Best Places to Eat, Drink and Stay in Guerneville

Celebrity chef Crista Luedtke’s new restaurant anchors a food-lover's perfect weekend in the Russian River town of Guerneville.

These days, for those in the know, Guerneville is one of the area’s best summertime retreats, brimming with chef-driven restaurants and reimagined old-school resorts that celebrate the redwoods and the Russian River.

It’s a spot where LGBTQ+ culture shines, earning the town the nickname the “Gay Riviera.” Though Guerneville hosts their Pride parade in October, it’s a destination for food lovers at any time of year—especially during those long summer evenings of Pride Month in June.

Start your weekend with a stroll downtown, chockablock with dive-y yet convivial bars, a few so-tacky-they’re-fun souvenir shops, and tasting rooms. Pick up hearty sandwiches at PikNik Town Market (16228 Main St., 707-604-7295, New owner Mags van der Veen still serves the Oprah-approved Big Bottom biscuits, stuffed with delights like fresh blueberries and Bavarian cream, or smothered in mushroom gravy.

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve (17000 Armstrong Woods Rd., 707-869-2015, is an 805-acre forest of redwoods towering up to 350 feet, just a mile or so from downtown. Breathe deep and savor the velvety quiet and solitude; the massive trees are often shrouded in mystical fog.

burger Road Trip
Mac Daddy burger at celebrity chef Crista Luedtke’s new Guerneville restaurant ‘Road Trip.’ (Kelly Puleio / Road Trip)

After a hike, head to celebrity chef Crista Luedtke’s brand-new Road Trip restaurant

(16248 Main St., 707-869-0780), where the opening menu is inspired by Luedtke’s travels, including Texas BBQ flatbread with pulled pork, banh mi panzanella salad, Mexican street corn salad, and the Mac Daddy burger. Then it’s time to waddle off to sleep.

In the morning, start off with a short walk through town, poking into galleries and shops including local favorite Russian River Books & Letters (14045 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville, 707-604-7197, — coffee is right next door.

After, wander down to Johnson’s Beach (16215 First St.,, where you can dip your toes in the Russian River, rent inner tubes and kayaks, or just relax under an umbrella.

Armstrong Redwoods
It’s a short bike ride from town to Guerneville’s Armstrong Redwoods. (Kelsey Joy Photography/Sonoma County Tourism)

Then drive over the Russian River bridge for a tasting at Porter-Bass Winery (11750 Mays Canyon Rd., 707-869-1475, Cooled by ocean breezes, their biodynamic vineyards produce top-notch Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel. Tastings are held at a wood plank set up under a shady walnut tree, in the company of veggie plots, orchards, dogs and cows.

Nearby is the historic (but recently renovated) Dawn Ranch (16467 Hwy. 116,, where chef Fernando Trocca can prepare a storybook picnic to savor on the resort grounds, stocked with goodies like local cheeses, salumi, sea salt crusted hearth bread, fruit, chocolate, and optional wine (yes, get the wine).

In town, skip over to Nimble & Finn’s inside the Guerneville Bank Club (16290 Main St., 707-666-9411, for a scoop of housemade artisanal ice cream made with Straus Family Creamery organic dairy, seasonal produce and housemade jams. Sisters and owners Jazmin Hooijer and Leandra Serena Beaver dream up magical concoctions like lavender honeycomb, Meyer lemon olive oil chocolate chunk and whiskey butterscotch.

Delight in dinner at boon eat + drink (16248 Main St., 707-869-0780). Another Crista Luedtke project, this always-bustling cafe wows with Sonoma County-spirited dishes, like some of the best mac and cheese you’ll ever have, dotted with mushrooms and truffle breadcrumbs, or spicy, chile-braised pork shoulder with slaw and pepitas. The flavors will carry you home—and rest assured, you’ll want to return.

A redone cabin at luxury Dawn Ranch. It's a short bike ride from town to Armstrong Redwoods.
A redone cabin at luxury Dawn Ranch in Guerneville. (Gentl & Hyers/ Dawn Ranch)

Where to Stay

boon hotel + spa A sister property to boon eat + drink with 14 rooms in historic miners’ cabins tucked amid stately redwoods, and a “Mad Men”-style glitzy swimming pool. 

Dawn Ranch Beautifully redone cabins with high-end finishes, plus orchards and forests to explore, including a rare dawn redwood tree which gives the resort its name.

Johnson’s Beach Historic cabins, tent cabins, and camping by the river. 

The Stavrand Russian River Valley Named to Travel + Leisure’s 2022 It List, the stately resort has been reimagined as a luxury destination with outdoor hot tubs under the stars.