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.
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.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.
4.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.
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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.
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.
5 Best Russian River Beaches