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Travel Tips for a California Beach Summer Vacation, Bodega Bay

Updated on June 11, 2012

This gorgeous stretch of shoreline on California's northern coast is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The warmest and most beautiful beaches are found near the fishing village of "Bodega Bay." It covers sixteen miles up the California northern coast offering almost a dozen beaches, where you will find sandy shores to swim, surf, and simply enjoy the ocean scenery. This guide to "Bodega Bay -Travel Tips for a Beautiful California Beach Shoreline Vacation" will not only take to the shore, but will guide your travels toward restaurants, cool photography, and shopping you (and your kids) will delight in. Bodega Bay is a great spot to watch whales migrate and frolic in the waves, enjoy the mountain views from horseback, or take a short drive for some fantastic Sonoma County wine tasting! So, head-out on your water vacation to Bodega Bay; not only for the wonderful cool water adventures, but for renewed family bonding you are sure to take home with you at the end of your travels!

Portuguese Beach, at Bodega Bay is a great Summer Shoreline Travel Adventure Spot!
Portuguese Beach, at Bodega Bay is a great Summer Shoreline Travel Adventure Spot! | Source

Favorite Destination at Bodega Bay - Portuguese Beach

When you land at Bodega Bay you will first find a vast promontory overlooking the open sea. Plenty of rangers and docent volunteers are on hand during whale-watching season to lead you on the 1.4 mile bluff trail and to answer all of your questions. The walk is a moderate workout but is also very beautiful any time of the year. I do recommend comfortable shoes for this venture, flip-flops are best left at the car during your jaunt, as good support works best here. Along your hike, you are likely to be accompanied by a few feathered and even furry friends including; pelicans, oyster-catchers, ground squirrels and sometimes even a deer or two. So don't get caught without your camera or video gear! One thing to keep clearly in your mind is that a good portion of this narrow trail runs along the very edge of the high cliffs; so holding the hand of your tiny hiking companions is highly recommended at all times!


A markerBodega Bay, California -
Bodega Bay, CA, USA
get directions

Start at the Head of Bodega Bay (ages 5 and up) A hiking trail! Look for west side harbor entrance; parking at the end of Westside Road;(707)875-3483

Portuguese Beach

After your bracing hike, you may want to venture over to Portuguese Beach, where you and the family can enjoy a beach shore picnic and take-in the vast pacific ocean at its very best. You will find this favorite beach of locals between Salmon Creek Beach and Wright's Beach on Highway 1. It has a secluded cove-like crest of beach that offers some of the best rock and surf fishing. Plenty of soft sandy space and sunshine is certain to share your visit to Bodega Bays Portuguese Beach. Restroom facilities are right on the beach for your convenience and a clean level parking lot sits beside and above this beautiful cliff lined beach.

Sea birds fly above, making for some awesome shots at Bodega Bay!
Sea birds fly above, making for some awesome shots at Bodega Bay! | Source


As a photographer, I am constantly looking for the best places to take great pictures like no one else has. I often pack a picnic lunch and head for one of my favorite places to take pictures of soaring seagulls; which is right off of the parking lot at Bodega Bays Portuguese Beach. You will find a bit of cliff near the parking lot that is high above the crescent-shaped Beach. Standing up here makes for outstanding pictures of sea birds as they gently glide by, some appearing like they are winging directly over the ocean depending on the angle of the sea within your shot. You can capture pictures of these soaring wing-spread gulls from above like nowhere else! Gulls are in abundance here, so the opportunity for outstanding photography is available every day of the week at Bodega Bay!

Chanslor Guest Ranch offers shorelilne horseback riding and much more!
Chanslor Guest Ranch offers shorelilne horseback riding and much more! | Source

Taking Bodega Bay by Horseback!

Chanslor Guest Ranch

Whether your goal is to find a fun pony ride for the kids or head-out on the trail with your sweety, Chanslor Guest Ranch is the answer. Nothing is more soothing and keeps you in touch with nature as a guided horseback ride on the beaches by Bodega Bay! Imagine the swaying stride of a beautiful gentle giant as you wonder along the bluffs, and through wetlands. Plus, you can keep the kids (and your inner child) jumping with Bodega Bay joy on the Chanslor hay wagon and barbecue ride! Even better is that this guest ranch offers special rides for kids ages four and up on gentler horses, ponies, and even Donkeys!

Chanslor Guest Ranch

CALL - (707)875-3333


  • Guided horseback beach tours and Hay rides
  • Horseback rides, pony rides, and room rates

Chanslor Guest Ranch

A marker2660 Highway 1, California -
2660 Hwy 1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
get directions

Chanslor Guest Ranch - Guided Horseback Beach tours, Hay Rides, BBQs, and Lodging.

Sandpiper Dockside Cafe is the best kept secret in Bodega Bay!
Sandpiper Dockside Cafe is the best kept secret in Bodega Bay! | Source

Best Kept Secret in Bodega Bay - Sandpiper Dockside Cafe

SANDPIPER DOCKSIDE CAFE - This little gem is hidden below the main Bodega Bay road. These guys feature homemade everything: eggs with home-fries, huevos rancheros, and crab omelets for breakfast, and fresh seafood, burgers, cioppino, clam chowder, and much more food for lunch and dinner! The prices keep your vacation within budget while the quality of the food makes you the family vacation hero!

Address: Sandpiper Dockside Cafe - 1410 Bay Flat Road, Bodega Bay, CA.

Phone: (707) 875-2278


  • SEAWEED CAFE - 1580 Eastshore Road, Bodega Bay, CA (707) 2700 : Upscale, organic "slow food" California Cuisine. Dinner Thursday -Sunday and Sunday Brunch. White tablecloths, fireplace, and sea views. Even as the ambiance is very warm and friendly, you can count on the food being spectacular! (Picky young eaters may not appreciate the sophisticated menu.) Moderate to high prices.
  • SPUD POINT CRAB COMPANY - 1860 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay, CA (707) 875-9472 : Breakfast sandwiches, and for lunch, tri-tip and crab and shrimp sandwiches, chowder, chili, and hot dogs. Watch from the outdoor tables as boating and dock activities abound. Try some of the Anello family Home-smoked salmon and fresh crab! Low to moderate prices - great for the kids!
  • THE TIDES WHARF AND RESTAURANT - 835 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, CA (707) 875-2751. Right on the wharf, views of the bay and boat action; a sunny cafe deck for light meals, snacks, and drinks. This location is a number of stops in one as they offer a souvenir shop; gourmet food emporium and oyster bar; and a large, attractive restaurant which serves GREAT seasonal fresh seafood. (Every table has a view, while the seals have a view of you!) Open for three meals every day. Low to moderate prices.

A Bodega Bay Shorline Vacation has everything your family can imagine!
A Bodega Bay Shorline Vacation has everything your family can imagine! | Source

The Best Bodega Bay Shopping You and the Kids will Enjoy!

Now that you've had a little something to eat, it's time for some Bodega Bay shopping! These great places will please your pocketbook as well as keep the kids engaged in the activities these shops can supply!

CANDY AND KITES: 1425 Highway 1, Bidaga Bay, CA (707) 875-3777 This is actually one of the places you must stop at "Before" hitting the sand at Bodega Bay. You will find a variety of colorful kites and shorline games for the beach, plus air toys, books, saltwater taffy, and (yum) chocolates! Kite festivals in Bodega Bay take place in April and July annually.

BODEGA BAY GIFTS: Ocean View Center, 2001 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, CA (707) 875-2449. This is a giant inventory of t-shirts, sweats, shells and shell jewelry, games, local art, and just really cool stuff.

Bodega Bay, Seal Island - Aboalone Free-diving Video!

An Important "Bodega Bay Surf Shack" Shopping Tip

Before heading out to greet adventure square in the eye, try stopping in at Bodega Bay Surf Shack, located at the Pelican Plaza.This is your headquarters for rentals, maps, and advice on Bodega Bay biking, beach-combing, kayaking, surfing, and windsurfing. Lessons and guided tours are available; beachwear and gear can also be found here. You should swing by their website for fascinating satellite reports, maps, and forecast about waves and weather.

Web Site:

CAll: (707) 875-3944


Standard mail:
Bodega Bay Surf Shack
P.O. Box 183
Bodega Bay, CA, 94923

Winding-Up Our Bodega Bay Travel Tips

Choosing a California Bodega Bay Summer Shoreline Vacation is sure to meet all of your expectations and possibly a few more. The sunny beaches, fun Photo opportunities, the water adventures in the warm waves, dining on fresh seafood, and shopping for fun activity souvenirs all combine to take you on an unforgettable travel adventure you will treasure for decades! Get to know your family and yourself on a beautiful Bodega Bay Beach vacation this year!

Now go have some wet summer fun!


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Comments for "Bodega Bay - Travel Tips for a Beautiful California Beach Summer Shoreline Vacation"

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  • travelholidays profile image

    travelholidays 5 years ago from India

    Wow really informative hub. Lot of information here about this fantastic beach. I like this SUN/ MOON table :)

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    AllSuretyBonds~ I really enjoy southern Calif as well. San Diego has some pretty nice places to visit, and you just can't beat Laguna Beach! I hope you get a chance to visit Bodega Bay, you won't regret it one bit! Thanks for the comments.



  • AllSuretyBonds profile image

    AllSuretyBonds 6 years ago

    I have been to California many times but I have only been to the Southern California and it is one of my favorite places to vacation. After reading and watching the article and video you posted it has made me interested in going to Northern California as well. It looks beautiful.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Wildiris~Salmon Creek is a really nice area also, along with several beaches along that stretch of Calif coastline. As for the Abalone diving, I've been doing this since I was in my teens--and that's been more than 3 decades! My father is a Master Diver out of Newport and has taught all 4 of his kids the skills and techniques to the free dive, snorkel, and scuba (and tending). But, as you mention Abalone diving does take some know-how and making sure you know the regulations is vital. Several years back, Catalina was the big spot for these gems, not so much anymore as they have been pretty much anyalated. This is why I was veg on the location of the Abs within the article. ;) Thanks for the link, I don't usually allow these (for obvious reasons) but in your case it can stay. Thank you for your comments.


  • profile image

    WildIris 6 years ago

    Salmon Creek Beach is a beautiful beach (See map above). I don't know about abalone diving at Bodega. Most divers go further north. Not a sport for those who do not know what they're doing.

    Bodega Bay area calendar of events:

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Gordon~ I am very flattered that you enjoyed the hub. I too am a very "fishing" minded person. I could fish everyday of the year! The funny thing is my favorite fish to fight is not those big dep sea marvels, but rather the little BlueGill (sunfish). Nothing puts up as grand of a fight pound for pound! I wish you were closer to Bodega Bay, you might just find the area to be a real fisherman's dream!

    Big HubHugs!


  • Gordon Hamilton profile image

    Gordon Hamilton 6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

    K9, I absolutely love the sea and beaches. All too often, however, I am blinded to what else they can offer by wondering how well they fish and considering other technical fishing aspects. I really perked up when I read "fishing village" in the first paragraph! :)

    I am really glad I read this page, however, as it is a wonderful guide and wake up for me that beaches are more than for us fishermen. I'm only sorry that I'm so far away and can't visit.

    Great Hub.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    cardelean~ Well, if you make it to Cali, after heading over to Bodega Bay you can join Denise Handlon and me on an abalone excursion! Thank you so much for the warm remarks, I am flattered by your kindness and support.



  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Just Ask Susan~ I really like the name of the bay as well. I am sure you will find a stop at Bodega Bay one to remember if you make it to the Cali coast again! I am quite grateful for your comments!



  • cardelean profile image

    cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

    Wow! No wonder you suggested this topic for the weekly inspiration. I think that I would have if I had a hub like this up my sleeve. This was awesome in every way! Great details, explanations, well laid out and fantastic photos. If I ever make it to California, this is on my list!

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    I can smell the salt air now. Great hub K9. I have driven up and down the coast line a few times many years ago but next time I do the trip I will definitively stop in Bodega Bay. What a cool name that is.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Simone~ LOL! Funny you should pick-up on the Hitchcock connection to Bodega Bay; I was attempting to avoid it. ;) Like you, the idea simply freaks me out a bit... But once I saw the sea gulls gliding by I turned my attention to the great pictures their flight might provide. Besides, I had my dog with me and he is a "bird Dog" so his job was to keep my eyeballs looking through my camera lens and out of the bird beaks! Thankfully, he was successful.

    Give Bodega Bay a try, you will be amazed by the food, shopping and of course the photo-ops! Thank you for the comments, your support is very appreciated Simone!

    Hub Hugs~


  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Paradise7~ Welcome along for the Bodega Bay ride! The Whale-watch is pretty exciting, you can actually see them breach and come up for air. The hike is a bit brisk, but well worth the energy. I so appreciate your comments, thanks for commenting here.



  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

    I'm so excited about this. Bodega Bay is SO CLOSE to where I live, but I have never really had the chance to spend much time there! Now I simply must. I love the idea of exploring it by horseback, and your gorgeous photos remind me of all the great fun I could have snapping pictures while I go along!

    .... though I think I'd be kind of freaked out by the fowl flying around... what with Bodega Bay's prominent role in The Birds ;)

    Fabulous Hub!! Now... must borrow a car....

  • Paradise7 profile image

    Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

    WOW, sign me up is right, especially for that whale-watch hike. You can actually see the whales from the Bay??!!! Wow and wow again.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Mrs. Menagerie~ You are too kind! Thank you for the very cool comments! And BTW, you are officially signed up!

    Thanks for the support!



  • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

    Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

    Wow...sign me up! Great, awesome, beautiful hub!

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Denise Handlon~ Awe shucks! You make me blush... Thanks so much for the warm comments Denise, it means the world. You should try to make it out-left for some Bodega Bay excitement, we can go do some abalone diving! I really appreciate your support my friend.

    HubHugs DH!


  • Denise Handlon profile image

    Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

    Wow! What a fabulous hub. I vote YOU as the winner for the next daily featured hub. :) I'm MAD at you! I really miss CA even more after watching this, LOL

    I've been to many parts of CA, but not this area-very cool. Voted it up and across-loved the video.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    FloraBreenRobison~ Thanks for your comments today. I appreciate that you feel the hub offers a good itinerary for anyone traveling to Bodega Bay. The photos were very fun to capture, I'm flattered you enjoyed them!



  • FloraBreenRobison profile image

    FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

    Never been to Bodega Bay, but you give a great itinerary for anyone planning to visit. beautiful photos.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Hound cat~ (love your Hub Name BTW) thanks for stopping by. The restaurants listed are each worth the time to visit! I hope you get another chance to make a trip to Beautiful Bodega Bay soon. I appreciate your comments!


  • Hound Cat profile image

    Hound Cat 6 years ago from Los Angeles area of Southern California USA

    Very beautiful vacation spot. And, it sounds like there are a great selection of excellent restaurants. A bus tour I went on in 2003 went right by Bodega Bay. We were traveling on Hwy 1. I would have really liked a quick visit since reading your hub.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

    Deborah-Diane~ What a beautiful location for a wedding! I find just about everything about Bodega Bay worth the trip. Thanks for your comments.


  • Deborah-Diane profile image

    Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

    We went to a wedding there. It was beautiful!


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