California is home to some of the best beaches in North America. Ask any American for their favorite beachside locations, and it’s highly likely they’ll mention some of California’s top beach cities and areas like Santa Monica, Malibu, Venice Beach, and the wonderful coves and bays in places like San Francisco and Santa Cruz, but the fascinating thing about California is that some of the state’s best beaches aren’t even on the coast at all. Lots of great inland beaches can be enjoyed throughout the Golden State, with many of the top recreational spots being located along the shores of the Russian River.
We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
1.Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach
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Easily accessed from Highway 101, Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach is a really pretty little place on the Russian River. It's a big beach park with some outstanding natural scenery all around, with many locals coming down to the sandy spots here at weekends or on special occasions like the 4th of July. Lifeguards come on duty at the weekends and there's a roped-off swimming zone here, so it's a nice spot to bring kids of all ages for a little splashing around. Another good way to make the most of your day at this Russian River beach is to pack a big picnic and find one of the cozy little areas to chill out with good food and good company.
2.Riverfront Regional Park
If you're looking for a huge recreational area to explore for a full day of fun and never get bored, Riverfront Regional Park is the place for you. Located in Healdsburg, not too far from the Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, this park covers 300 acres of land including a huge redwood forest, multiple lakes, and lots of small sandy and pebbly beaches for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Fishing can be a lot of fun here, with various species swimming about in the various lakes, and there are several miles of trails to be enjoyed too. Do note, however, that there is a parking fee at this park, so you'll need to bring a little cash along to gain access to the Russian River beaches.
3.Russian River, CA Beaches: Cloverdale River Park
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Located in the lovely little town of Cloverdale, Cloverdale River Park is actually the biggest public park to be located on the banks of the Russian River. It's easily accessible and has a lot of good amenities including boat launch sites, picnic tables, and ample free parking. You can enjoy some lovely views of untouched Californian countryside here and there are plenty of great activities to enjoy including fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. Several sandy spots can be found at Cloverdale River Park as well, so it's a nice spot to come with the kids, but don't forget to pack a picnic as you won't find any restaurants or cafes in the park.
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4.Russian River Beaches: Sunset Beach River Park
Located out in Forestville and open all day long, Sunset Beach River Park is one of the most tranquil and picturesque spots you could ever hope to find along this California river. It's just off River Road and is actually quite easy to miss, meaning that many tourists and locals don't even know about this pretty little beach and it never gets particularly busy or noisy. The biggest 'crowds' you can expect to find at Sunset Beach River Park are just a few fishermen and friends hanging out together. The fishing is great here but the pebbly beach is a nice spot to sit and enjoy a picnic or romantic stroll as well.
5.Russian River Beaches: Jenner
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Jenner is where the Russian River winds its way out into the Pacific Ocean. It's the end of the line for the Russian River, but it's still a lovely spot to appreciate the river's beauty from the comfort of a soft strip of sand. Jenner is a sleepy little town and a big hit with wildlife lovers, with many seals and sea lions being spotted along the shore. If you're looking for a great way to spend a day, head down to the mouth of the Russian River and find a nice spot on the sand; you'll be able to sit here for hours, watching the sun go down and listening to the gentle hum of the water.
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6.CA Beaches Near Me: Monte Rio Beach
Located along the serene end of the Russian River, Monte Rio Beach is the river’s largest public beach comprised of three smaller beaches. Big Rocky Beach, found on the eastern side of the Monte Rio Bridge, is filled with family-oriented beach activities. Families can play volleyball, kayak, and paddle board out on the water, and enjoy a delicious meal outdoors. Food may be brought in and prepared in various barbecue areas or purchased from one of the many concessions. The smaller Sandy Beach and Dutch Bill Beach are popular areas for fishing, fly-fishing, and picnicking. Monte Rio Beach and its upper parking lot are open to the public all year round.
20488 Highway 116, Monte Rio, California 95462, Phone: 707-865-2487
7.Russian River, CA Beaches: Steelhead Beach
Families are in for loads of summer fun at Steelhead Beach. The beach is filled with activities for every age. Visitors love swimming and paddling out on the water, sunbathing along the beach, and enjoying a yummy outdoor picnic or barbecue. Tubing and boating on larger crafts are also popular activities in the summer. During colder seasons, visitors still frequent the area for fishing, birding, and wildlife viewings. There are also short trails along the riverbank for easy and scenic hikes. This dog-friendly beach gets pretty busy during the summer season, so beachgoers are recommended to arrive early in order to find parking.
9000 River Road, Forestville, California 95436, Phone: 707-433-1625
8.Russian River, CA Beaches: Mom’s Beach
A relaxed spot on the Russian River, Mom’s Beach is the perfect place to visit with kids. The beach, also known as Forestville River Access, is frequented by families looking to enjoy a picnic, sunbathe, splash around in the water, or simply enjoy the scenery and a good book. The river is also a great place for those wanting to paddle out in a kayak or looking for a challenging fishing spot. Families are welcome to bring their furry friends as long as dogs are licensed and on a leash. The beach and parking lot are free and open to the public daily.
10584 River Drive, Forestville, California 95436, Phone: 707-433-1625
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9.CA Beaches Near Me: Goat Rock Beach
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Located at the mouth of the Russian River, Goat Rock Beach is one of the less crowded beaches in the area. The beach usually only encounters a high number of visitors during the peak of summer, but its frequency of visitors has nothing to do with its beauty. Due to the ocean’s strong current, swimming at the beach is strictly prohibited, but visitors are welcome to admire its jaw-dropping scenery. Goat Rock Beach has a beautiful summertime sandbar, rocky outcroppings and cliffs along the coast, and hypnotizing waves crashing along the sandy shoreline. Several marine mammals can also be found frequenting the beach including river otters, elephant seals, and sea lions. Visitors may view the animals from a recommended 50-yard distance.
Highway 1 and Goat Rock Road, Jenner, California 95450, Phone: 707-875-3483
10.CA Beaches Near Me: Russian Gulch State Beach
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Located just two miles from Mendocino, visitors can find a beautiful merging of pristine beaches with leafy canyons and majestic headlands at the Russian Gulch State Beach. The area is filled with jaw-dropping scenery from one end to another. The western side of the park is mostly comprised of large headlands and a 100-foot-wide blowhole nearly 200 feet from the coast. Several picnic areas are also available for visitors to use. The eastern side offers campgrounds and several trails for hikers, cyclists, and even horse riders. Visiting in the springtime is especially beautiful as the foggy headlands are covered with blooming wildflowers.
CA-1, Mendocino, California 95460, Phone: 707-937-5804
11.CA Beaches Near Me: Shell Beach
For those who enjoy quiet and remote beaches, take a visit to Shell Beach. Located south of the Russian River within the Sonoma Coastal State Park, this narrow and rocky beach is better known among fishermen looking to catch various kinds of fish. Beachgoers can also comb through the beach for interesting shells, explore tidepools and mussel-covered rocks, or simply admire the scenery as waves crash against the giant rocks offshore. Camping and hiking are also available in the area with campgrounds in the nearby Wrights Beach and the Kortum Trail winding along the steep bluffs. Visitors can access the beach through a short and steep hike, however, the path may get slippery when wet, so good shoes would be a helpful companion.
Highway 1 and Shell Beach Road, Jenner, California 95450
The Russian River runs for 110 miles in total and has a basin of almost 1,500 square miles in total. It begins in the Laughlin mountains not too far from the city of Willits and flows out into the Pacific Ocean at Jenner. It's one of California's prettiest and largest rivers and a key recreation area for many people all around the state, but especially in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, where the locals simply call it ‘The River’. There are some stunning views to be seen all along the Russian River, including vast natural landscapes and magnificent man-made vineyards, and a whole host of gorgeous beaches to be enjoyed as well.
Best Russian River Beaches
If you’re planning a beach trip in California but want to try something different to the typical Pacific Coast locations, why not check out the Russian River? There are dozens of charming beaches of all varieties to be found along the banks of this famous river, and lots of fun activities can be enjoyed here like fishing, kayaking, swimming, hiking, cycling, and more. Read on for full details on the features and amenities of the best Russian River beaches.
11 Best Russian River, California Beaches
- Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, Photo: New Africa/stock.adobe.com
- Riverfront Regional Park, Photo: Alexei/stock.adobe.com
- Russian River, CA Beaches: Cloverdale River Park, Photo: Lyubov Furs/stock.adobe.com
- Russian River Beaches: Sunset Beach River Park, Photo: Cyril/stock.adobe.com
- Russian River Beaches: Jenner, Photo: Jeremy Francis/stock.adobe.com
- CA Beaches Near Me: Monte Rio Beach, Photo: Norm/stock.adobe.com
- Russian River, CA Beaches: Steelhead Beach, Photo: Mihail/stock.adobe.com
- Russian River, CA Beaches: Mom’s Beach, Photo: jackfrog/stock.adobe.com
- CA Beaches Near Me: Goat Rock Beach, Photo: Gary Saxe/stock.adobe.com
- CA Beaches Near Me: Russian Gulch State Beach, Photo: Jeremy Francis/stock.adobe.com
- CA Beaches Near Me: Shell Beach, Photo: Simion/stock.adobe.com
- More Info, Photo: alena0509/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Melastmohican - Fotolia.com
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