For some reason I always wanted to visit Bodega Bay. I liked the name mostly because it sounds like it should be in a tropical locale. It’s actually just about an hour up the rugged California coast above San Francisco. So, on a long Thanksgiving weekend, that’s exactly where I am headed!!!
As I was driving around the area, I was surprised on how big it was. Nestled on the 55 mile stretch of Sonoma County, the bay itself spans along the Pacific Ocean. However, beyond two jetties, sits a calm and protected inlet which is home to the Bodega Bay Harbor. This is where the activity is and most of the city.
As of the 2010 consensus there are about 1,077 residents living in this tiny town.
At one of many marinas in the harbor, Spud Point is home to the small fishing and commercial fleet that has been operating for generations. These brave souls tackle the rough waters off the Pacific to bring home their fare for all to enjoy. Except me that is, yuk on seafood. Too bad because they say it is top notch in these parts.
This was evidenced in Spud Point Marina where we saw a few lucky restaurants with at least 40 people lined up to either get in or order their food.
The road that winds around the harbor allows you views of rustic docks and quaint marinas as well as a clear view way across where all you see is open land. You can easily find a place to rent Kayaks/SUPS or schedule a whale watching trip. Private charters can also take you on deep sea fishing trips so you can try your hand angling for salmon, halibut, or rock fish.
There are abundant hiking and biking trails inside or outside of the harbor that offer amazing views. We drove into the parking lot of one of the coves and were rewarded with a breathtaking scene and a colorful sunset. It almost looked like a tropical locale!
The sun rays stirred up magnificent colors as trees sparkled, the cat-tail grass glistened, and the hills became a dazzling green.
More about Town:
For the more active of you, this protected inlet is a perfect place for windsurfing and kite surfing.
The town itself is about as charming as you get yet has enough to do for your everyday tourist. Along the harbor are inviting shops, galleries, cafes, fine dining, lodging, etc.
Colorful kite shops are just a stone’s throw from seaside restaurants where blissful diners are enjoying the panoramic view on shaded patios.
Some of the residents live on the hills above, giving them a bird’s eye view of the water.
Besides the many beaches along the ocean side, the Doran Regional Park provides miles of open sand where you don’t have to hike down a bluff. You do have to pay to get in but a nominal fee to be that close. However, there are plenty of cliff areas that provide parking, although you have to actually get out of your car and hike down a trail to the beach.
We were too lazy for that, but we stopped in to enjoy the picturesque views.
Birds, Birds, and more Birds
My friend reminded me that Bodega Bay is famed for being the shooting location of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, “the Birds”. Remember that movie where birds go crazy and start attacking humans? I gave this some thought once when I looked up and about 30 black crows were staring at me from a telephone wire. Could it be? Naw. Luckily, they were minding their own business.
Speaking of birds, there are tons of Hawks or Turkey Vultures in the area. One flew only a few yards above my head, and I was scrambling to get my camera focused for the photo. I failed to get a clean shot as it was slightly out of focus. There were many others that were surveying the hills but none that got that close again, I blew my chance.
Near one of the docks, bird watchers were all intently watching a certain area. Evidently a rare sighting of a yellow breasted something-or-another was seen recently. Bodega Harbor features a natural and protected estuary, so it is attractive to large numbers of water birds year-round. It seemed like a bird watching haven to me.
There is so much to do in Bodega Bay and it’s a perfect get-away, plus you can’t beat the scenic coastal contours.
It is so interesting that in California, you can travel from one end of the state to another and experience so much change of scenery.
Our 5 days on the Northern California coast comes to an end but as with any travel adventure, we are richer for it.
Story and photos: Debbie Colwell