Great Swimming Beaches in Sonoma County
A sizzlin' summer day in Sonoma County - the kind of day that's absolutely made for a beautiful beach where you can relax, take a dip, and cool off.
Together, we can protect and preserve the beauty and natural resources of Sonoma County for generations to come. Check out our page on Sustainable Travel, and look over the Leave No Trace Seven Principles.
Summer 2021 note: Like most of the West Coast, Sonoma County is currently experiencing a drought. We recommend visiting our resource page for information and water conservation tips as you plan your trip.
Here are a few suggestions for cooling off:
Sonoma County Regional Parks
The county system boasts more than 50 parks, and several offer good swimming beaches. Two include lifeguards:
Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach: Swim, wade, and splash in the Russian River on this great sandy beach. The swimming area (created by a temporary dam) is usually open July 1 to Labor Day. The park is open 7 a.m. to 30 minutes before sunset. Lifeguards are on duty daily, 10 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Facilities include picnic areas, restrooms, and a par course. It's best to arrive early on weekends, because the parking lot can be full by mid-day. No alcohol is permitted on the beach.
Regional park swimming beaches on the Russian River without lifeguards on duty include:
- Cloverdale River Park
- Forestville River Access (Mom's Beach)
- Riverfront Regional Park
- Steelhead Beach Regional Park
- Sunset Beach River Park
Due to unseen water hazards and changing conditions, it's a good idea to wear a life jacket when wading or swimming in the river; loaner life vests are available at some beaches along the river.
Regional Park beaches along the Sonoma Coast are not patrolled by lifeguards. With the exception of Doran Regional Park, swimming is not advised on coastal beaches because of the potential for powerful waves and currents. At Doran you'll find two miles of terrific sandy beach; even if you don't get in the water you'll have fun building sand castles, flying a kite (for which that beach is famous), or taking a stroll.
Admission to most regional parks is free; however, a $7 parking fee usually applies; parking is free with a Regional Parks membership.
To find other swimming opportunities at Sonoma County Regional Parks, search the online list of county parks.
Other Swimming Beaches
Lake Sonoma Recreation Area, with 50 miles of shoreline, has no lifeguards at all - all swimming here is, as the website makes clear, 'at your own risk.' You are welcome to swim anywhere that offers safe entry. There's a designated swim beach at Yorty Creek on the north side (reached by Hot Springs Road through Cloverdale). It's a sandy beach, with picnic areas, a playground, a fisherman's trail, and a public boat ramp. Lake Sonoma is managed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Get more details about the Lake Sonoma Visitors Center & Fish Hatchery; Lake Sonoma Marina; and Liberty Glen Campground at Lake Sonoma.
Johnson's Beach on the Russian River, is a longtime tradition, and extremely popular with summer visitors to the area. There's no lifeguard, but you'll find a roped-off area for kids to swim, a snack bar, and you can rent a canoe, kayak, paddleboat, or inner tubes. Rustic cabins and tent campsites are available.
Monte Rio Community Beach has no lifeguard, but the water is calm, and the place is dog- and family-friendly. There's a really nice beach area, a concession stand, boat rentals, volleyball and horseshoe pits, and a good-feel summertime atmosphere.
Find more info about the Sonoma Coast State Beaches here.
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez.