Go tubing on the Russian River in sunny Sonoma County
Johnson's Beach, Guerneville

Great Swimming Beaches in Sonoma County

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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. 

Here are a few suggestions for doing just that: 

Sonoma County Regional Parks

The county system boasts more than 50 parks, and several offer good swimming beaches. Two include lifeguards:

Kids jump on the inflatable water park at the swimming lagoon in Spring Lake Regional Park, Santa Rosa
Swimming lagoon in Spring Lake Regional Park, Santa Rosa

The Swimming Lagoon at Spring Lake Regional Park: One of many reasons that Spring Lake ranks high in park visitation is its wonderful three-acre swimming lagoon with beach. This place is extremely family friendly, park admission is free (but parking is $7), and there are picnic tables for bring-your-own eats (as well as a seasonal café if you'd rather have someone else do all the work). You can also rent a canoe and paddle about, observing the wildlife. Lifeguards are on duty. There's an inflatable Water Park (open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend) in the swimming lagoon, where children and adults can bounce, climb, slide, and balance on a series of colorful floating play stations. Children must be at least 42 inches tall and six years old to use the water park. Admission is $10 per person. 393 Violetti Drive, Santa Rosa, 707-539-8092

People float in inner tubes in the blue water of the Russian River at Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, Healdsburg
Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, Healdsburg

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) will be 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.  13839 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, 707-433-1625; parking fee $7.

Regional park swimming beaches on the Russian River without lifeguards on duty include:

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.

People enjoy the beach and ocean on a sunny day at Doran Regional Park, Bodega Bay
Doran Regional Park, Bodega Bay

Regional Park beaches along the Sonoma Coast are not patrolled by lifeguards. With the exception of Doran Regional Park (201 Doran Beach Road, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3540), 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

The mountains next to Lake Sonoma are reflected in the blue water
Lake Sonoma Recreation Area, Geyserville

Lake Sonoma Recreation Area (Geyserville), 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 and Fish Hatchery (3288 Skaggs Springs Road, Geyserville, 707-431-4533)Lake Sonoma Marina (100 Marina Drive, Lake Sonoma, 433-2200); and Liberty Glen Campground at Lake Sonoma (13005 Rockpile Road, Geyserville, 707-431-4533)

A family enjoys ice cream after tubing in the Russian River at Johnson's Beach, Guerneville
Johnson's Beach, Guerneville

Johnson's Beach  (16215 First St., Guerneville, 707-869-2022) 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.

People splash in the Russian River at Monte Rio Community Beach, Monte Rio
Monte Rio Community Beach, Monte Rio

Monte Rio Community Beach (20488 Highway 116, Monte Rio, 707-865-2487) 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.

See Sonoma County's safety tips for water activities here.

Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez