Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Bodega Bay, CA

  • Published 2022/07/17

Famous as the filming site for Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds, Bodega Bay is a small, shallow inlet of the Pacific Ocean in the United States.

It is largely a fishing village that is located on the Sonoma Coast, almost a two-hour drive north of San Francisco.

The village is surrounded by water and land on all sides and invites visitors to an adventure of a lifetime.

A perfect destination for tourists who love the great outdoors, Bodega Bay is home to clifftops, secret beaches, and coves.

As it is well-known for its scenic beauty and excellent seafood, this place is a perfect choice for a weekend getaway, whether you’re planning to travel with your family or a group of friends.

You can discover all these and many more fun activities in the village all by yourself or with help from locals.

These are the best things to do in Bodega Bay, California:

Go Fishing, Swimming, or Boating at Westside Regional Park

Famous for sport fishing, Westside Regional Park is located close to Doran Regional Park.

This park in Bodega Bay was renovated in the year 2016.

The renovation was sponsored by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.

After the renovation, the park came to offer facilities such as accessible wheelchair and kayak launch sites.

The park also offers an accessible campground that families will surely enjoy.

You can easily enjoy activities such as fishing and boating in this beautifully managed park.

Westside Regional Park has a lot of parking spaces and includes a boat launch area, a cleaning station for fish, as well as a gangway.

It is also a good place for swimming and watching birds.

Enjoy a Day of Fun in the Sun at Doran Beach

Daytime view of Doran Beach

Danita Delimont /

Located in the 127-acre Doran Regional Park, Doran Beach is a public access beach that is managed and maintained by Sonoma County Regional Parks.

The beach is located on land that was originally owned by William Doran, from whom the beach gets its name.

Doran Beach offers plenty of opportunities for swimming, biking, horseback riding, as well as animal watching in front of a two-mile stretch with an unbelievably pristine view.

Kayak boats on Doran Beach shore

Diane N. Ennis /

The beach is largely available for daily use activities.

Along with the activities, the beach has around 120 campsites.

A large number of boat launch sites and RVs for rent are available at the beach.

Sunset over Doran Beach

Lauhala Photography /

Take a Scenic Hike along the Pinnacle Gulch Coastal Access Trail

The Pinnacle Gulch Coastal Access Trail is a paved trail that is kept alive by a seasonal stream.

It is covered with lots of herbs and shrubs like berries and wildflowers.

This half-mile-long path ultimately merges into a beach on Bodega Bay.

The view is filled with a lot of interesting stones and rocks that form some unique and distinctive patterns.

The beach is not very populated, which makes it ideal for relaxing walks and picnics.

You can also enjoy birdwatching and fishing here.

Take the Whole Family to Hagemann Ranch Trout Fishing

Hagemann Ranch Trout Fishing operates in a privately owned cattle ranch spread over an area of 500 acres.

It is a seasonal trout fishing attraction that offers a pond filled with fish as well as fishing equipment.

The property also provides the bait to be used for fishing.

The place is very lenient and does not require visitors to provide fishing licenses.

It also provides access to picnic tables.

You can visit this property on a seasonal basis from March to October.

One of its major attractions is a day trip dedicated to horseback riding, which calls in a lot of visitors.

Have Freshly Caught Seafood at Fishetarian Fish Market

Bodega Bay’s location makes it a place filled with what seems like an infinite amount of fish.

Fishetarian Fish Market was started by a couple in the year 2012 in order to offer customary and comforting seafood dishes.

The market is famous for serving the healthiest seafood.

The business’ main goal is to focus on the sustainability and recyclability of the available resources.

They ensure that no resources are wasted and that everything is utilized judiciously.

The tableware they use for serving food is also recyclable.

Fishetarian Fish Market is also very famous for its dishes, which have won multiple awards.

The place offers gluten-free food, such as gluten-free fish tacos, rolls, and chips.

They are also known for serving vegetarian and vegan food upon special request.

The food is always prepared with fresh seafood caught using safe and environment-friendly methods.

Practice Your Golf Swing at The Links at Bodega Harbour

Landscape of The Links at Bodega Harbour

Brandon Olafsson /

The Links at Bodega Harbour is one of the most famous and beautiful golf courses in the area.

It opened in the year 1978 and was modified with nine additional golf holes in 1987.

In 2008, the golf course was renovated, and new bunkers and bentgrass were added to the property.

The Links at Bodega Harbour is internationally recognized as one of the top golf courses in northern California.

The golf course also offers golf instruction programs with some well-known and expert class-A instructors.

Their programs are available to people of all ages and abilities.

In addition, the golf course has an in-house restaurant, Bluewater’s Bistro, which serves some of the finest gourmet wine in the country.

The Links at Bodega Harbour also hosts jazz music and other live performances every Thursday evening.

Spot Beautiful Birds along Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail

Doing justice to its name, Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail is one of the finest destinations for birdwatching.

This regional site is spread over an area of 1.19 miles with walkable trails.

Its location is such that it encircles two freshwater bodies and a vast marshland.

The trail is usually flat in most areas, making it quite comfortable for visitors who require the use of wheelchairs.

This place offers an opportunity for visitors to see birds in their natural settings.

The trail’s authorities also organize certain events, including Winging It Wednesdays on every last Wednesday of the month.

Sample the Finest Wines at Sonoma Coast Vineyards

Owned and managed by master winemaker Anthony Austin, Sonoma Coast Vineyards is one of the top wine-producing vineyards in the region.

They follow some classic yet unique methods of winemaking, due to which the wines they produce are of premium quality.

The wines produced at the vineyard are sold under various labels that include Antonio Mountain Vineyard and Bella Sonoma Vineyard Facility.

Sonoma Coast Vineyards also offers wine tasting experiences for its visitors, which are conducted at the social tasting bar and adjoining outdoor patio.

They also offer complimentary chocolate and cheese during special events like harvest dinners.

The vineyard also features locally produced fruits and vegetables during special events.

Admire the Works of Art on Display at Pacific Bay Gallery

A place as beautiful as Bodega Bay cannot be complete without a classic gallery.

Pacific Bay Gallery is a fine arts gallery that showcases the work of some of the most famous regional and national artists.

The artists use diverse and dynamic ways and mediums to create their art.

Some of the most famous mediums are oil, acrylic, and watercolor.

The gallery showcases an extensive and valuable collection of antique and historical works that include old-world paintings and original works by national artists.

The gallery brings a lot of pride and joy, as it is unbelievable that a human mind can create such timeless pieces of art using very limited resources.

Pay Your Respects at the Children’s Bell Tower

The Children’s Bell Tower is a monument that is associated with a painful yet proud history.

It was made in remembrance of Nicholas Green, seven-year-old who was shot and killed during a robbery in 1994.

Following the child’s death, talks for organ donation were initiated at an international level.

As a result, Green’s organs were donated, and this led to a land full of goodwill known as the “Nicholas Effect.”

Following the event and considering the rise in the number of organ donations, Bruce Hasson, a well-known artist, erected this bell tower in Bodega Bay.

The tower has 140 donated bells, including a center bell that was installed by the pope.

Check Out the Raw Bar at Terrapin Creek Cafe

Opened as a casual neighborhood cafe in the year 2008, Terrapin Creek Cafe is a place that offers a wide variety of dishes.

The dishes offered here are made with high-quality products that are sourced from local farms.

The cafe has made a partnership with local producers, which both parties benefit from mutually.

Their dishes are offered at very affordable and reasonable prices in order to promote sustainable and healthy eating around the world.

The cafe offers local as well as global cuisine during dinner time.

They are particularly famous for their delicious appetizers and their raw bar.

Dig into Fresh Crabs at Spud Point Crab Co.

Signage of Spud Point Crab Company

Eric P. Ludvik /

Spud Point Crab Co. is an eatery that takes everyone into its claws with the food they offer.

The family-owned eatery is located almost a two-hour drive away from the north of San Francisco.

The eatery serves freshly prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a daily basis.

It is exclusively famous for its breakfast-style and authentic recipes, which include classic coffee and donuts.

Fresh seafood, along with specialty sandwiches, cakes made with crabs, and award-winning chowder, are served at lunch and dinner.

The eatery also offers outdoor seating facilities in the summer season to allow diners to enjoy the beautiful view of Bodega Head.

Savor Fresh Oysters at Fisherman’s Cove

A famous family-owned and operated business, Fisherman’s Cove is a restaurant as well as a tackle shop.

The place offers tasty lunch and dinner, along with fishing equipment.

Situated by the harbor’s waters, it is ideal not only for fishing but also for dining at night, thanks to its beautiful views.

The restaurant’s menu is heavily loaded with oyster dishes.

Oysters, shrimp, and many other sandwiches are also served, along with other items.

The restaurant also serves vegetarian food and beer.

They also offer different types of local beers, classic wines, and homegrown champagne.

Have a Lovely Stay at Inn at the Tides

Signage of Inn at the Tides

Naeblys /

Inn at the Tides has award-winning restaurants, guest lodges, and spectacular vistas, all located on acres of natural settings.

It is one of the most distinctive and endearing getaways in Bodega Bay.

State beaches, nature trails, vineyards, and wineries offering wine tastings, renowned golf courses, and the best venues for sport-fishing excursions are all situated close to the inn.

The Inn at the Tides also provides a wide range of amenities and services to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable.

In-room therapeutic massages, a heated pool, gourmet foods and wine, a gift shop, and much more are available at the hotel.

Lunch with Neighbors at Terrapin Creek

Terrapin Creek first opened in 2008.

The restaurant was intended to be a laid-back neighborhood hangout where family and neighbors could enjoy the greatest seasonal ingredients.

Terrapin Creek serves food that is seasonal and sourced locally, showcasing both regional and international cuisines.

Every dish made in their kitchen is guaranteed to contain only the best local products and meats.

In addition to a variety of appetizers, meal plates, artisan cheeses, and desserts, guests can choose from a menu of raw treatments, including oysters, as well as carpaccio from the tasting menu.

Go Horseback Riding at Chanslor Ranch

Chanslor Ranch is a great place for a weekend trip.

This lovely ranch in Bodega Bay aspires to provide more than just a place to stay during your trip.

They have stunning views of the Northern California ocean from their 381-acre Nature Preserve.

Kayak tours of North Salmon Creek are available, as are guided rides on horses.

Chanslor Ranch offers countless opportunities for guests to have an exceptional vacation experience at Bodega Bay.

Shop for Kites at Second Wind

Second Wind boasts the most extensive assortment of kites at the lowest prices in Bodega Bay.

This kite shop provides a ton of affordable family fun items, including puzzles, games, and coloring books.

Additionally, they provide a wide variety of windsocks, ground spinners, flags, and yard art.

They carry all the candies you may have adored as a child, including Salt Water Taffy, and Nik-L-Nips, along with mystery boxes, gourmet chocolate boxes, and more.

Second Wind is a wonderful location to unwind and enjoy the scenery.

Enjoy a Seafood Feast at Lucas Wharf Restaurant and Bar

Do you enjoy eating seafood?

Lucas Wharf Restaurant & Bar is a well-known waterfront institution that offers special fish selections and outdoor dining.

Since 1984, it has been a family-run business that offers delectable seafood dishes with stunning views of the picturesque Bodega Bay.

Salmon tartare, ceviche oyster shooters, fresh king salmon, and other dishes are among the summer specialties at Lucas Wharf Restaurant and Bar.

Fun fact: Local fishermen have traditionally gathered at Lucas Wharf, which was previously known as the Lazio Dock.

Visit Lucas Wharf Restaurant & Bar for a great seafood feast featuring a rich history.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Famous Mammoth Rocks

Daytime view of Mammoth Rocks

Diane N. Ennis /

Also referred to as Sunset Boulders, the Mammoth Rocks site it not exactly located within Bodega Bay but is quite famous among its tourists.

It is a prehistoric natural rock site in Sonoma County that is known for preserving stones from the last ice age.

The place has blueschist stones, which have an average height of 10 to 14 feet.

Some of the rocks feature a mammoth face, while others resemble the present-day elephants that are found in the wilderness.

The history of this area is not very clear, but scientists claim that the site was part of a much larger site that might have been destroyed during the ice age.

Visit the St. Teresa of Avila Church

Exterior of St. Teresa of Avila Church

MARELBU, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located in the town of Bodega, St. Teresa of Avila Church is the oldest church that is still being used by the people of Sonoma County.

It is a state historical landmark in California and is believed to have been in existence since 1862.

Front view of St. Teresa of Avila Church's exterior

Ovidiu Hrubaru /

The church also has 14 stained glass windows, which are unique in their own style.

St. Teresa of Avila Church was used as a filming location for the famous movie, The Birds.

It is also rented out as a venue for weddings.

Door of St. Teresa of Avila Church

Diane N. Ennis /

Final Thoughts

In addition to stunning views, the Sonoma County community of Bodega Bay provides tourists and explorers with a wide range of outdoor pursuits.

After a fun day of exploring the sights that Bodega Bay has to offer, treat yourself to a feast of seafood delicacies.

Don’t miss out on spending a special vacation at this tourist destination with friends and family.

Set your vacation plans straight away!

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