Way Up the Coast

There's more than wine to try in Bodega Bay.

shutterstock_427855561 copy Bodega Bay is a charming stop along the California coast. By land, it’s 40 miles north of San Francisco on Pacific Coast Highway. Truly a nature lover’s paradise, Bodega Bay features spectacular scenic cliffs, sandy coves, and vantage points for observing migrating whales and birds. Speaking of the birds, Bodega Bay was also the setting for the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name.

When visiting Bodega Bay, boaters have a few options to moor in this protected bay. Spud Point Marina is a popular fishing and crabbing destination and is one of the best ocean marinas in Northern California, with no bar to transit when entering and exiting the harbor. The marina welcomes monthly berthers, overnight visitors and yacht club events. Doran Park includes plenty of areas to launch a boat and designated areas for parking boat trailers. Boat launch fees are $11.

There is plenty to do, see and eat in Bodega Bay. Beautiful coastlines are everywhere you look. The bay is a fisherman’s paradise, so you can hook your own catch of the day or enjoy someone else’s on the bustling pier. For an alternative way to enjoy the coastline, Horse ’N Around offers trail rides and beach rides for reasonable prices. What is more romantic than riding through the dunes on horseback? The majority of trail horses on these tours are rescued and re-homed, and every penny of the ticket price goes to help rescue horses that have been neglected or abandoned.

Bodega Bay’s claim to fame is surely being featured as the star location for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film “The Birds.” In the film, the quaint bay was terrorized by psycho birds that pecked out the eyes of hapless townspeople. Hitchcock was inspired by the events that occurred in neighboring Capitola, Calif., where domoic acid poisoning inflicted the population of sooty shearwater birds in 1961. Visitors can tour the schoolhouse that was used in the film as well as a café with “Birds” memorabilia . It was in the movie as a refuge for the actors to hide from the feathered menaces outside.i-zPrNfzT-X2 copy

Besides The Birds Café, there are a few other seaside spots to enjoy some delicious, hearty seafood. The Tides Wharf Restaurant 5 is well known in the area for its beautiful harbor views and a variety of classic seafood dishes. Gourmet au Bay offers fresh coastal wood-oven cuisine. The Dog House is a casual fast-food spot in Bodega Harbor just south of the bay down PCH. It features vegetarian and vegan options, and best of all, the fries are all you can eat. When you want to fine dine, head over to Drakes Sonoma Coast Cuisine . Executive chef Jeff Reilly utilizes local organic family farms, ranches, seafood and meats. Savor the seasonal offerings and serene views for a memorable lunch or dinner by the bay.

Bodega Bay Trailhead is a great and relatively easy hike that can be adjusted in length for any age and fitness level. Birdwatchers love this area. There are many beautiful vistas and cliff views as well as natural rock arches and formations along the cliffs by the seashore. Doran Beach (ranger phone number, 707-875- 3540) is another bird watching paradise with long, clean, sandy beaches. Campsites are available and a jetty at the harbor mouth is a popular spot for rock fishing. There is a $4 launch fee for trailered boats.


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