Monterey and Point Reyes might get all the kayaking fanfare, but Jenner's river estuary more than holds its own. In fact, it punches above its weight at sunset. WaterTreks EcoTours
, just 20 minutes west of Guerneville, offers sunset kayaking tours combining exploration and relaxation. Launch upstream through the brackish blend where the Russian River meets the Pacific and giant sea stacks rise off the rugged Sonoma coast. Dock on Penny Island for a stroll through high grasses, exploring the remains of an abandoned dairy farm and keeping an eye out for the great blue heron's double-wishbone footprint. Next, you'll paddle to Goat Rock Beach and hike up the sand dunes to a view of mammoth Goat Rock and the bending Arched Rock, where the final scene from The Goonies
was filmed. Now it's time to hop back into your kayak and paddle west toward the edge of the estuary for the main event: the sinking sun casts gold, yellow, and red bands across the water as harbor seals play peekaboo just a few feet from you. Sealed with a sunset.
TIP: For an extra fee, you can arrange to bring along a masseuse or a Pilates or tai chi instructor for a tailor-made adventure. Or, ask to include Nature Based Meditation, led by founder Suki Waters. Unguided rentals are also available for sunset, but kayakers must be back before dark.
WaterTreks EcoTours, 707-865-2249, is located at 10438 Hwy. 1 in Jenner By the Sea. Call ahead for reservations and pricing information. A two-person guided sunset tour runs $90/person, but prices decrease incrementally as the group size expands. No dogs.