You’ve heard of Throwback Thursday; how about Old-School Saturday (or Sunday!). For a scene that’s a pure summer classic, head to the Russian River’s Monte Rio Beach. Enjoy lounging and picnicking at an expansive, exposed beach made for sunbathing, barbecuing, and enjoying concession-stand munchies (Popsicles, cheeseburgers, nachos…).
Monte Rio has been attracting beachgoers for decades, but if you’re looking to escape the crowds for a bit, rent a canoe, kayak, paddleboard, or tube from the concession stand and explore the redwood tree–lined river, flowing very nicely these days. Nose up to a sandbar for a picnic or snack break and stake your own private paradise.
From Hwy. 101 north, go 5 miles past downtown Santa Rosa and take the River Rd. exit toward Guerneville. Stay on River Rd. for 18 miles until you reach Monte Rio. The beach is on the sunny side of the river by Monte Rio Bridge. Rental fees: Canoe or two-person kayak: $20/hour or $40/day. Single kayak: $15/hour or $35/day. Kids kayak: $10/hour or $25/day. Lifejackets provided. Water shoes recommended. Concession/Rental stand open 10:00 a.m. weekends, 11:00 a.m. weekdays (closed Tuesdays). The dog-friendly part of the beach is downstream from the bridge.