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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!


Bodega 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

2660 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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