Johnson's is a nice alternative for $20/canoe/day to Burke's upriver. There is a beach with no alcohol allowed (they reserve the right to search your cooler), free parking, and rentals. We just stopped by looking for a place to picnic and didn't stay (we were looking for a grassy table area) but it was pretty packed at noon on a summer Sunday.
Check out the website below for all the good info.
You can rent a canoe at Burkes Canoes in Forestville and paddle your way down the Russian River four miles down to Guerneville. Canoes hold two to three people and cost $50 per canoe. Kind of expensive, but it's a really fun way to spend the day.
They say you can make the entire trip in 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours. I think, however, that's if you don't stop and you paddle hard the whole time. Most people make it a leisurely day, stopping at beaches to picnic, swim, etc.
People along the riverbanks tend to be friendly, and your fellow canoers are always friendly too. Truly great.
When you get out of the river in Guerneville, Burkes Canoes take your canoes, paddles and life jackets and you get on their bus, which takes you back to the top of the river, where you left your car. A great day!
Equipment: Burkes Canoes provides canoes, paddles and life jackets in the rental fee. You'll want to bring with you: bathing suit, towel, lunch in a cooler, a bunjee cord to strap your belongings in to the canoe (in case the canoe tips), sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, a hat... whatever you think you'd wear if you were spending a day in the sun, on the water.
You can rent paddle boats or canoes at Johnson's Beach. There are other canoe rental places farther up the river as well. You'll notice their signs as you drive down River Road, towards Guerneville. For Johnson's Beach, just park, go to the beach and you won't be able to miss the rental stand.
Kayaking and canoeing! I mean, you've been reading the tips on Guerneville, haven't you? :-)
Equipment: A kayak, canoe, whatever. A small cooler is always good, too, filled with whatever you want to eat or drink. A bathingsuit is a good idea too, of course. Sunscreen!!