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For Immediate Release

Summer shuttle to Russian River beaches returns this month

On the Regional Parks River Shuttle kids 18 and under ride for free

May 20, 2024

Visitors and residents looking to enjoy Russian River beaches this summer can take advantage of the Regional Parks River Shuttle when it returns for its fourth season starting Memorial Day weekend. The River Shuttle departs from the El Molino High School campus, 7050 Covey Road in Forestville, and runs between the popular Steelhead Beach and Sunset Beach river parks.

The Regional Parks River Shuttle is a convenient, low-cost way to visit Russian River beaches without the need for a personal vehicle. With new, expanded hours, the shuttle will operate 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekends and holidays, beginning Saturday, May 25, through Labor Day, Sept. 2. An all-day round-trip ticket costs $5. Youth (ages 0-18) ride for free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at

"The River Shuttle continues to provide a fantastic way for locals and visitors to beat the summer heat and traffic while enjoying our Russian River beaches,” said David Rabbitt, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “With expanded hours and free rides for kids, it's an affordable transportation option for a fun day on the river.”

"The River Shuttle is a big win for Russian River communities," said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose 5th District encompasses the lower river area. "It cuts neighborhood traffic jams and emissions from idling cars circling for parking and improves community river access on busy weekends.”

Park rangers temporarily close park entrances when parking lots reach capacity – a frequent occurrence on hot days – but the shuttle provides an alternative way to reach the beaches and reduces the number of cars traveling to and from these popular destinations. It also improves the planning required for those floating or tubing between river beaches, eliminating the need for two private vehicles, one parked at each end of the float route.

Additionally, starting July 1, the parking fee at Steelhead and Sunset beaches will increase from $7 to $10 for the summer peak season. Other parks with peak season parking fees are Cloverdale River Park, Del Rio Woods Regional Park, Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach and Riverfront Regional Park. Parking remains free for Sonoma County Regional Parks members.

Shuttle parking at the El Molino campus is also free. The shuttle features air-conditioned, ADA-accessible, low-emission vans, departing every 30 minutes from the campus and traveling to Steelhead Beach and Sunset Beach.

Also new this year, R2T2 River Rentals will be offering float tubes for rent at Steelhead Beach, eliminating the need to buy floats that often get discarded along the river after use. Tube rentals can be booked in advance online at

“Summertime on the Russian River is a cherished tradition for Sonoma County families," said Regional Parks Director Bert Whitaker. "The shuttle makes visiting our most popular river beaches more convenient and accessible for all. Hop on the River Shuttle for an eco-friendly river float this summer!"

For visitors who want to leave their cars at home, Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) is a great option. Visitors can take the SMART train to the Sonoma County Airport Station and utilize the SMART Connect service to connect to the River Shuttle. SMART Riders receive free transfers to the SMART Connect service.  As an additional bonus, SMART is currently offering free fare for senior and youth riders.  For more information on this service, please visit

Charter buses and commercial shuttles are not permitted to park at regional parks river beaches, with the exception of Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, on the days of River Shuttle operation. Commercial shuttle and charter buses may make free reservations with C3 Transportation to transport passengers on the Regional Parks River Shuttle at least 48 hours in advance by calling (415) 727-7158.

For more information on the Regional Parks River Shuttle and route map, visit




Contact Information:

Sarah Phelps, Marketing Specialist

Sonoma County Regional Parks

(707) 331-9027