12 Things to Do in Bodega Bay

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With the beach at your doorstep and food at your fingertips, there’s no shortage of things to do during your stay in Bodega Bay. Kayaking, exploring art studios, and strolling through the area’s natural beauty are just a few ways to spend a day in this spot. Here are a few of our favorites.

Chow Down

Image Source: Yelp
The Boat House
1445 N Hwy. 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-3495
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 103 reviews
Reservations: None taken

Fish and chips, barbecued oysters, and local favorites dot the menu at this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gem. Bring your own wine or beer if desired, order from the counter, and grab a spot on the covered patio, rain or shine. The Boat House may look a little weather-worn and rustic, but the sea-worthy theme that accompanies the fish and chips – a favorite – makes it all the more endearing.

Insider tip: After finishing your meal, sign up for a chartered fishing day trip right at the dock with the restaurant’s partners, Bodega Bay Sport Fishing.

Image Source: Yelp
Terrapin Creek
1580 Eastshore Rd.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-2700
TripAdvisor: 5 stars, 271 reviews
Reservations: Not required but recommended for same day reservations

Not quite on the bay, this French-feeling cafe dishes up rich, satisfying, and filling plates of local seafood and handmade ravioli from the comfort-inspired menu. You’ll likely see the young couple running the joint in the kitchen and dining room, chatting up diners.

Insider tip: It’s small, and open only four days a week, so reservations are a must.

Image Source: Yelp
Spud Point Crab Company
1860 Westshore Rd.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-9472
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 421 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Picnic tables, fresh crabs, and messy, delicious eating are all cornerstones of Spud Point Crab Company. Run by the Italian and sea-faring Anello family, the restaurant took home first prize for their chowder in the 2014 Bodega Bay Chowder Day competition. It likely has something to do with the family having their own fishing boats, moored just across the bay.

Insider tip: There is no inside dining, just tables outside, making it a bright choice for a sunny day.

Knock Back a Beer

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Russian River Brewing Co.
725 4th St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 545-2337
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 444 reviews
Reservations: Not required

To get a sense of the surrounding towns, and to kill a little time, drive for a half-hour until you hit Santa Rosa, where you’ll find Russian River Brewing Co. Originally owned by Korbel Champagne Cellars, the current owner, Vinnie Cilurzo, started experimenting with beer in wine barrels while working at Korbel Champagne Cellars. Think of this joint as brewery-meets-winery–not too casual, but none of the sterility of some wineries, either.

Insider tip: There’s plenty of food at the brew pub, including an awesome thin-crust pizza.

Image Source: Yelp
Stumptown Brewery
15045 River Rd.
Guerneville, CA 95446
(707) 869-0705
TripAdvisor: 4 stars, 84 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Named for the stumps left behind after a giant redwood forest was milled and cut, Stumptown sits in Guerneville, about 20 to 30 minutes from Bodega Bay, on the Russian River. Taps rotate, but there is always an assortment of Stumptown products and other local breweries’ beers.

Insider tip: The restaurant is cash only, so bring your money clip.

Sip a Glass of Wine

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Gourmet au Bay
913 Coast Hwy. 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-9875
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 58 reviews
Reservations: Not required

As the only waterside wine bar and bottle shop on the Sonoma Coast, Gourmet au Bay doesn’t disappoint. There’s a relaxing waterfront deck to sip a flight (available in red or white), and although there isn’t a huge menu, the generous portions of local cheese are all that’s needed to enjoy the stunning waters.

Insider tip: Ask about the free corkage coupon to redeem at local restaurants.

Image Source: Yelp
Joseph Phelps
12747 El Camino Bodega
Freestone, CA 95472
(707) 874-1010
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 2 reviews
Reservations: Not required

Vintner Joseph Phelps picked this spot six miles from the ocean as the perfect plot to set down his beloved Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines. There are 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay on the land today, available for your tasting pleasure in a small and large flight (not to mention full glasses of particular wines).

Insider tip: Try the Freestone Pinot–it’s a favorite among visitors.

Stroll Through an Art Gallery

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Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery
1785 Coast Hwy. 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-2911

With plenty of fine art focusing on historic California, guests to the Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery can get a sense of the past Bodega Bay, as well as the artistry present in the work at this gallery. Run by husband and wife team Dan Rohlfing and Linda Sorensen, guests are free to browse through works by nearly a hundred artists.

Insider tip: The gallery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Image Source: Yelp
Bodega Landmark Studio
17255 Bodega Hwy.
Bodega Bay, CA 94922
(707) 876-3477

Seascapes, landscapes, portraits, photography, and sculptures line the walls of this gallery, which features more than 50 artists rotating regularly. Works are available for purchase either on site or online—just ask owner Lorenzo for help.

Insider tip: There are paintings as well as pottery and jewelry for sale at the gallery, so don’t worry about leaving empty-handed.

Dip Your Feet in the Surf

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Chanslor Stables
2660 Coast Hwy. 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-2721
TripAdvisor: 5 stars; 27 reviews

A picturesque horseback ride on the beach doesn’t just happen in the movies. Chanslor Stables offers guided trail rides along the Sonoma Coast, or—if you’re adventurous—atop the canyon hills. Rides on the beach go right through the dunes and last about an hour and a half.

Insider tip: Don’t worry if you’ve never ridden—the guides are more than happy to show you the ropes..

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Bodega Bay Kayak
1580 East Shore Dr. (Blue Whale Shopping Center)
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 875-8899

Get an up-close glimpse of area wildlife from the seat of a kayak. No experience is necessary on these steady crafts; just rent a kayak and paddle from the Russian River to the estuaries of the inner and outer bay, and keep your fingers crossed–keep an eye to the skies, and pack a pair of binoculars to get glimpses of some splendid avian life. Guided tours are also available, which cover kayaking basics, information about local wildlife, and history of the area.

Insider tip: First-timers should opt for the Bay Tour, where seals, rays, and numerous bird species are on proud display in their natural habitats.

Image Source: Yelp
Doran Regional Park
209 Doran Beach Rd.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 565-2041

Whether your interests dwell with hiking, fishing, camping, or picnicking, create your own adventure at Doran Regional Park. Located directly on the bay, the park opens at 7 a.m. and offers a 2-mile stretch of beach, a rocky inlet that’s a great spot for fishing (there’s a fish-cleaning station onsite) and areas to set down your chairs and snack.

Insider tip: For longer stays, reserve a campsite ahead of time, although it isn’t always necessary.

For lovers of the great outdoors, Bodega Bay offers an array of wildlife and sweeping views of the ocean. For the foodie, there are loads of seafood-focused restaurants in both casual and elegant veins. For those who just want to relax, a stroll into town provides shops, galleries, and chances to interact with the folks who call Bodega Bay home. There’s more than surfing in this part of the world, so check it out.