Fort Ross - This lone Russian outpost established in 1812, a few miles north of Jenner, hosts half a million fascinated visitors a year. Fort Ross State Historic Park was created in 1906 to mark the site where Russians and Alaska natives founded a colony. The territory was occupied by the Kashaya, native Californians who had lived there seasonally for centuries. Kashaya means "expert gambler". These people fished for abalone, mussels and fish, hunted deer and elk and also made baskets.
By 1742, Russian frontiersmen left Siberia to hunt fur-bearing mammals and established a permanent settlement on Kodiak Island, Alaska. At the end of the century, it became the Russian-American Company with a monopoly over trading ventures in North America. In 1806 Nikolai Rezanov sailed the Juno into San Francisco Bay, illegally, seeking food to relieve the starving settlement at Sitka. This venture convinced Rezanov to seek a trading base in California just north of the Spanish territories, which ended in San Francisco.
In 1809, he sent Ivan Kuskov with a large party on board the Kodiak to explore Bodega Bay and surrounding territory for a settlement site. In 1812, Kuskov returned on board the Chirikov with 25 Russians and 80 Alaskans and gave the new colony the name "Ross", perhaps suggesting Russia.
Initially the settlers built a wooden palisade around the site, two blockhouses and a bell tower. Inside there was a house for the manager Ivan Kuskov, the clerk's quarters, artisans' workshops and barracks for Russian employees. Later a chapel was added inside the stockade, and many structures outside - two windmills, a shipyard in Sandy Cove below the settlement that built four ships (the first on the California Coast) a forge, blacksmith shop, tannery, cooperage and bath house.
Duncan's Mills - Located approximately 5 minutes from Jenner, Duncan's Mills is a charming Victorian town consisting of a quaint general store, two restaurants, and a handful of collection shops and galleries.
Bodega Bay - This scenic coastside town is a short 15 minute drive from Jenner. Between Jenner and Bodega Bay, find miles of sandy beaches and tidepools awaiting your exploration. Bodega Bay is home to small fishing crafts, serene parks, campgrounds, tasty restaurants, wine tasting shops, art galleries, and a UC Davis marine laboratory. Many visitors make the trek to Bodega Bay just to see the school house site of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds .
Occidental - Occidental lies within the rolling hills that surround the mighty Russian River. The town's quiet, relaxed setting calls you to enjoy their unusual shops and boutiques, art galleries, and foliage filled nurseries. Occidental is well known for its family style Italian dinners at Negri's.
Guerneville - Only 25 minutes from Jenner, Guerneville is the heart of the Russian River Resort area. It is home to a variety of restaurants and shops, all in close proximity to Russian River, Alexander and Dry Creek Valley wineries. Guerneville also plays home to the Russian River Wine & Food Festival, Russian River Blues & Jazz Festival on the River, and more!