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Family Road Trip to Bodega Bay

Updated on March 1, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna loves to travel and share cool places to visit so others can have a wonderful, if not better, time than she did.

Family Road Trip

My family took a road trip to Bodega Bay. We started our three-day trip near Point Reyes for a hike on the Alamere Falls trail because the family road trip was my idea. I want to hike the trail because heard from several friends it's a 360 view of breathtaking beauty. The trail follows the coastal range of views of the blue majestic waters of the Pacific Ocean ending at Wildcat beach and a view of the Alamere Falls.


Alamere Falls is a unique waterfall in Point Reyes National Seashore because it is a tidefall, a waterfall that flows directly into the ocean. It is one of only two in the area, the other being McWay Falls in Big Sur.

Alamere Falls, California:
Alamere Falls, California 94924, USA

get directions

Bodega Bay, California:
Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA

get directions


The spring season made Alamere Falls trail one of the best places to hike in the US. The trail abundant with wildflowers of violet purples, reviving whites, bright oranges, and yellows surrounded by lush greens. For a Monday and the beginning of spring break, the 26-mile round trip trail was crowded, particularly where we descended down to the beach and visited falls flowing into the ocean. Only the descent down to the beach was the hardest hike of the trail. Coming back up was difficult but short. The rest of the trail is fairly level with some noticeable uphill grades.

With the crowds came litter, radios, boomboxes, and portable speakers. I was shocked at the flagrant careless regard for nature some of the hikers displayed. All of which are prohibited on the trail to maintain the wilderness character. I am asking hikers to please follow the rules. Wilderness is a haven—protected and managed to allow for relaxation, resourcefulness, occasions for retreat, refuge, and natural quiet.

My daughter told me that I didn't tell her it was a 26-mile hike.
My daughter told me that I didn't tell her it was a 26-mile hike.

After the long hike, we drove north for about 45 miles where I secured two nights at Bodega Harbor Inn. I found the inn through It was a simple and easy process to reserve a room. I called the inn twice before we left for our trip asking questions about the room and location. The woman on phone was very pleasant, wanting to be helpful, and rest any of my worries or concerns. The woman’s friendliness and understanding put me at east. I knew I had picked a perfect place for my family to stay.

The drive to Bodega Bay was uneventful due to the fact we just hike 26 miles. I probably would have noticed more points of interest, but all I cared about was getting to our lodging for the next two nights. Once we arrived at the inn, the woman at the hotel desk came across so friendly and caring. I wish I could remember her name. Throughout our stay, she continued going above and beyond customer service. I will tell you more about that later.

So, here I was at the check-in desk, exhausted from the hike and drive, and I simply I could not understand the charges. She was so patient with me that I finally understood them. I was embarrassed but her kindness removed any self-consciousness. She proceeded to tell us the best place to eat dinner that night, and the next night. I told her we wanted to go on a hike without a lot of people but not too strenuous. She showed me on a local map with a nice simple hike in the morning that was only 8 miles, away from the beaches with a 360-panorama view of the ocean and the countryside.

We get the keys to our cute two-bedroom room with a nice front room that overlooks the bay. I am not overly impressed but the place did work for my family. It even has a wood burning stove. We are starved, so we all quickly shower and head over to the recommend Lucas Wharf Restaurant.

Bodega Harbor Inn

Bodega Bay Restaurants

It’s a Monday night, and right away, we are seated at a table by a window with a panorama view of Bodega Bay. I am happy. I see quite a few locals occupying the tables. Deciding out of all the Bodega Bay restaurants, we picked the best one for dinner.

That's a good sign that we are at the right place. Dinner was tasty, relaxing with decent service. While we ate, we watched local fisherman bring in the crab. It was entertaining watching the men pick up the crabs and skillfully avoid getting pinched by their claws.

The Birds

With my belly full and my family asking me about the rest of our trip, I shared some history about Bodega Bay. We talked about Bodega Bay weather being so nice and pleasant.

I enlighted my family on how it is famous for being the location where Alfred Hitchcock filmed scenes for his movie The Birds starring Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, and Susanne Pleshette. I get this bright idea. “Let’s watch The Birds when we get back to the inn.”

My daughter hasn’t seen it yet and brightens up on my idea. We talk about the shelves of DVDs in the inn’s reception area. “They must have a copy of The Birds.”

We head back to our room and stop at the front desk. Sure enough, they have a copy of The Birds. We head back to our room pop in the DVD player and watch a great movie that takes place in Bodega Bay. After the movie, we all slept completely through the night. Not a sound could be heard from the inn.


The Roadhouse

We woke the next day in search of a decent coffee shop. We found Roadhouse off Highway 1. We enter the establishment where six fishermen sat in eclectic chairs resembling several different styles of kitchens. They seemed surprised to see us as did the older gentleman behind the barista machine.

The place wasn’t dirty and wasn’t clean but it definitely was cluttered with unattended game boxes, shelve of business cards and fliers hocking real estate, yoga classes, and therapeutic massages. Behind all the clutter was an autograph picture of Tippi Hedren in a scene from The Birds. The autograph was addressed to John.

The fishermen went back to their conversation about an engine one of the fisherman was trying to repair. We ordered our drinks and was surprised that the place had almond milk. The older gentleman making our drinks seemed surprised as well. He really didn’t look like someone who worked in a coffee shop. He looked more like he belonged to the group of fishermen sitting in the kitchen chairs or out on the bay with his fishing boat. The coffee drinks were better than average, and I was so happy to have caffeine coursing through my veins

Chris F. on Yelp
Chris F. on Yelp

What to Do in Bodega Bay

We left with our drinks and walked a short block reading the closed signs, “Open Thursday – Monday,” which meant the town was going to be quiet during our stay. I later discovered that most of the businesses were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

We had a simple breakfast and hit the Red Hill trail starting from Shell Beach off Highway 1.


Bodega Bay and Beyond

The beginning of the trail had a steep grade but nothing like the day before when we descended down to Wildcat beach and hiked back up to the main trail at Alamere Falls.

No, this was an easy hike with no one but my family on the trail. We did see a couple of people but it was incidental. We saw quail, wildflowers, and came to a refreshing group of trees. From there, we wound around and came back down the trail and savored the panorama view of the hillsides and coastal beaches.


River's End

We spent the afternoon relaxing and reading near the inn and headed to the next recommended place to have dinner, River’s End in Jenner. On Tuesday night, the restaurant offers a half off special, which the head chef prepares for the staff and locals. The meal was delicious and the service five-star. Our table had a view of the Russian River opening into the Pacific Ocean with an unbelievable sunset.

It was hard to leave Jenner but we knew we had something special waiting for us at the inn. The very sweet and accommodating woman behind the desk loaned us her own personal DVD of Goonies, which was also filmed in Bodega Bay. None of us had seen the movie before, and it was a fun, silly movie to watch starring Josh Brolin and Sean Austin.

Schoolhouse Scene from The Birds

The next day we decided to be tourists, so we visited taffy shops and other knick-knack shops. We even visit places where The Birds was filmed. The only place that is worth mentioning is the schoolhouse where the famous scene of the kids running from the school while the blackbirds attacked them.

Film Set

Since we just watched the movie a couple of nights ago, visiting the Potter Schoolhouse was very exciting with a bit of a fandom flavor to it. The building is privately owned and was completely remodeled by the family that purchased the school. It now looks like a place to hold special events such as weddings or school functions.


It is obvious why Hitchcock chose this schoolhouse as the setting of the blackbird attack on the school children. The building is tall and is built on a sloping hill, kind of haunting in a way. As a sidebar, I am curious how Tippi Hedren felt about running downhill in high heels and wearing a skirt suit.

What to do in Bodega Bay

The schoolhouse visit was our last excursion to Bodega Bay. We were packed and headed back home with a stop in Napa Valley for lunch. The lunch was uneventful so I won’t go into details. All in all, the trip to Point Reyes and up to Bodega Bay turned out to be one of the best trips with my family.

© 2017 Kenna McHugh


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