The great thing about seeing Bodega Bay on your Pacific Coast Highway road trip is that it is almost impossible not to see the adorable coastal village. The town, located literally along Route 1 is the perfect stop for a day and evening.
Stretch your legs and burn some calories on some gorgeous coastal trails, then spend the afternoon and evening shopping the eclectic boutiques and trying some of the best gems in the seafood world…
Visiting soon? Then, check some of the best things to do in Bodega Bay!
Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.
While residency is fairly low in the town, it can be a popular spot for local day trips and foodies exploring, so be prepared for some traffic on weekends and maybe a wait or two if you have a seafood stop on your bucket list that you must scratch off (cough, Spuds Point Crab Co.) So, without further ado, here are all the fun things to do in Bodega Bay.
Top Remarkable Things to Do in Bodega Bay CA
- Address: 555 S Hwy 1 Bodega Bay, CA 94923
I usually start these to-do lists with all the active trails and such, but this time I’m starting off with my other go-to favorite thing to do – wine tasting. This is also going first because I think it needs a smidge more planning since it is highly advised to make a reservation beforehand. They do take walk-ins, but with staff shortages and everyone being pulled in all directions, it’s best to plan ahead so you get the experience you are looking for.
Due to the cool coastal climate, they make beautiful burgundy-inspired wines meaning that chardonnay and pinot really shine for them. That’s not to say their other wines don’t impress, I’ve always loved their Syrah, even though I don’t see it very often.
But if you love a good chardonnay or want to geek out on pinot noir, this is a great spot to swing by and spend some time in. I mean, you are in Sonoma and surrounded by wine country, so you might as well play along.
Horseback Riding Isn’t Just for Romance Novels
Sunset Riding with Chanslor Stables
Another fun adventure that might require a little planning ahead is horseback riding through the rolling hills and sand dunes of Bodega Bay. There are a couple of companies in the area to work with, but a friend of mine has booked with Chanslor Stables in the past and gave them rave reviews for her and a couple of friends visiting.
Don’t worry about your level of expertise in riding as they deal with all levels and ages. If you are looking for a “special occasion” experience, this is a great option. It seems birthdays and proposals are a very common theme, but just taking a break from an epic road trip and seeing the beautiful oceanside from the back of a horse is occasion enough I think.
So today I learned that Bodega Bay is known for its kite flying. I honestly didn’t know this and I’ve been there multiple times. I feel like I’ve been missing out. Doran Beach is a 2-mile long stretch of beach that is popular for its steady winds and great kite flying conditions.
It’s also backed up by not one, but two popular kite shops right on Hwy 1 in the main part of town. Both Candy & Kites and Second Wind cater to the hobby. So if you don’t have a kite tucked away in the car like the rest of us, pick out a kite that speaks to you and stock up on some fun vintage candy for a fun day in the sand and perfect wind.
Pro Tip: Call ahead at the shops to see if they are open as hours of operation are limited during the low season.
- Address: 21301 Heron Dr. Bodega Bay, CA 94923
- Book a Tee Time Here
When I mentioned to a friend that I was writing about Bodega Bay recently she said I had to include Link’s golf course in my list of to-do’s. It’s one of her husbands’ favorite courses in California. And that guy plays a lot of golf so I felt like it was a good locals tip. As well as one of those Bodega Bay activities that you cannot miss!
As any golfer knows, any course along the coastline can be predictably unpredictable. It’s part of the challenge, and this one does not disappoint. But when you are frustrated with that uphill hole in the crosswind, and you look up to the spanning ocean over the cliffside it’s hard to be all that upset.
- Address: 18797 Highway 1 Bodega Bay, CA 94923
- Visit Website
A great way to spend some active time with the family (and be out of the car) is giving trout fishing a try. Great for kids and novices at fishing, Hagemann Ranch has everything you might need for the day. Rentals, cleaning areas, and great outdoor picnic spots for an easy day in nature and coming out feeling like you accomplished something.
There are entrance, rental, and fish fees, so it won’t be cheaper than the fish market, but the experience and memories of catching your first fish make up for the cost when you see that smile on your kids face.
Tip: They do close for the winter, so please check ahead for times of operation if you’d like to make a stop here.
As you might have picked up by reading any travel blog post in California, we are really into our hiking trails. Whether you are into the easy to moderate strolls or a real cardio long haul, there are plenty to choose from, and Bodega Bay is no exception.
In fact, considering how popular a stop it is for campers, bike riders, and bay area day-trippers, I’d even say it’s a draw of why this is such a popular little town. A good trail and some seafood to fill you up does make for a pretty perfect day. All you have to do is pop in Bodega Bay in the All Trails site and you will see a solid list of trails and walks to choose from.
Below is a list of popular trails to choose from:
- Bodega Head Trail (very popular for stunning views, high traffic on weekends)
- Pinnacle Gulch Coastal Access
- Pinnacle Gulch & Shorttail Gulch Loop
- Doran Beach Trail
- Bodega Dunes Trail
- Bird Walk at Doran Regional Park
- Bodega Head Overlook Trail (a little steeper)
- Doran Marsh Trail
- South Salmon Creek Beach
- Bodega Dunes Beach Boardwalk
For many on an epic road trip down the Pacific Coast Hwy, camping and RV parks become a necessity. Not only are they budget-friendly but also fun and a great way to see some of the beautiful aspects of different regions and towns along the way. Of course, you can technically set up camp anywhere that lets you, but finding gems along the way are nice to plan for and give you something to look forward to.
Doran Beach (very popular) and a handful of others I will list below follow that line of thinking. They are close to the action (if that is what you would call the sleepy village town of Bodega Bay), and offer stunning views, easy access to the water for boat shore service, cleaning stations for fishing and showers to help set the reset button just to name a few.
Coastal camping is very popular in this area, and one of the best things to do in Bodega Bay. Many of them also offer year-round access. Be aware though that coastal winds can get cold, even in summer months. So pack and dress accordingly. Oh, and many of them are dog friendly, just make sure to check when barking…I mean booking.
Sites to check out for the beach and regional camping. Type in any one of these into this website for more information.
- Doran Regional Park Campground
- Bodega Dunes Campground
- Westside Regional Park & Campground
- Miwok Campground
- Bodega Bay RV Park
- Porto Bodega Marina & RV Park
- Wright Beach Campground
- Sonoma Coast State Park
- Salmon Creek Ranger Station
- Lawsons Landing (closer to Tomales Bay)
There is something so charming about shopping in the main part of Bodega Bay. Their main street is pretty much Route 1 for the most part. I wouldn’t expect to do much clothes shopping but it’s a great place to wander and pick out a fun birthday gift for someone or a thank you trinket.
Maybe you are buying magnets from your stops on your epic PCH road trip, who knows. But the little gift and candy shops along the way are a perfect place to keep an eye out for something you are looking for.
A list of shops that are popular stops:
- Patrick’s Salt Water Taffy – 915 Highway 1 Bodega Bay, CA 94923
- Fishetarian Fish Market – 599 Hwy 1 S Bodega Bay, CA 94923
- The Ren Brown Collection – 1781 Coast Hyw 1 Bodega Bay, CA 94923
- Bodega Bay Surf Shack – 1400 N Hwy 1 Bodega Bay, CA 94923
- Seagull Antiques Gift Shop – 17190 Bodega Hwy Bodega, CA 94922
- Cypress Gallery – 17191 Bodega Ave Ste A Bodega, CA 94922
- Eclectic Amanda – 1580 E Shore Rd Ste K Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Now for the Fun Part, Where to Eat in Bodega Bay!
In all honesty, I’ve never heard of anyone eating at a restaurant in Bodega Bay and not liking it or suggesting it. They have an abundance of seafood at the ready and being surrounded by Sonoma county farms, it’s almost “farm to table” by default. That being said, here is a list of restaurants to check out to form your own opinion.
- Address: 1860 Westshore Rd Bodega Bay, CA 94923
When it comes to seafood I’ve always been a fan of simple is best and I feel like this is what Spud’s embodies well. They rely on solid fresh ingredients and a simple but well-versed menu. They do tend to have a line, but it moves fairly quickly. Also, parking is tight so don’t be surprised if you don’t have to park along the roadside. Or just do it from the beginning and save yourself the time. That way you can jump in line quicker.
Pro Tip: If you’re staying in the area and want to cook your own, you can always buy fresh crab here and take it home (Airbnb, campsite, whatever) and cook it yourself.
- Address: 599 Hwy 1 S Bodega Bay, CA 94923
You might have noticed that I mentioned them in the shopping list above too. That’s because this place makes amazing food but it’s also the cutest little gourmet deli shop.
I dare you not to want to pick up something fun for later while you grab some lunch.
They have lots of al fresco seating after you’ve picked up your order, both indoors and out. They also have a huge beer selection and even a few on tap. I mean, who doesn’t want a beer and some fish tacos on the water.
- Address: 103 Coast Hwy 1 Bodega Bay, CA 94923
For a little higher-end night out is this gorgeous and cozy restaurant located in the Bodega Bay Lodge estate. A great place to sit and have a cocktail and some delicious appetizers or a beautiful meal with views. Rumor has it they also make a great brunch as well.
A few more restaurants to check out when you’re in the area
- The Birds Cafe
- Terrapin Creek Cafe & Restaurant
- Gourmet Au Bay
- Fisherman’s Cove
Surprisingly, there are actually quite a few options in Bodega Bay to stay. Many small coastal towns have maybe 1-3 if you are lucky, but they have 5 just along the main part of the highway. And counting if you stray from the main part of town. We will name a few favorites here for various budgets, but also check out Airbnb and Vrbo. Many vacation homes in the area are rented out when not in use and can be a great option for families or a group looking for some extra space.
- Address: 103 California 1 Bodega Bay, CA 94923
We’ll start at the higher end of things with this cozy lodge that looks out over the bay and has a timely style that is welcoming and comforting. It’s also where the Drakes Sonoma Coast restaurant is. So if you are looking for something that is homey and convenient, this is a great option.
- Address: 800 Highway One Bodega Bay, CA 94923
A charming option that overlooks the harbor that has all the bells and whistles you will need when stopping for a rest on your road trip. There is a restaurant as well. The pool is very good sized and they serve a complimentary breakfast with your booking.
- Address: 1588 Eastshore Rd Bodega Bay, CA 94923
What was formally a family-owned art gallery back in the ’80s is now a 12 room inn run by said family. The rooms have a modern/traditional artistic vibe, and there are pieces to look at at every turn. A communal kitchen and dog-friendly make this a perfect place for small families.
If you really want to pack your weekend with more, check out these fun ideas:
- Take your own photos of the St. Teresa of Avila Church made famous by both Ansel Adams and being featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds” which was also filmed in Bodega Bay.
- Check out the Children’s Bell Tower and read the story that goes along with it. Maybe don’t bring the kids on this though, it’s kinda dark.
- Book a charter and go out on the water for fishing or just a nice day out on the bay.
- Rent some equipment and a lesson at Bodega Bay Surf Shack for a fun day in the water.
- Do a “Do-It-Yourself” Driving tour around Sonoma with this downloadable tour. Drive some backwoods you would normally never see if you didn’t know about them.
These are some of the best Bodega Bat attractions that you should definitely add to you list of things to do and places to visit in Bodega Bay.