Because Bodega Bay is on the Pacific Ocean, day-time temperatures are significantly cooler than the rest of Sonoma County. On a day when the high is 91 in Santa Rosa, the high for Bodega Bay is likely to be around 70 degrees; if the high for Santa Rosa is 75 degrees, it's going to be chilly in Bodega Bay. So dress appropriately, and don't be surprised if on a very hot summer weekend in Sonoma County, a lot of people (and cars) have headed for the most accessible beaches, in Bodega Bay and north to Jenner.
There is no public transportation in Bodega Bay, and Highway 1 - the primary road for the town, running parallel to the Pacific Ocean - is poorly suited for bicycles. You pretty much need a car to get around, as well as to get to the town.
Perhaps the single best reason to visit Bodega Bay is to hike a trail or spend time on a beach. Keep in mind that the water is cold all twelve months of the year; if you're going to spend any time in it, you'll want to wear a wetsuit.
The public beaches and hiking trails, beginning south of the town, and going north, include:
- Doran Regional Park
- Bodega Head - a good place for whale-watching, with a pleasant loop trail (Bodega Head Trail)
- Salmon Creek
- Seven small beaches - Miwok Beach to Gleason Beach
- Duncan's Landing
- Wright's Beach
- Shell Beach (the portion of the Kortum Trail from Shell Beach to Wright's Beach is 1.25 miles; also, from Shell Beach, the Pomo Canyon Trail goes inland)
- Blind Beach (the portion of the Kortum Trail from Blind Beach to Shell Beach is 2.5 miles)
- Goat Rock Beach - dogs not allowed
All of the above, except Doran Regional Park, are part of the Sonoma Coast State Park.
Other than beaches and hikes, there are a variety of things to do in Bodega Bay:
- Bodega Bay Seafood, Art, and Wine Festival. an annual festival for nearly two decades. It is usually held in late August and draws large crowds to the quiet coastal town to enjoy the local seafood and famous Northern Californian wines.
- Chanslor Ranch (Chanslor Ranch Nature Retreat), 2660 Highway 1, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A day use pass ($10 per person) provides access to the resort's 400 acres, for relaxation, hiking, a get-together with friends, mountain biking, kayaking, or yoga.
- Chanslor Ranch Horseback Riding, 2660 Highway 1, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 1/2, 1, and 1-1/2 hour rides, plus pony rides for those under six years old.
- Hagemann Ranch Rainbow Trout Fishing, 18797 Highway 1 (South of the town of Bodega Bay; north of the Highway 1 exit to the town of Bodega), ☏ . 9AM-4PM when open. The fishing pond on the ranch has been stocked with rainbow trout for over 35 years. Open March to October; weekends only from March through Memorial Day, then open daily through Labor Day; from Labor Day to the end of October, open weekends only.
- Horse N Around Trail Rides, 8797 S Highway 1, ☏ . Fri-Sun 9AM-5PM; other days by appointment. A western trail stable offering a wide variety of trails (ridge, beach, etc.) from 30 minutes up. Group rides start at $40 per rider; private rides are available.
- UC Bodega Marine Laboratory, 2099 Westshore Rd, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Every Friday from 2-4PM (Except holiday weekends). The drop-in tours include numerous marine aquarium displays, as well as information about the research done at the lab
- Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery, 1785 Coast Highway One, ☏ . 10AM-5PM Weds-Sun. Early California Art: Celebrating the art and history of California, focusing on traditional and impressionist paintings, generally between 1880 and 1950.
- Local Color Gallery, 1580 Eastshore Rd, ☏ . Daily 10AM-5PM. The gallery features original art by established Sonoma County artists as well as emerging talent. The gallery features paintings, fine art prints, photography, luminous fused glass, decorative pottery, handcrafted jewelry, and handpainted scarves.
- The Tides Wharf & Restaurant, 835 Bay Hwy (off of Highway 1), toll-free: . 7:30AM-10PM. Casual seafood restaurant with big windows overlooking Bodega Bay, plus a gift shop & fish market.
- Gourmet au Bay, 1412 Bay Flat Rd, ☏ . M, Th, F noon to 8 p.m.; Tue-Thu noon to 6 p.m.; Sat Sun 11:30 a.m to 8 p.m.. Wine bar and waterfront deck, offering wood-fired cuisine.