go with barbecue and other favorites, The Farmhand on River Road east of Guerneville. A great new deli with tasty take and bake items for dinner (shepard's pie) and a coffee bar, they have a wonderful deck overlooking the river.

Needing a Spa Day? We've got lots of options for you to choose from. Get a massage at your favorite inn or resort. Pamper yourself with a facial. Although many of our salons offered manicures (and pedicures) we now have a Nail Salon. They have the huge massage chairs with a foot jacuzzi (featuring all the latest tech for safe & hygenic foot care).

Farmer's Market (seasonal June through September: We've got our own FM every Thursday afternoon from 3pm to about 7pm. At least once a month there is live music as well. Based on last summer... we found a wonderful assortment of fresh fruit, vegetables, organic meats, local fish and cheeses, along with plants, flowers and some crafts.

All the time:

Nightlife:  We've got live music at several of our local restaurants and bars (and, of course, at the River Theater), kareoke and local theater productions.

Outdoors: Hiking, Canoing, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Segway Touring, Wine tasting, Zipline through the Redwoods! Birding, wildflowers, tidepooling, fishing, kite flying (ok you need to go to the ocean for this as the trees get in the way!)

Warm & friendly locals. All ready to make your visit to our part of Sonoma County memorable (in a good way).

Hope to see you at the River soon!


Sonoma County's Gay Playground

The Russian River is the West Coast's favorite LGBT playground. Situated in the heart of Western Sonoma County, this string of offbeat river villages attracts thousands of LGBT visitors every year for a wide range of activities and fun.

Enjoy new experiences every time you visit. Gorgeous dry, sunny days dominate May - September, perfect for sunning by a pool with your friends or canoeing down the River. You can go biking, hiking and wine-tasting during the day, and every evening there is something happening at the bars & clubs.

Or you can decide to do nothing at all and relax after dinner to the sound of the wind in the redwoods.

Boasting over 250 of the world's most award-winning wineries, 76 miles of scenic coastline, pristine beaches, the mystical Russian River and majestic redwoods, Sonoma County is uniquely experienced with the Russian River as your home base.

The River offers all types of gay and gay-friendly accommodations from resorts and inns to camping under a canopy of brilliant stars. Local restaurants range from simple taquerias and burger joints to four star restaurants. Special weekends feature jazz, wine, women, leather and bears.

Guerneville is the focus of the area's gay nightlife - one of the few resort towns in the country where you can proudly walk down Main Street day or night.

Whether visiting for a weekend, a week or longer, you won't find any other getaway that matches the Russian River's unique and spectacular natural beauty, combined with friendly businesses and residents who genuinely appreciate diversity.

Come out to the River and see why so many people return year after year.