Not far from California wine country, nestled along the Northern California coast is Bodega Bay. While small in size, the beauty of the coastline draws many visitors every year. This rugged stretch of coastline begs to have you snap a few photos of waves crashing over the rocks and to wander the beach looking for that special seashell to take away with you.
The 5 hour drive from the Reno area is scenic and very stress free – it always surprises me how the journey to different and exciting locations are part of the adventure. Our route took us up on Highway 37 where there is a bird sanctuary with locations to stop and view wildlife. This location is easily accessed from Northern California cities. The weather here if often cool and foggy so be sure to bring the appropriate clothing. While the fog does burn off most days, be prepared for damp weather.
A word of warning for travelers who do not carry their accommodations on the back of their truck as we do…. Make sure to get reservations, this is a popular place to visit. The State of California is missing out on so much revenue because they have closed off the majority of camping sites in the winter. Very short sighted in this writers opinion. So we camped for the night at Porto Bodega RV Park and had a nice stay. Staff was pleasant and prices were very reasonable. The Park was clean and well maintained with showering and restroom facilities. Camping fees range from $28 to $43 depending on location and if you need hook-ups. There are stores fairly close by and you can have a campfire in your site which is one of our requirements.
Bodega Bay is the site of the first Russian buildings in California and was part of the Russian American Company. The buildings that were established here became a foundation for what was later to become Fort Ross. There is extensive information available regarding Fort Ross and the surrounding area online and is quite interesting. Off CA1, the bay opens up before you as you come over a rise and there are many opportunities to take photos along the coastline.
This small village of just over one thousand at the last census has several restaurants and various shops for the souvenir or two. The main employment of the town is fishing and crabbing. We saw many examples of the crabs along the beach as we walked at sunset. Also, not far from Bodega Bay is the town of Bodega where portions of the movie The Birds was filmed. Other Hollywood productions have been filmed in the area as well. The University of California operates the Bodega Marine Laboratory and offer tours on Friday afternoons. Check the website http://bml.ucdavis.edu/ for the latest details.
So what else is there to do in this little place? You can whale watch in the months of January through April as the whales migrate. You can visit Bodega Head State Park. While as noted before the camping is limited in the winter months, you can still go and get a day use pass. Another location to camp of just take a great walk/hike is Doran Beach. This camping facility is operated by Sonoma County and looked great - but alas was full when we arrived. There are a great many trails with beautiful views to be had for those who make the effort. Our time here was entirely too short - we will return to the northern coast of California again in the near future to soak in the beauty of this remarkable place.