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    A Guerneville Gay Staycation

    Juan Davila of the San Francisco Bay Times team recently enjoyed his first visit to Guerneville and spent an afternoon with friends at Johnson’s Beach. Located ninety minutes north of the Bay Area in the gay staycation town of Guerneville, this classic summer getaway sits in the heart of the Russian River Valley and provides the quintessential summertime river experience.

    According to Gay Travel, other recommended stops in Guerneville include the Armstrong Redwood State Reserve and the Austin Creek State Recreation Area. Johnson’s Beach can be a traveler’s sole destination, though, as the area offers vintage cabins from the 1920s and an urban campground complete with BBQ area and laundry facilities. Visitors can rent canoes, kayaks, beach chairs, and umbrellas—nearly everything needed for a relaxing beach stay.

    All Photos Courtesy of Juan R. Davila

    Davila, who is pictured on the cover of this issue at yet another classic Northern CA beach, San Francisco’s Baker Beach, is a dedicated runner who often ends his runs with a scenic walk along one of the local beaches. For him they provide inspiration, renewed energy, and “a sense of freshness” to detox from the city center.

    In Guerneville, it also helps to have a cold drink in hand while floating down the river on a warm summer’s day. LGBTQ locals and visitors alike have additionally enjoyed water sports in the town since its inception. Coming soon to Guerneville will be the popular annual Bear Week (July 31–August7) followed by Russian River Pride, October 13–15.

    Be sure to support the local LGBTQ+ community bookstore, Russian River Books & Letters, owned by Michael Rex. He serves on the board of the Guerneville Chamber of Commerce. He has an education, theater, and restaurant background, and brings all of these skills and more to his shop. It’s the perfect place to buy books before heading out to Johnson’s Beach and reading them in a comfy chair beside the river.

    A favorite beach read of another Bay Times team member is Musings: The Short Happy Pursuit of Pleasure and Other Journeys by Joseph Rosendo, who is an LGBTQ community ally and an Emmy Award-winning director and host of the PBS series Travelscope. The quote that closes out all of his shows is a favorite from Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

    For More Information

    Johnson’s Beach:
    Russian River Books & Letters:
    Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope:

    Published on July 27, 2023