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Four Reasons to Skip Point Reyes and Head to Jenner

Population: 136. Adventure: Sizeable.

Timber Cove Inn

Timber Cove Inn 


When it comes to coastal North Bay towns worthy of a day trip or weekend escape from the city, Pt. Reyes Station tends to hog all the love. But venture a bit farther up the craggy coast, and you’ll end up in one of the most underrated seaside towns north of the Golden Gate. Wedged into a rocky hillside along Highway 1, Jenner is a small (population 136) town on the lip of the Russian River, right where it meets the Pacific. To pay it a visit is to revel in all its glorious saltiness.

Just as you enter town, you’ll see the unassuming Cafe Aquatica on the west side of Highway 1. From the road it may appear like a rundown fisherman shack, but inside the kitchen serves up flavorful homemade foccacia, local salmon lox, and warm, straight-from-the-oven cookies. On the back patio you’ll find picnic tables perched on the grass right above the river and sprawling wood deck surrounded by lupines. 10439 Highway 1.

Jenner-based outfitter Water Treks offers a different view of the local nature—from the Russian River. Take a kayak with a naturalist guide through the Jenner estuary, where the river and coastal ecology collides. Spot harbor seals, blue heron, river otters, pelicans, and, if you’re lucky, whales breaching off the coast. For an added thrill, take the sunset or full moon tour. 

For a taste of the local seafood bounty and a hint of Russian River new-age sentiments, the River’s End restaurant offers both. International spins on California seafood keeps you on your toes—like the clams, Portuguese-style and duck served with a blackberry brandy sauce. And the views are of the best in the area. Make a special note not to overlook the wine list, which has an extensive representation of Sonoma County. 

You don’t need to check in to a hotel to reap the epic views of this region (they’re everywhere). But, if you want to add an outdoor fire pit or a jacuzzi to those views, you’ll want to opt for the Timber Cove Inn. The lodge’s exposed timber pays tribute to the area’s logging days, while the interior’s upscale amenities and a coastal-inspired restaurant offer an upgraded modern feel. 


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