People enjoy swimming in the Russian River at Monte Rio Community Beach, Sonoma County
Monte Rio Community Beach

Fun Things to Do in Monte Rio

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Perched on the banks of Sonoma County's Russian River, on the north end of a scenic 10-mile stretch known as the Bohemian Highway, the hamlet of Monte Rio rolls out the welcome mat with flair - the result of long experience as a vacation getaway.

Today, a historic 1950s-style neon sign arches overhead at the entrance to town, proclaiming "Welcome to Monte Rio Vacation Wonderland." 

Tourists began flocking here by train in the 1870s; then by the thousands in the 1930s and '40s, when the era's Big Bands played to huge crowds in outdoor pavilions.

Here are a few fun things to do during your stay in Monte Rio:

Bicycle the Region's Back Roads

The Monte Rio Bridge crosses the Russian River in Sonoma County and is the northern end of the Bohemian Highway
Monte Rio Bridge, the northern end of the Bohemian Highway

Cycling offers one of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding Monte Rio. You might leave Highway 116 just south of town on Cazadero Highway, which runs through woods alongside Austin Creek (experienced cyclists can opt to continue all the way to Cazadero and beyond). You could also ride along the Bohemian Highway to Occidental, stopping at Sonoma Canopy Tours to zipline through redwood trees – or head west on Highway 116, following the Russian River until it meets the Pacific Ocean at Jenner, and then go tidepooling at Goat Rock Beach.

Don't have bikes with you? Russian River Cycle Service in nearby Forestville will deliver hybrid or road bikes to Monte Rio (for a small fee). Each bike comes with a helmet, pump, basket, and enough locks to secure the group; at the end of your ride you just lock the bikes and you're on your way. For other options, check our listings of Bike Rentals & Tours.

Relax on a Beautiful Beach

Trees surround the Russian River at Monte Rio Community Beach where people enjoy the water in Sonoma County
Monte Rio Community Beach

Situated on a large bend of the Russian River at the Monte Rio Bridge, Monte Rio Community Beach offers calm waters, a long and lovely beach on both sides of the river, a concession stand offering food and canoe/kayak rentals, a picnic area, volleyball and horseshoe pits, a good-feel summertime atmosphere - and it's family- and dog-friendly. As if that weren't enough, it's all backdropped by soaring redwood-covered hills. The beach is open from Memorial Day Weekend through September. 

Hit the Links at Northwood Golf Club

Northwood Golf Club is surrounded by redwood trees in Monte Rio, Sonoma County
Northwood Golf Club

Nestled into the beautiful Russian River Valley and backdropped by redwood giants, this par 36 nine-hole course is truly beautiful (and one of its early designers was Dr. Alister MacKenzie, designer of Cypress Point and other famed courses). The pro shop carries brand name apparel and equipment, and PGA Golf Pro Vern Ayres would be happy to give you a lesson that aims to improve your score. And when you do, celebrate at the on-site Northwood Restaurant and Bar, with its redwood dining room, spacious outdoor patio and bar. 

Go Skateboarding at Russian River Skate Park

Located inside Creekside Park, this state-of-the-art skateboarding facility offers ramps, ledges, stairs, half-pipes, a snake run, and more, allowing skaters to practice their sport under fun and safe conditions. (Scooters are also allowed here.) The skate park is open year-round and free of charge. Creekside Park, which is beautifully landscaped and contains a community-run farm and garden, is encircled by a 1/3-mile long trail. The adjacent Lightwave Coffee and Kitchen serves comfort food, baked goods, and top-notch coffee.

The interior of the cozyLightwave Coffee and Kitchen in Monte Rio, Sonoma County
Lightwave Coffee and Kitchen

Find more things to do in Monte Rio here. See Sonoma County's safety tips for water activities here.

Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez.