If you’re lucky enough to be able to spend a few days in Jenner on the Sonoma County coast, be ready to slow down, relax, and immerse yourself in stunning natural beauty.
Located where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean, Jenner (pop. 136) is a place where the pace is up to you — you can challenge yourself with a rugged hillside hike with stunning coastal views, paddle a kayak on the river or ocean, stroll leisurely on a beautiful beach or high bluff, sit on the sand and watch a colony of sea lions, or snuggle into a comfy chair while sipping fine wine, nibbling fine food, and enjoying the view out the window.
There are several ways to reach Jenner from Highway 101 — the multi-lane freeway running north-south in central Sonoma County — and all of them are scenic. From Petaluma, head west out of town on East Washington Street as it turns into Bodega Avenue; go right on Valley Ford, then right again on winding Highway 1, following it north for 10 or so beautiful miles to Jenner.
From Cotati, follow Highway 116 west through the farming communities of Sebastopol, Graton, and Forestville, and on through the river towns of Guerneville, Monte Rio, and Duncan Mills, until you hit Highway 1 where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean. You can also take the River Road exit off Highway 101 in northern Santa Rosa, following the meandering Russian River first on River Road and then on Highway 116 to Highway 1, and Jenner.
Jenner is basically a wide spot along two-lane Highway 1, just north of its intersection with Highway 116 — but Jenner is also so much more than that, offering a variety of natural delights as well as lodgings, eateries, and businesses tucked away along more than 20 miles of wild and beautiful coastline.
Whatever you choose to do and wherever you go in this rustic coastal community, the people will be friendly and the scenery will be absolutely amazing.
Here’s a two-day itinerary with a few suggestions for spending a lovely 48 hours in Jenner. Feel free to mix and match the activities that appeal to you, to create your own memorable Jenner getaway.