Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Jenner, CA

  • Published 2022/09/26

Sonoma County, California, is home to the small town of Jenner, often known as Jenner-by-the-Sea.

The town lies at the mouth of the Russian River, where it joins the Pacific Ocean.

There are many exciting and unique things to do and see in this remote location.

Try kayaking, take it easy on a picturesque beach, or test your mettle on a challenging mountain trek.

Jenner has something for everyone.

Prepare to experience the best things to do in Jenner, California!

Recall the Past at Fort Ross State Historic Park

Daytime view of Fort Ross State Historic Park

Zack Frank /

Established in 1909, the Fort Ross State Historical Park stands on an area of 3,393 acres in Sonoma County.

The park encompasses the area around Fort Ross, a former Russian fur trade station, the adjacent coastline, and inland native coast redwood trees.

The well-maintained fort and the museum within the tourist center feature fascinating artifacts and insights into the area’s past.

Fur collection inside the cabin at Fort Ross State Historic Park

Gerald Peplow /

The coastal views from this historic fort are breathtaking.

Check out the 15-minute introductory film playing in the visitor souvenir center.

Trail at Fort Ross State Historic Park

Zack Frank /

Likewise, you can visit several scenic coastline stretches to discover and picnic areas to enjoy your lunch.

The chapel is stunning for such a humble structure.

Since Fort Ross State Historic Park is near a sandy beach, it’s an ideal spot to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Pacific Ocean.

Coastline at Fort Ross State Historic Park

Radoslaw Lecyk /

Explore the Salt Point State Park

Scenic view of Salt Point State Park

Gary Saxe /

Sonoma County, California, is home to Salt Point State Park.

Salt Point, a protrusion into the Pacific Ocean, is in this 6,000-acre park on the Northern California coast.

The park also features 20 miles of hiking trails and more than six miles of rugged, rocky coastline.

You can see beautiful scenery at every turn, and the park also features well-maintained, essentially flat pathways and striking rock outcroppings.

This enormous park has various outdoor activities, including walking, camping, fishing, and scuba diving.

The grounds of Salt Point State Park

Talon Drown /

Since the shoreline of Salt Point mainly comprises sandstone, it contains many tiny caves called tafone.

These rocks continue below the surface, providing several habitats for aquatic life.

The Salt Point State Park is also home to the state’s first underwater marine preserves.

The color gracefully changed from blue to green as you move from one part of the water to another.

You may spot various birds, seals, and whales as the sun sets toward the water.

The waters of Salt Point State Park

Lebid Volodymyr /

Hike the Jenner Headlands Preserve

Gorgeous coastline view from Jenner Headlands Preserve

Danita Delimont /

With its breathtaking vista of the Pacific Ocean, the 5,630-acre Jenner Headlands Preserve is a stunning mosaic of redwood and Douglas-fir forests, chaparral, oak woodland, and coastal prairie.

Located two and a half miles north of the Russian River Estuary, the Preserve runs parallel to Pacific Coast Highway.

Everything about this hiking area is well-planned and executed, from the paths to the vantage points to the tiny picnic table area.

Trail at Jenner Headlands Preserve

Danita Delimont /

The area is home to numerous endangered species, such as the northern spotted owl, red tree vole, and peregrine falcon.

The site is also home to various wildlife, including deer and mountain lions.

With its calming breezes and steep climbs, the Jenner Headlands Preserve is perfect for observing raptors and other rare bird species.

Camp Out at Still Water Cove Regional Park

Northern Sonoma County’s Stillwater Cove Regional Park is home to a beautiful beach cove, a small campsite, and miles of hiking paths that wind through a redwood grove above the Pacific.

You may park your car at the campground across the street and take a pleasant 0.3-mile trek down to the cove.

Tide pools, picnicking, fishing, scuba diving, and ocean kayaking are just some activities in this cove.

In addition, you can get up on the rocks that form the tide pools during low tide.

There are 23 campsites in Stillwater Cove’s year-round inland camp.

It provides space for tents and RVs and a location for cyclists and hikers.

Facilities at the Stillwater Cove Regional Park include showers, flush toilets, and electrical outlets, as well as showers you can use for a small fee and a dump station.

In addition, you can buy a bundle of firewood and some newspaper and kindling is for sale from the camp hosts.

Both the campground staff and the park rangers will assist you with any concerns.

Explore Shell Beach

Shell Beach is a small rocky beach in Sonoma County, just south of the Russian River and Jenner.

Many visitors come to Shell Beach specifically for beachcombing and exploring the tidepools.

In addition, they offer guided tours of tidepools for students to learn about the marine life in these natural habitats.

Getting down to the beach at the base of the cliff requires negotiating a pretty steep trail.

The terrain becomes difficult when wet, so make sure you’re wearing durable shoes.

Fishing at Shell Beach is popular because anglers have a high chance of reeling in various fish species.

Walk Your Dog along Blind Beach

The waters of Blind Beach

Danita Delimont /

Blind Beach, located south of Jenner, provides a stunning panorama of the arching rock.

This beach is a fabulous spot to take a stroll and take in the sand, surf, and scenery.

However, it’s not suitable for swimming due to the area’s high tide and abundance of rocks.

Likewise, getting to the beach requires a steep descent from the parking lot.

People with mobility concerns might not want to go to Blind Beach.

Regardless, it is a great place to go for a stroll, with access to a beautiful beach.

You and your furry friend can enjoy a stroll or simply relax and bask in the sun together.

Search the area for sea glass and watch the waves crashing on the shore.

Except for a few surfers, the beach is usually uncrowded.

Observe Sea Life at Goat Rock Beach

Aerial view of Goat Rock Beach

Edwards Photography /

The state of California owns and maintains the sandy Goat Rock Beach in the county’s far northwest, Sonoma County.

It’s not uncommon to find people beachcombing on Goat Rock Beach; the peak season is in the middle of summer.

Many species of gull, river otters, elephant seals, harbor seals, and sea lions make the beach their regular resting spot.

Although the seasonal marine creatures are fascinating to observe up close, the state of California suggests keeping at least 50 yards between human visitors and animals.

Seals at Goat Rock Beach

weriset /

The beach is exciting and beautiful, perfect for kids who want to collect pebbles of all colors.

Grassy slopes plunge to cliffside beaches below.

However, Goat Rock Beach is not suitable for swimming due to occasional rip tidess.

Birds at Goat Rock Beach

weriset /

Check Out the Sunset Boulders

Daytime view of the Sunset Boulders

Thewellman, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sunset Boulders are on a cliff just off the coast.

They present spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the surrounding hills, and the springtime wildflower blooms.

Top-rope climbers and boulderers alike converge at the cliffs.

Stunning scenery, entertaining courses, and exciting rock characteristics make these cliffs hard to resist.

It’s an excellent spot to hone rock-climbing abilities and keep in shape.

It’s about a five-minute walk from the parking lot to the base of the cliffs.

Climbers of varying abilities can discover a wide range of bouldering and top roping routes to challenge themselves.

The rock formations are located along Goat Rock Road, Jenner.

Spend a Few Nights at River’s End Restaurant & Inn

River’s End Restaurant & Inn offers relaxing rooms with stunning river views.

Their waterfront rooms are perfect for couples looking to get away and spend quality time together in a comfortable environment.

Vacationing at River’s End will be among your most memorable experiences ever.

The beds are soft, and the heating is top-notch, but that’s not even the best part about these cabins.

You can’t put a price on the views from River’s End Restaurant & Inn.

Likewise, its fantastic location and views are worth every penny.

You can take in stunning sunsets from the comfort of your cabin every night.

Hike the Vista Trail Overlook

Located just four miles north of Jenner, Vista Trail Overlook marks the northernmost point of the 17-mile-long Sonoma Coast State Park.

The Vista Trail Loop is a mile long and offers a stunning panorama.

However, there is no access to the beach.

Both the walk and the lookout point are wheelchair-friendly.

During the whale migration season, this area offers excellent whale-watching opportunities.

Expect cold and foggy weather any time of year.

The Vista Trail Overlook also boasts a sizable parking lot.

Sip Fine Wine at Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery

Vineyard at Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery

Viktor Voroshilov /

The 53-acre vineyard at Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery on Meyers Grade Road, Jenner, is a labor of love.

Let the scenery on the way there blow you away.

The tasting room is quite pleasant, with a lovely balcony.

You are going to like the wines, particularly the pinotage.

Wine tasting at Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery

Sarah Stierch, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a lot of natural light on the balcony, and the views of the garden and ocean are stunning.

The wine goes perfectly with the meal.

The Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery provides bite-size dishes that are delicious and imaginative.

Other Things To Do Nearby

Explore Sonoma Coast State Park

People at Sonoma Coast State Park

Gary Saxe /

Located in Bodega Beach, California, Sonoma Coast State Park is a state park open to the public bordering the Pacific Ocean.

This park is only two minutes from Jenner.

This stretch of coastline begins around four miles north of Jenner and continues for another 17 miles south, ending at Bodega Head.

To the north of Bodega Bay lies a breathtaking cliffside overlook of the Pacific.

Likewise, the Sonoma Coast State Park has several beaches with exciting names, such as Arched Rock Beach, Gleason Beach, and Goat Rock Beach.

Cliff views from Sonoma Coast State Park

Roman Khomlyak /

Sand beaches and rocky coastlines alternate in this environment, which also features a marine terrace and an upland California coastal prairie.

There are plenty of books, t-shirts, cards, and pamphlets to explore in their welcoming and educational visitor center.

People who want to explore the river in canoes or kayaks will find a boat launch point next to the tourist center.

You can park in many gravel parking spaces right off the highway and then stroll along the beach to take the breathtaking Pacific Ocean scenery.

Pitch a Tent at Pomo Canyon Environmental Camp

There are 20 accessible sites in Pomo Canyon Campground.

The campsites are a short walk from the parking area.

Located in a fern-filled redwood woodland, the camps provide a tranquil environment.

The heavily wooded campsite is peaceful even on windy days.

Every camping spot has a fire pit, picnic table, and pit latrines.

Campsites are a quarter of a mile from the main entrance.

Starting from the campground, you can walk three miles to Shell Beach.

Before reaching the coast, you’ll have to ford a few seasonal streams and climb through beautiful grassland.

No canine companions are permitted here.

There is no running water at Pomo Canyon Campground, so you must bring your supplies.

You can find this place in Duncan Mills, California, 13 minutes from Jenner.

Explore the Russian Gulch State Park

Aerial view of Russian Gulch State Park

Shot-From-Above /

Russian Gulch State Park, located just two miles north of Mendocino, features a rocky shoreline, a three-mile lush canyon, and several windswept headlands.

A winding route through the tropical jungle, draped with ferns, leads to a magnificent crescent beach.

This beach is a hidden gem.

It’s essential to exercise caution when hiking on trails, as some plants can sting or burn if touched.

Acres of wildflowers decorate the park’s misty peaks in the spring.

Trail at Russian Gulch State Park

Lucy Autrey Wilson /

Likewise, a 36-foot waterfall cascades into a lush grove of redwoods, mosses, and ferns.

The picturesque Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge soars 100 feet from the valley floor.

The park attracts those who want to camp, explore on foot or two wheels, fish, dive, kayak, ride horses, or take in the scenery.

This place is in Mendocino, California, two hours from Jenner.

Picnic area at Russian Gulch State Park

Lucy Autrey Wilson /

Set up Camp at Willow Creek Environmental Campground

A total of 11 primitive campsites are available at Willow Creek Campground on a first-come, first-served basis.

The campgrounds have fire pits, picnic tables, and toilets.

There is no running water or electricity at any primitive campsites, all located within a quarter mile of the main parking.

Occasionally, you can spot river otters among the blue herons, egrets, ospreys, and other water birds that frequent the river.

Most campsites have willows overhead for shade, located close to a large beach ideal for swimming and fishing.

No dogs are allowed to protect wildlife.

You can access the site through Steelhead Blvd, Duncans Mills, six minutes from Jenner.

Final Thoughts

Jenner provides visitors with a spectacular view, breathtaking sunsets, and opportunities to reconnect with nature.

In addition, Jenner is secluded, making it an excellent option for couples looking for a quiet beach vacation.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Jenner, California!

© All rights reserved.