Between the various creeks, Spring Lake, Lake Sonoma, and the Russian River, it’s no wonder that many people view the Russian River Valley  as a recreation destination as much as a wine region.
Guerneville and its surrounding forest land act as the center for fun on the river. Russian River Adventures (www.rradventures.info ) offers guided paddles down a secluded section of the river in stable, sturdy inflatable canoes. Dogs, children, and even infants are welcomed by Russian River Adventures. The trip usually lasts 4–5 hours, with little white water and lots of serene shaded pools.
Fly-fishers can cast their lines out into the Russian River, hunting for some seriously enormous trout. A couple of recommended spots include the Wohler Bridge (9765 Wohler Rd., Forestville) and Steelhead Beach (9000 River Rd., Forestville).
At the north end of the valley, Lake Sonoma (3333 Skaggs Springs Rd., Geyserville, 707/433-2200, www.parks.sonoma.net/laktrls.html ) sprawls in a series of skinny fingers, holding water for both recreation and more practical uses. A public boat launch at Warm Springs Bridge lets you launch your own ski or fishing boats for a $3 fee.
A marina (Stewart’s Point Rd.) offers boat rentals (plus slip rentals) for guests who don’t have their own. Bass anglers school at the Warm Springs Creek and Dry Creek fingers of the lake, where trees shade the water and create a hospitable home for bass, perch, catfish, and sunfish.
A smaller but also less crowded lake, Spring Lake (391 Violetti Dr., Santa Rosa, www.sonoma-county.org/parks/pk_slake.htm , parking $6) has a bit more in the way of quiet and solitude than its bigger brethren. Anglers can launch electric-motor boats (but not gas-powered boats) into Spring Lake anglers out to stalk the wily largemouth bass.
Lifeguards watch over a cordoned swimming lagoon that’s perfect for kids, and the nearby concession stand rents paddle boats and canoe-like craft during the summertime.