13 Russian River Hot Spots in Guerneville, CA

Longtime travel and lifestyle editor Kelly Lack of travel app Spot loves a weekend escape to the Russian River’s Guerneville. Here are her must-hit spots to shop, sip, and stay in the LGBT-friendly Sonoma County town

Kelly Lack
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The stylish second outpost of AutoCamp hotel just rolled into town, and, man, it’s good. Like the Santa Barbara original, “rooms” are actually shiny new Airstream trailers outfitted with chic seating areas, tranquil bedrooms, and cool, compact kitchens, with toasty firepits out front.

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Boon Hotel & Spa

This relaxed, romantic boutique hotel feels like a find. The cottages (and glamping tents in summer) surround a pretty pool area with plenty of chaise longues and a great rustic-wood bar. Grab one of the free bikes to pedal around town, and when it gets chilly in the evening, take your pick between soaking in the hot tub or warming your toes by the fire.

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r3 Hotel

On busy weekends, the scene is more pool party than hotel at this gay-friendly getaway, but the welcoming vibe is extended to all guests (free-flowing poolside cocktails help). Wood cottages and pockets of garden make the property feel like summer camp—all grown up.

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Big Bottom Market

This is the hipster coffee shop where you’ll be grabbing your morning pick-me-up—pour-over style, of course—and contemplating your biscuit order. The biscuits are what they’re famous for: huge, delectable squares served with sweet (honey and mascarpone) or savory (pulled pork) accompaniments. Biscuit addiction is a serious concern here, but luckily they sell their mix along with a selection of other small-batch edibles from a picture-perfect larder.

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Seaside Metal

The town’s resident oyster bar, by the guys behind San Francisco’s Bar Crudo, has an on-point raw-bar game. There are oysters, of course, but also crabs and peel-and-eat shrimp, as well as hearty mains like thick-cut spaghetti with clams. If you can swing an early-weekday trip, they do $1 happy-hour oysters from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

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Dick Blomster’s

This mad-genius concept is greasy spoon by day, Korean fusion by night. If you snag a table in the morning, you can have a taste of both—their breakfast menu smartly includes a handful of Korean specialities along with enough eggs-and-bacon standards to please longtime I’ll-have-the-usual regulars. At night, the offerings are Korean—mostly (the dinner menu does hold a fried PB&J sammie and a spiffed-up mac ’n’ cheese). Adjacent is a dive bar, with taxidermy and naked-lady paintings on the walls, that knows the meaning of a stiff drink.

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Boon Eat + Drink

Behind its stamp-size storefront, this mod California bistro has an of-the-moment menu from which you’ll want to order one of everything. Think flash-fried Brussels sprouts with lemon and chili flakes, pesto-doused burrata, truffle fries, and a flat-iron steak with chimichurri.

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Nimble & Finns

Whether you’re sun-baked and looking to cool down, or jonesing for an after-dinner treat, a scoop from this ice cream shop is the answer. It’s one of the micro businesses that make up the Guerneville Bank Club collective, inside a once-abandoned bank building. Flavors to try: maple bourbon bacon brittle, lavender honeycomb, or dark chocolate.

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El Barrio

When you’re ready for a break from wine, this Mexico-themed mescal and tequila drinkery is your play. Even if the decor alone doesn’t win you over—major heart-eye emojis for those serape pillows—its lively cocktails should do the trick. The bar’s namesake El Barrio bebida with mescal, agave, and lime is refreshing yet potent.

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Sonoma Nesting Company

Jam-packed but not junked-up, this antique store on the edge of town is smartly curated by owners with an obvious eye for style—especially when it comes to art.

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Guerneville 5 & 10

Drive down the main drag, and this shop will be the one festooned with swim floaties in various shades of fluorescent. Step inside and you can’t help but appreciate their everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach; they sell a huge variety, from cards to candy with a particularly robust section of all things swim-related.

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Mockingbird Books

“Your hometown bookstore” is the motto of this independent bookseller, the newly opened sister location to the beloved Sebastopol institution. It sells both new and used books and shares a wall with Coffee Bazaar, so you can caffeinate then wander over to score some fresh reading material.

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Johnson’s Beach

In off-season, this Russian River beach is near-empty—save for maybe one lone beach walker and dog. But, summertime is another story: The sand is decorated with spread towels, and the jovial crowd alternates between sunbathing, Frisbie-tossing, and innertubing. You can rent canoes here or drive up the river to Forestville, where Burke’s Canoe Trips has a nice day-long program that includes a pick-up at the end of your paddle. Check out Lack's guide on Spot for more of her Guerneville picks.