Forestville has been a summer destination for San Franciscans since Victorian times. Families would take the train to spend several months in cabins along the beaches of the Russian River; the Summerhome Park and the Westside Road homes are some of the oldest vacation housing in the area. Forestville was also favored by bohemians and writers and artists since about 1900, hosting luminaries such as Jack London. To this day, Forestville is home to a vibrant artistic community of writers, sculptors, painters, musicians. Many of the artists here have open studios in June and October. Forestville has two distinct areas, each with its own amenities, terrain and weather.
About 10 minutes from Guerneville, east along River Road, the Hacienda Bridge area is where most of our Forestville vacation homes are located. Just before the Hacienda Bridge, Westside Road to the left has vintage turn-of-the century homes at the beginning of one of the best wine-tasting drives in the County. To the right is Hacienda Beach, a neighborhood beach. Crossing over the bridge, the Summerhome Park area wanders along the river heading west. Summerhome Park is an historic riverside vacation neighborhood, with its own lodge and beach, great for families. Back to River Road, on the east side is a a popular public beach. Continuing down River Road towards Santa Rosa, there is a Sonoma County regional park beach, Burke's Canoes, and a right turn down Mirabel Road, past Speer's Market, a playground and baseball diamond, leads to Central Forestville.
Away from the river, this part of Forestville is solidly
wine country, with vineyards covering the rolling hills. The
area surrounding Central Forestville, once pear, cherry
and apple orchards, now is planted in pinot noir and zinfandel
vines and looks more like Napa countryside, with farms, wineries,
and vineyards instead of redwood forests. Located on Hwy 116,
extending from Mirabel Road to the outskirts of Sebastopol,
the village has some great restaurants, coffee shops, an art
gallery/gift shop, a deli, a laundromat and a bar. Around
the corner, on Mirabel, there's a playground and baseball
diamond. Also make sure to check out Olivet Road, and it's extensive list of Wineries.
River Info | Top
The Russian River is clean and safe for swimming. The water is tested frequently to ensure its integrity. Beaches tend to be gravel, with some sandy areas. We recommend that you wear water shoes, which can be purchased inexpensively at several stores on Main Street in Guerneville.
River in Summer/Dry Season: Forestville is entirely above the summer dams and therefore the water level is fairly constant. The river is always gentle, with a moderate current and no white water. Docks are seasonal and are generally in place mid-June through most of September. Hacienda Beach, Mother's Beach, and Steelhead Beach are available for boating and swimming for a longer season, often from the beginning of May through October. The water is warm in the summer.
Fishing is another important river activity. Spring brings
the shad and catfish. During the summer months, large mouth,
small mouth, and striped bass, along with blue gills, are
caught here. For info about guided fishing trips and equipment
rental, visit King's
Sport & Tackle in Guerneville.
River in Winter/Rainy Season: During the winter rainy
season, which generally extends from the middle of December
through March, the River is very swift, cold, deep, muddy,
and unsafe for swimming and boating. The Chinook head up river
in the fall, followed by the Steelhead Trout. While Chinook
must be released immediately if caught accidentally, Steelhead
fishing is an exciting winter sport here. As long as the river
is low enough for standing in waders, the river will be dotted
with the hopeful. Pick up a free fishing map at King's
Sport & Tackle in downtown Guerneville.
Daytime Activities | Top
Steelhead Beach: Seasonal fishing and access to the Russian River for small craft such as drift boats, kayaks, and canoes. An excellent spot for birding, viewing river wildlife, and for picnicking. There are no lifeguards on duty at the beach area. Open from sunrise to sunset, parking is $4 a day for day use. For more information, visit Sonoma County Regional Parks. 9000 River Road at Mirabel, Forestville
Forestville River Access: A short trail leads to a wide beach (known locally as "Mother's Beach"), perfect for swimming and enjoying the scenery. Fishing is excellent but challenging. A great place to spend an enjoyable day. No lifeguards on duty. Open from sunrise to sunset, parking is free. For more information, visit Sonoma County Regional Parks. 10584 River Drive, Forestville
County Trail: The West County Trail is paved for walking,
bicycle riding, and roller skating. It runs along the abandoned
railroad line that was once the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway,
a line that linked Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Forestville.
Designated as a Community Millennium Trail, the trail offers
beautiful views of farms, vineyards, and other agricultural
lands, giving a hint of what Sonoma County looked like before
development. The trail currently ends off of Front Street
in Forestville, but there are plans in the future to continue
construction of the trail on to Steelhead Beach. For more
information, visit Russian River Travel. South end of First
St. near the American Wine Building in Forestville.
Rentals through Bike Partners: They will deliver your
bike rental to your home or into town. They offer an assortment
of bikes, Singles and Tandems. You can also rent a child carrier
attachment for the bike. The bikes are fold away bikes. Which
means you can fold them and put them in the trunk of your
car and drive to whichever location you would like to ride.
$40 for a 24 hour rental. Plus a $1/Mi. delivery charge.
for inquiry: 1.855.483.3732 (toll free)
River Riders Bicycle Rentals: How about renting a bicycle in Guerneville, and riding along the majestic Russian River, through the redwood forest, to a winery, or even to the Sonoma Coast? We are a local bike rental company in Guerneville, and we deliver for free! 707-483-2897 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Forestville Youth Park: The Forestville Youth Park hosts youth baseball, soccer, and many community gatherings throughout the year. The park's many large trees provide a shady place for summer picnicking and play, and through the years it has provided a safe and fun place for people to go. It was founded in 1960 and is at the center of the greater Forestville area. The Youth Park is managed by volunteers, and claims to be the only public park in California supported entirely through private donations and fundraising. The main fundraising event is the annual Youth Park Barbeque. 7069 Mirabel Rd., Forestville. T: (707) 887-0309
Burke's Canoes: Canoe through the redwoods from Forestville to Guerneville on the magnificent Russian River. A 10-mile self-guided trip with return shuttle. Picnic, swim, sunbathe, etc. View abundant wildlife. May-Sept. T: 707-887-1222
Russian River Vineyards: 5700 Gravenstein Hwy 116, Forestville, T: 707-887-3344
Local Radio: 97.7
FM/The River plays classic rock. 95.1
FM/The Bridge is a non-commercial community radio station
which provides a bridge between the Guerneville Community
Church and the Russian River Communities.
Shopping | Top
Shops and Services: Forestville has little shopping, basically a hardware store and a gift shop. For fun shopping, head south to Sebastopol or west to Guerneville, each a short drive. There are some basic services, including a pharmacy, laundromat, a hair salon and an old-fashioned barbershop.
The Quicksilver Mine Co.: Gift shop with a contemporary fine art gallery; rotating exhibitions; sculpture garden; cultural events. 6671 Front St., Forestville T: 707-887-0799
Kozlowski Farms: Visit the Farm daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm and enjoy a variety of homemade cookies, fruit pies and tarts, or sample any one of the family's specialty and natural foods including jams, fruit spreads, mustards, vinegars and marinades. 5566 Gravenstein Hwy (Hwy 116), Forestville T: 707-887-1587
Package Store: UPS, FedEx, Boxes, Copies, Fax, Notary. 6490 Front Street, Forestville
Circuit Fitness: Workout on a walk-in basis. 6559 Front St., Forestville
Shakka' & Shears: Full-service salon. T: 707-887-2105
Coffee, Dining & Nightlife | Top
Forestville has a pizza place, a Chinese restaurant, an American drive-in establishment, a deli, and a couple of top-notch restaurants (Mosaic and Stella's at Russian River Vineyards). For complete info and listings, visit our restaurant guide.
Forestville Club: Full Bar, Billiards, Live Music.
6250 Front Street., Forestville T: 707-887-2594
Front Street Coffee: 6544 Front St., Forestville T: 707-887-9647
Mom’s apple pie: 4550 Gravenstein Hwy. North
Sebastopol T: 707-823-8330
Espresso Bar: 6656 Front Street, Forestville T: 707-887-1632
The Movie Library: If your nightlife involves movies at home, DVD/Video Rental and Sales. Over 13,000 titles. Gift Certificates. Special rental deals every day. 6480 Mirabel Rd., Forestville T: 707-887-9230
Groceries & Banks | Top
Berry Forest Hills Market (near Hacienda Bridge): Small grocery, deli, espresso & Thankgiving Co. coffee. 10651 River Rd, Forestville T: 707-887-2362
La Rosa Market (downtown): Great burritos, tacos in a sit-down Taqueria setting. Mexican specialty foods. 6555 Front Street/Hwy 116, Forestville T: 707-887-8375 or 707-887-8741
Speers Market (halfway inbetween downtown and the Hacienda Bridge): Grocery store with butcher. 7891 Mirabel Rd, Forestville T: 707-887-2024
Fast & Easy Market: 6484 Mirabel Rd, Forestville T: 707-887-0373
There's also a convenience store downtown: Mrs. Robbie's in the Rotten Robbie's gas station at the corner of Hwy 116 and Mirabel Road.
Bank of the West: 6661 Front Street, Forestville. The nearest Wells Fargo ATM is in Safeway in Sebastopol; the nearest Bank of America ATM is next to Safeway in Sebastopol.
The nearest 24-hour Safeway is in Sebastopol.
Events | Top
Pinot on the River: Full-immersion weekend of Pinot Noir in October at Russian River Vineyards. 5700 Gravenstein Hwy 116, Forestville, T: 707-887-3344.
Art at the Source: First two weekends in June. Open studios.
ArTrails Open Studio Tours: Middle two weekends in October. Open studios all over western Sonoma County, with many in Forestville.