Paddle Perfection

Jenner and Russian River Kayak

Jenner is enviably located smack dab where the Russian River meets the Pacific. And that's why it's one of the most perfect places to kayak in the Bay Area. Its compact size, diverse environment, and plentiful wildlife make it a must-do for anyone who likes to get out on the water (including paddling newbies). Harbor seals are particularly fond of this area. Dozens of them like to feed near the river mouth and lounge in the sun at Goat Rock Beach. Get an up-close experience of this area (while keeping at least 50 feet from the big fellas!) by renting a kayak from WaterTreks (call ahead). You'll launch at the Sonoma Coast State Park visitor center in Jenner, cruising the calm water of the river. Paddle out toward the mouth of the river for the best chance of seeing seals. They're very curious and might just pop up next your kayak to see what's going on! Seals aren't big fans of selfies, so please be respectful and keep your distance. Next, paddle a loop around Penny Island in the middle of the estuary. Chances are good you'll see all kinds of birdlife: Cormorants, mallards, and egrets like to have pool parties in these parts. Osprey also hang out in the trees along the shore.

TIP: Go early to avoid afternoon wind and grab breakfast at Café Aquatica (10439 Hwy. 1, Jenner). If the weather's nice, sit on the deck out back and sip your coffee while looking out over the Russian River.

Kayak Jenner

Rent kayaks (single or double) from WaterTreks. It's recommended to call ahead, (707) 865-2249, at least 48 hours in advance to ensure someone is down at the rental tent. They are at 10438 Hwy. 1, Jenner, across the street from Café Aquatica. 

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