Lazy Bear Week in Guerneville — All You Need to Know
The Lazy Bear Week Experience in Guerneville, California
For newbies, arriving in the small Sonoma County town of Guerneville for Lazy Bear Week is always a surprise. After winding through twisting roads and passing open vineyards and redwoods, a bustling three blocks of Main Street emerges.
Lazy Bear Week may be a lesser-known gay event among some, but among the bears and those on the west coast of the US, this bear event is hugely popular.
A friendly and welcoming atmosphere pervades. The pool parties and local excursions build a wonderful sense of community.
And while there will likely be a handful of exceptions, most people will smile and say hello! You can strike up a conversation at any time with anybody. The crowd at Lazy Bear Week varies in age from 21 to 70+, and all body types are visible and accepted, if not celebrated.
Ask anyone who attends the event, and they’ll tell you that “The Lazy Bear experience is what you make it.”
To some, that means taking advantage of being around so many men to make it a frisky week of playing around – discreetly or not. To others, it’s a chance to be around like-minded people who won’t judge.
Lazy Bear Week Events
The first order of business at Lazy Bear Weekend is to check in at a designated 4th Street business address to get a Lazy Bear tag. The tag is a special ID that is your admission to all the week’s events, which span from pool parties and dance parties to local excursions.
My colleague John’s first trip to Lazy Bear Week (which then used to be Lazy Bear Weekend) included a Saturday float down the Russian River while all the pool parties were happening.
He just wanted a quiet afternoon and was happy to meet guys from the US, Canada, Australia, England, and Germany.
Other event gatherings during the week are at a quiet resort above the town, the Highlands, and at the local Pee Wee Golf & Arcade, which is a short walk across the Russian River.
The recent addition of a sunset tea dance at Johnson’s Beach has transformed Lazy Bear Week Friday and Saturday Nights from a repeat of the Dore Alley parties, held in San Francisco the week prior, into a glorious gay outdoor dance-a-palooza in a bucolic setting.
The week’s activities come to an end on Sunday with a super block party at the 4th Street venues.
Don’t forget to bring some sexy gay swimsuits for the pool parties. Many guys even wear jockstraps at other outdoor events.
Top Hotels for Lazy Bear Week
Hotels and motels on 4th Street and the surrounding area are most popular for Lazy Bear Week. These hotels host a bulk of the daytime and nighttime parties.
The Woods Hotel Gay Cabins, R3 Resort, and The West Sonoma Inn and Spa are all within a stone’s throw from 4th Street. Many people attending Lazy Bear Week choose to stay in these hotels. Some hotels have a minimum-night stay, while others don’t.
If the accommodations above are full, check out the nearby Johnson’s Beach Lodge, Dawn Ranch, or the cozy Highlands Resort.
Event Funding Goes to a Good Cause
Recently, the Lazy Bear Fund has reminded us that after funds raised during Lazy Bear Week get put back into the next year’s event, the remainder is donated through a grant program to local, regional, national, and international nonprofit organizations.
The tagline “the biggest, hairiest, burliest, craziest, laziest fundraiser on the planet!” holds true. In recent years, the Lazy Bear Fund has donated over $200,000 to local, regional, national, and international non-profits.
They have also generously donated to aid in the recovery of the town of Guerneville after recent floods and fires.
Lazy Bear Week Continues to Grow
Every year, Lazy Bear Week events evolve and there’s always something new and fresh happening. The pandemic caused the group to stop offering local winery tours, but perhaps that will return down the road.
Several businesses in Guerneville California have changed hands and some are reaching out to the Lazy Bear Fund to participate. So, stay tuned to the latest news on the Lazy Bear website.
Curious about more community-building gay events? See wolfyy’s ultimate list of international gay ski weeks.
For new travel destination ideas, browse wolfyy’s gay travel guides by category or see destinations by country.