Cozy up to the communal fireplace at Autocamp in Guerneville this Winter.

Winter River & Redwood Retreats in Sonoma County

Vicky Ness

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The Russian River and surrounding redwoods have been famous summer retreat spots and tourist getaways for well over 100 years, but they're also perfect for a restful, romantic winter escape … a chance to get cozy by the fireplace, indulge in long spa soaks, and enjoy intimate gourmet dinners.

Here are just a few of the reasons to visit the Russian River area now through early spring: you'll find it easier to land that choice table at popular local restaurants. Walks in Armstrong Woods and visits to any of the 130+ nearby wineries will be a more private experience, one to be thoroughly savored at your leisure. And wherever you choose to stay, you're very like to find excellent accommodations at discounted prices. It's kind of a win-win situation for those seeking to get away from it all with someone they love.

Cottage Living: Fern Grove Cottages

fern grove cottages

The operative word here is cozy and charming. If you are looking for your own private getaway, why not rent a cottage nestled deep in the redwoods? Some have wood burning fireplaces or gas log stoves, double size spa tubs, a full kitchen, or a wet bar. You can rent any style that suits your group, from a studio to two-bedroom-plus-livingroom-sized cabins.

Not up for cooking? Stroll to downtown Guerneville for dinner. Your breakfast at the cottages will be an abundant and satisfying continental style, including their highly addictive, homemade granola. Traveling with your best (doggy) friend? No problem, Fern Grove offers some pet friendly cottages as well.

Historic: Village Inn & Restaurant

village inn and restaurant

Quiet, historic, and wonderfully romantic accommodations here. Begin your night with drinks by the fireplace. Dinner, which can be sent to your room or enjoyed in the charming hotel restaurant, features excellent examples of Sonoma County's famous cuisine, using as much locally grown fresh ingredients as possible, plus a list of Sonoma wines to compliment your meal.

Rooms are elegant and comfortable, and many have balconies that look out onto the river, gardens, or towering redwoods. And in the morning you can start your day in the lounge with a cup of steaming coffee and a complimentary continental breakfast.

Glamping: AutoCamp Russian River

autocamp glaming guerneville

All the comforts of home, all the natural beauty of camping. Glamping has been raised to a high art recently, as witnessed by the AutoCamp accommodations on the Russian River. You can opt for a luxury tent (if you choose to visit April-October) or a new Airstream trailer. Both come with luxury linens, innovative and top-rated locally made Caspar mattresses, and award-winning Malin & Goetz natural bath products.

In addition, you can enjoy your own fire pit — all the better to indulge in s'mores and hot cocoa under winter starlit skies. The s'mores and cocoa are just a few of the amenities available for purchase at the handsome, mid-century modern clubhouse. It features a large, central fire pit and ample seating to create the perfect spot for enjoying a glass of wine before heading back to your Airstream for the night. Don't forget to check out their winter rates — the best prices and selections are available now.

Spa Stay: West Sonoma Inn & Spa

west sonoma inn

Think of this as a healing and deeply rejuvenating gift for yourself and/or those you love. The suites and cottages are large, sleek, modern, and comfy — some with fireplaces, private decks, well stocked kitchens, or hot tubs. And while you will be just minutes from downtown Guerneville for dinner and Armstrong Redwoods for hiking, it's the spa treatments that will tempt you with a sense of luxurious pampering.

Options include Swedish, hot stone, or therapeutic deep tissue massage; aromatherapy treatments; Russian Exfoliation for satiny smooth skin; and gentle facials that will leave you looking as beautiful as you feel. You'll find lots of spa bargains during winter months as well. For example, one package includes a 'Just The Two Of You' offer that includes a two-night stay in a spa suite, a couple's 60 minute Swedish massage, and a bottle of local sparkling wine, available now through April at a 20 percent discount.

Wherever you stay, winter activities await – including lunch and shopping at Duncans Mills, wine tasting, and hiking the redwoods