I spent the weekend in this LGBTQ-celebratory town just north of San Francisco, and it felt like a queer spin on small-town America

Beach scene with colorful umbrellas set apart for Social Distancing at Johnson's Beach, Guerneville, California, on the Russian River.

Colorful umbrellas dot the sand at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, California, on the Russian River.Gary Saxe/Shutterstock

  • I spent three days in Guerneville, California, an LGBTQ-friendly town just north of San Francisco.

  • The town is full of queer-owned businesses, including an Old West-themed saloon.

  • I was struck by how friendly and welcoming the locals were, and plan to visit again soon.

Just 90 minutes away from San Francisco’s Castro district, the town of Guerneville is a unique, queer version of rural America.

Matt Charnock Guerneville California travel

Businesses in Guerneville, California.Matt Charnock for Insider

I’ve visited Guerneville over 10 times since moving to San Francisco in 2016, and each time I return, there’s a new gem to uncover.

In early July, I was eager for a break from my small San Francisco apartment and decided to spend a few days visiting friends in Guerneville and getting reacquainted with the town. Here’s what the trip

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