A Little History

Highlands Resort has been around since the early 1920s when it was known as Highland Park Lodge. Like many of the resorts in the area, it began by offering platform tent camping and began adding cabins during the 1930s. In those days folks took the ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito where trains headed to the “Vacation Playland” villages of Guerneville, Rio Nido and Monte Rio. The current cabins date from the early 1940s.

The river villages have been a vacation magnet since the late 1880s reaching a peak in the 1920s and 30s (25,000 people came to the river for the July 4th weekend in 1925). As in those days, visitors come for the natural beauty, to play in and on the river, eat in great restaurants and party in the bars. Not much has changed.

In the 1970s the resort was reclining into a dilapidated old age when Bill & Steve bought it in 1979 and turned it into a gay resort.  They are credited with the wonderful landscaping at the resort. This was at the beginning of the area’s revival as a tourist destination, especially for LGBT guests, during the 1980s. Highlands Resort has always attracted a loyal following of guests looking for a quiet, relaxing place to stay that is friendly and fun.

As we have been restoring the cabins we have tried to capture a bit of the 1940s and 50s by using vintage chrome & Formica tables and chairs wherever possible, using custom cut and inlaid linoleum floors, and by using vacation brochures blown up as art in the cabins.  At this point we have rehabilitated all but 1 of the cabins (hoping to get  the Two Room Cabin done soon). And we are continuing to improve our rooms and suites.