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Charmingly rustic, the town of Guerneville (pop. 4,534) mixes towering redwoods, cool river waters, laid-back attitudes, and Sonoma Wine Country delights in a pleasing blend that makes it a popular destination, as well as an established gay vacation resort. Guerneville has always been a vacation getaway for San Franciscans — by train in the 1870s to the 1930s, and by car through the 1950s. In the 1970s it became a welcoming resort area for Bay Area gay men and lesbians.
Today, visitors stay in cozy cabins, uniquely rustic resorts, campgrounds, vacation rentals, and other lodgings. They can choose to eat at trendy restaurants, food stands, or hip cafes reminiscent of the flower-power era. And with more than 50 wineries within a 20-minute drive, wine tasting in the cool-climate Russian River Valley wine region is definitely a must for wine lovers.
With canoes, kayaks, inner tubes, umbrellas, and beach chairs available for rent, Johnson's Beach & Resort provides the main river access in downtown Guerneville, within walking distance of restaurants and shops. Visit the awe-inspiring, 805-acre Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, two miles north of Guerneville's Main Street. Walk among the serene, majestic beauty of California coast redwoods, some of the world's tallest living things. It can be a transforming experience.