Bodega Bay Bliss
Put down your phone, and pick up the binoculars to unwind by the ocean.
Watch for humpback whales, birds, and other wildlife in Bodega Bay.
Photo by Paul Dyer
A WINDING ROAD
If you have a sports car, this is the trip to use it. Zoom out of the garage and hit the winding roads that meander through rural cattle ranches, skirt the edges of vineyards, and hug the rocky coastline on the way to Bodega Bay. During the two-hour journey from the East Bay, give yourself time to stop for delicious cheese (at Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes), famous oysters (at Hog Island Oyster Co. in Marshall beside Tomales Bay), or fresh bread (at Wild Flour Bread in Freestone). cowgirlcreamery.com, hogislandoysters.com, wildflourbread.com.
Watch for Wildlife
FOG IS FOR THE BIRDS
Fog is both friend and foe in Bodega Bay. It can obscure your golf ball on the cliffs at The Links at Bodega Harbour and make passage dangerous for fishing boats in the channel. But the wispy clouds can also bring a welcome coolness to warm days. The birds, at least, seem appreciative of this damp climate—and it’s not just gulls around here. Egrets, herons, snowy plovers, black oystercatchers, sandpipers, and more eye-catching species attract bird-watchers year-round. (And as most Bay Area movie buffs know, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 thriller, The Birds, was filmed here.)
A HARBOR VIEW
Aside from a few touristy stores for kites, kitsch, and candy, shopping isn’t much of a draw. Instead, wander along the docks to see fishermen hoist their catches, and watch the boats glide in and out of the harbor while you eat lunch on the patio at Gourmet Au Bay. (Try the “clamtastic” flatbread with a flight of white wines.)
Afterward, head north and hit the Kortum Trail. This scenic, uncrowded path takes you through coastal grasslands and offers arresting views of the waves crashing against the shore. Another option closer to town is Bodega Head; the rocky headland is an ideal place for spotting migrating gray and humpback whales from January through May. If you’re not tuckered out, stop by the Sonoma Coast Vineyards tasting room to sample local wines and cheeses. gourmetaubay.com, sonomahikingtrails.com, sonomacoastvineyards.com.
BODEGA BAY LODGE
Perched above wetlands leading to Doran Beach, Bodega Bay Lodge doesn’t disappoint for gorgeous vistas, comfort, or service. Relax in an Ocean Club suite with a cozy fireplace, spa tub, and private patio overlooking the ocean. You can also indulge in an excellent meal on-site. Drake’s Sonoma Coast Kitchen features fresh, sustainable seafood dishes, ranging from crab omelets for breakfast to seafood stew for dinner. (Don’t miss the moist chocolate cake.) Room rates start around $300, bodegabaylodge.com.