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It was my first time canoeing the Russian River. This past weekend, our friends invited us on an adventure and I was so excited to explore a new area of Sonoma. Only a short drive from home, we started the journey towards Monte Rio.

Check out a perfect day of canoeing the Russian River

With our mini road trip commencing, we headed to one of my favorite places in Sonoma, Wild Flour Bread in Freestone. It’s this small town that has a few gems, of which this bakery is definitely the star of the show. They bake their bread in house, and each morning sell delicious scones and unique breads with ingredients like Meyer lemon, cornmeal, and more. (No photos to show, ate it too quick sorry!). It’s a lovely spot, and their gardens are perfect for strolling with a hot cup of coffee in hand. (Note: it’s cash only). Afterwards, we drove around the corner to grab local fresh cheese at Freestone Artisan Cheese. It was the first time I had been here, and loved the variety of cheeses they had on offer. Our cooler was stocked with everything we would need for a picnic on the canoe and we continued on our way.

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Arriving in Monte Rio, it was a bit confusing as to how to get to the river. There’s an access road to the right of the bridge that descends down and allows you to park right along the river where the canoe rentals are. (location on maps is Monte Rio Beach). After we figured it out, we were quickly on our way to canoeing the river. The Monte Rio website advertises the canoe rental for the day at $40 though when we arrived it was $35. Picking up our canoes, we started on our journey on the river.

It was one of the most peaceful experiences. Canoeing the Russian River is smooth sailing, as there isn’t much of a current. People on kayaks and inner tubes were passing by as we made our way up. We went up about an hour or so until we found a beach to stop off at. Grabbing our cooler and drinks, we sat down for a yummy lunch with all of our goodies that we had bought that morning.

We continued up the river until we hit the end, where a small dam blocks off the river. The wind started to pick up so we turned around and made our way back down to where we started. All told, it was about 4 hours round trip (including our lunch stop).

Canoeing the Russian River was a perfect way to spend a Saturday. Surrounded by tall pine trees, eating lunch along the river and soaking in the sun was truly magical. 

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  1. With views like that (and a packed lunch on the side), I wouldnt mind the 4 hour trip through such an idyllic landscape!

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