Sunset over Jenner-by-the-Sea on the Sonoma County Coast
Sunset at River's End Restaurant in Jenner-by-the-Sea

Sunset Views From Jenner-by-the-Sea

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Perched on a bluff high above the mouth of the Russian River, the tiny coastal village of Jenner boasts some of the most jaw-dropping views on the California West Coast. 

The panorama encompasses the river estuary, dozens of harbor seals on a sand spit at the river's mouth, mile after mile of coastal prairie, offshore sea stacks (large rock pillars), coves, beaches, and sheer-sided cliffs. Not to mention the ocean fading into the western horizon and the contest-worthy setting and rising of the sun.

Goat Rock looms over the Sonoma Coast
Goat Rock

A stay in Jenner provides extra-special treats. For example, watching the sun set while relaxing over dinner. Or meandering along the river's mouth to watch dawn color the world. Or having Goat Rock Beach (See photo; Highway 1 and Goat Rock Road, Jenner, 707-875-3483; no dogs allowed on beach; entry fee  $8 per vehicle, $7 seniors) all to yourselves in the early morning hours.

The former Jenner Boathouse houses the Jenner Visitors Center (10439 Highway 1, Jenner, 707-865-9757). The center offers interesting interpretive displays that illustrate local history, flora, and fauna, as well as a nature store with an excellent assortment of educational sales items. You'll also find helpful maps, money-saving coupons, informative brochures about sights and activities on Sonoma's coast, lodging and restaurant information, and knowledgeable volunteer docents happy to answer questions.

Although Jenner is tiny – 136 residents at the last census – accommodations and dining get high marks.

Jenner Inn (10400 Coast Highway 1, Jenner, 707-865-2377) offers a range of beautifully-designed rooms and suites, as well as two vacation homes (some rooms are dog-friendly). The inn's restaurant serves dinner Wednesday through Sunday, and the full bar features local beers, Sonoma County wines, and premium spirits.

River's End Restaurant & Inn (10048 Coast Highway 1, Jenner, 707-865-2484) sits atop a bluff overlooking the river and ocean, and includes a superb restaurant plus six view cabins 'designed for couples looking to rejuvenate.' 

Whether you want to watch a sunrise or sunset, prefer ocean or river views, choose to wander a sandy beach or hike along a towering bluff top, or just want to watch harbor seals and other wildlife, Jenner is the place.

For more ideas, read 48 Hours in Jenner on the California Coast and Highlights of the Sonoma Coast.