Russian River is a meandering river that flows through Sonoma County, to the north of San Francisco. We spent a few days there at a campground cabin, primarily to give our kid some outdoor time with his friends.
Getting there and back
- Driving from Fremont to Cloverdale took us along the East Bay (Hayward, Oakland, Richmond) and over the Richmond bridge. Route north after that is through wine growing country.
- The drive on a Thursday afternoon surprisingly took 3 hours, primarily due to heavy traffic along the East Bay. Once we were in wine country, the 101 was free and easy to drive.
- Drive back also took the same time and had similar traffic.
- We drove into the Thousand Trails Russian River RV Campground and found no ranger at the entrance. Instead, we had to call the number listed there and the ranger directed us over the phone to go directly to our cabin and find our keys there.
- The campground was mostly meant for RVs, of which there were lots, and many families and kids among them. There are only a few cabins in this campground.
- Our cabin was nice with a main bedroom and a two-level bunker bed in another. The kids had lots of fun playing in the bunker bed room. The air conditioning was a great relief in the summer heat.
- The Russian River flows beside the campground and has a small beach there. We spent half a day there with the kids, who had lots of fun playing in the shallow and slow moving cool waters. There is really no shade nearby and our beach umbrellas just kept getting blown over by the wind.
- Each of the cabins also had a picnic table and propane grill outside. One of the memories for our kids was grilling our dinner in the evening on the grille and eating it outdoors.
- The store in the campground was closed indefinitely and this was a hassle. We had to drive to the nearest local store, which was in Cloverdale. There are no big-name stores, like Walmart, anywhere near here.
- The Russian River also has other popular beaches like Mother’s Beach. We chose to visit the Johnson’s Beach, which was a long 1-hour drive away.
- The neighborhood near the beach had a shady downtown feel. But the beach itself was good and the waters were perfect. The snack station and the kayak rentals all seemed to be closed when we were there.
- The kids had an absolute blast here in the relatively deeper, but still slow moving waters.
- Overall, we would recommend visiting a couple of beaches and seeing how different they are.
This was primarily a short trip to get some outdoors time for our kids and they seemed to have a blast. We could not really visit any winery, that is probably something that folks without kids might find easier to do. Russian River is definitely a nice region and we would want to visit again, probably at some other beaches along this river.