Visitor Info

On this page, we’re going to give you much of the information you need to make the most of your visit to Bodega Bay area. There is some much going on in Bodega Bay and our goal is to help you enjoy it to the fullest.

Weather and Tides

Bodega Bay Visitors Center

913 Highway 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

(707) 377-4459

Current Temperature

Bodega Bay Tides

 

How to read the Tides Graphic

Bodega Bay Tides

Bodega Bay Area History 200 Years of Change

Until the Fall of 1775, the Miwok and Pomo Indians lived peacefully in the coastal mountains and valleys of what we now call Sonoma County. Their lifestyle revolved around the seasons, hunting and gathering from the land and harvesting the sea and rivers. Little changed over hundreds of years until the first white sails were spotted off the coast.

The Spanish sloop, Sonora, carried Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra Mollineda and a group of explorers to anchorage at the mouth of Tomales Bay at the southern end of Bodega Bay according to a journal kept by a member of the company.

Slowly moving north from Mexico since the mid-1500s, the Spanish claimed vast areas of land for Spain and sent back tales of the glory of California. This attracted explorers from other countries throughout the world.

But it wasn’t until the early 1800s that white settlements began to spring up along the coast. By 1812, Russian fur traders were looking for new sources of otters and seals and came south in search of better food supplies for their northern settlements. With the help of local Indians, they built Fort Ross 24 miles north of Bodega Bay.

By the mid-1800s, Mexico had gained independence from Spain and in the process, granted the land to Mexican citizens and soldiers. General Vallejo and his family were among those who established hundreds of thousands of acres of ranchos along the coast and inland valleys in what is now much of Sonoma County.

One of the settlers was Captain Stephen Smith who married a Peruvian, Manuela Torres, and became a Mexican citizen in order to receive a land grant. Together they established Rancho Bodega bordered by the Russian River to the north and Estero Americano to the south, a large portion of the Bodega Bay Area. Firman Camelot founded the town of “Bay” in the late 1800s, which later changed its name to Bodega Bay.

The tiny town of Bodega shares the mysterious source of its name with Bodega Bay. Here Captain Smith built the first steam-powered saw mill in California with parts he brought by ship. Bodega suited him well with its abundant source of wood and nearby bay for shipping. The town grew to its largest size around the turn of the century then diminished to its current population of under 100.

In 1964 PG&E abandoned its plans to build a nuclear power plant on Bodega Head. The PG&E project at Bodega Head was the focus of a battle that helped galvanize modern environmentalism in California.

In more modern times, Bodega Bay become known around the world as the setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.

Big Hole
The “Big Hole” dug by PG&E in preparation for building a nuclear power plant at Bodega Head. The construction was abandoned in 1964.
Big Hole Map of Bodega Bay
Map showing the proximity of the proposed PG&E nuclear power plant to the San Andreas Fault.
Big Hole
Along with Bodega Bay activist Hazel Mitchell, David Pesonen (right) celebrates PG&E’s1964 decision to give up on the utility’s planned Atomic Park at Bodega Bay. Credit Sonoma County Museum for these images.

Maps

Map Overview

Bodega Bay Area Overview Map

Bodega Bay is located on the Pacific Coast just 68 miles North of San Francisco.

From San Francisco: Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and take 101 North to Petaluma. Take the East Washington Street Exit and follow the signs 30 miles West to Bodega Bay

From Santa Rosa: Take 101 to Hwy 12 West. Exit through Sebastopol until it becomes Bodega Hwy to Coast Hwy 1 (23 miles) Turn right onto Hwy 1 to Bodega Bay (5 miles).

Detailed Map

Bodega Bay Detail Map

The most prominent geological feature of Bodega Bay is Bodega Head, a peninsula that forms the protective arm between the ocean and the bay. The San Andreas fault runs right through it, separating steep rocky bluffs from sandy dunes. Atop the bluffs, grasslands rise more gently to the coastal ridges. The Head provides a dramatic vista and the ideal place to watch whales migrate south twice yearly in January/February and April/May.

Doran Park is a strip of beach formed by the currents of Bodega Bay. The ocean side is ideal for water sports such as surfing and body boarding while the harbor side offers a salt marsh which is a habitat for a variety of birds. At the end of Doran Beach is the protected entrance to the harbor where the fog horn keeps a constant watch.

Churches

Bodega Bay Church

Bodega Bay Church

Come and worship Christ with us! You’ll meet friendly people of all ages from Bodega Bay, Dillon Beach, Valley Ford, Freestone, Jenner, and beyond.

Sunday Bible Study – 9:00 am – Currently studying the book of Mark – Led by Arden Lites
Sunday Worship Service – 10:00 am – Coffee & refreshments are served at the conclusion of the service

Wednesday evening – 7:00 pm – Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

​Thursday evening – 7:00 pm – Group prayer meeting. Everyone is welcome!

Potluck – 1st Sunday of each month after worship service – Please join us!

Communion – 1st Sunday each month

1320 Bay View St.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Website

Saint Teresa of Avila Church

Saint Teresa of Avila Church

Saint Teresa of Avila Church is a Roman Catholic church in Bodega, California. The white, wooden church with a steeple sits on a hilltop above the small, rural town of Bodega in Northern California. The church was built by shipbuilders in 1859 on land donated by Jasper O’Farrell and named after St. Teresa of Avila by local Spanish and Portuguese immigrants. Archbishop Alemany dedicated the church on June 2, 1861. The church is still in use today and is the oldest church in continuous use in Sonoma County.

Mass Schedule
Saturday: 5pm
Sunday: 9:30 am
Weekday: Tues-Thurs 9 am

17120 Bodega Highway
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Website

Fisherman's Chapel by the Bay

Fisherman's Chapel by the Bay

Fisherman’s Chapel by the Bay is a non-denominational church that provides worship, fellowship and outreach to the community. Founded in 1984 Fisherman’s Chapel, is an inclusive, non-denominational fellowship that strives to build its identity around Jesus Christ in whose name we gather. Sunday worship is the centerpiece of congregational life, with an order of service drawing on elements commonly found in traditional Protestant worship.

Bodega Bay Grange Hall
1370 Bodega Avenue
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Website

Occidental Community Church

Occidental Community Church

Occidental Community Church, in its current form, has been ministering to the Occidental area since the early 1970s, but its roots go all the way back to the 1870s. We welcome you to come and visit us!

3637 Church Street
Occidental, CA 95465

Website

Whale Migration

Whale Migration

Whale Migration Bodega Bay

Giants Migrate Along the Sonoma Coast at Bodega Bay

The epic migration of whales peaks from January through May, but is visible during much of the year. Each year gray and blue whales travel south from the Chukchi Sea near Alaska and down to Baja California for winter, then back north for the summer feeding season. A great vantage point is the Ocean Overlook at Bodega Head (see directions below), or various whale-watching boat trips launching from the local area.

Stewards of the Coast Whale Watching

Stewards of the Coast Whale Watching

Whale Watch began in as a response to the public’s growing concern and awareness of the fragile relationship with the dwindling population of remaining whales and also as a celebration of one of nature’s grand events – the annual migration of the Pacific gray whale.

The whales begin their journey at their summer feeding grounds off Arctic waters of the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. They travel down along the Pacific Coast to their winter calving lagoons off Baja California, Mexico. The whales return after breeding or with their young via the same route, usually closer to shore with the mothers on the outside and the calves closer inland for protection.

Whale Watching in Sonoma County

Whale Watching in Sonoma County

Whale watching in Sonoma County California is very popular because there are so many easily accessible prominent high points from which to watch for whales. From Bodega Bay north, Highway 101 tightly hugs the shoreline and provides many handy pull-outs. The highway takes you straight through several parks as well including several county parks around Bodega Bay, Sonoma Coast State Park, Fort Ross State Historic Park, Salt Point State Park, and the Kruse Rhododendron State Preserve. No one is allowed to build on the west side of the highway so the view is totally unobstructed and freely accessible to the public!
Bodega Head

Gray Whale Watching - The #1 Spot

The number one spot for watching gray whales in Sonoma County has to be Bodega Head, the headland associated with Bodega Bay. Because of the topography of the land, this is the point where the gray whales tend to come the closest to shore. You can often watch the calves interacting with their Mothers which can lead to lots of exclamatory remarks if you happen to be standing in a crowd which can certainly happen on the weekends when hundreds of people migrate to this spot to watch the whales.

Weddings and Event Planning

The Lodge at Bodega Bay

For storybook weddings that pair Northern California’s coastal beauty with a stunning selection of unique wedding venues, follow your heart to The Lodge at Bodega Bay. Our boutique hideaway provides the perfect setting for every event, from the rehearsal dinner to the farewell brunch, surrounded by a mesmerizing backdrop at the edge of the ocean.

103 Coast Highway 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

(888) 875-3525
(707) 875-3525

lodgeatbodegabay.com

 

Lodge at Bodega Bay Weddings
Bodega Bay Yacht Club

Bodega Harbour Yacht Club

Bodega Harbour Yacht Club For larger parties, our Yacht Club is the perfect place for weddings, private parties, and large banquet functions. Located right on the Bay, a large rock fireplace adds ambiance to the lower level of the Yacht Club.

Website

Firefly Fine Catering

Firefly Fine Catering

Creative event planning, individually tailored menus, and attention to every detail create a complete experience for our clients. With almost twenty years of event planning history and a passion for the business, our planners will create the perfect event for your wedding, corporate event, or special occasion. Customized menus feature the finest local foods with creative preparations in a variety of cuisines. Our experienced service staff is hand-picked to provide you and your guests with impeccable service. Enjoy.

Website

Marriage Certificate

Marriage Licenses

To be married in California you must have a California marriage license. You may obtain your license in any county throughout California. To obtain a license in Sonoma County, contact the County Clerk at (707) 565-3800.

The minimum age for a marriage license in California is 18; individuals under 18 must have consent from at least one parent or legal guardian and permission from a California Superior Court judge to marry. Both partners must be present when filing for an application to marry. Photo identification is required from each partner. There is no residency of California requirement. All marriage licenses are valid for 90 days prior to the wedding. Blood tests are no longer required. Costs vary by county but average $60-$70 and may be paid by cash or travelers check. If either party has been divorced within six months, final divorce decrees are required. Ordained ministers, priests, rabbis, ship captains (over three miles out), judges, commissioners, and County Clerks may perform the ceremony.

Judith Iam

Judith Iam

Wedding Officiant
Priestess of Love

Website

Minister Jerry Lites

Minister Jerry Lites

Bodega Bay Church
1320 Bay View St.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Website

Kevin Tripp Weddings

Kevin Tripp Weddings

Respect and tradition are important in every wedding ceremony. I work to ensure that your beliefs and customs are honored. All of my services are tailored to your wishes and needs.

Website

Special Event Locations

Bodega Bay Inn

Bodega Bay Inn

This great inn has been in the same location for over 20 years overlooking beautiful Bodega Bay. Local talent is always featured along with nationally recognized artists in their small gallery and upstairs from the gallery are guest rooms. The spacious surroundings are complimented with king sized beds and water views. Please click the link below to see current room rates and availability at the Bodega Bay Inn.

1588 East Shore Rd.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

(707) 875-3388

info@bodegabayinn.com
bodegabayinn.com

Lodge at Bodega Bay

The Lodge at Bodega Bay

Located on eight acres of beautifully landscaped grounds that overlook Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Every guest room offers spectacular views, a wood-burning fireplace, and a private balcony or patio. Guests enjoy the Lodge’s Drakes Sonoma Coast restaurant that showcases award-winning, regional cuisine and offers commanding ocean views in an elegant setting.

103 Coast Highway 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

(888) 875-3525
(707) 875-3525

reservations@lodgeatbodegabay.com
lodgeatbodegabay.com

Bodega-Bay-Grange

Bodega Bay Grange Hall

1370 Bodega Ave
Bodega Bay 94923

Website

Bodega Bay Church

Bodega Bay Church

1320 Bay View St.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Website

Bodega Bay Church

Bodega Bay Harbour Yacht Club

Smith Bros. Road
Bodega Bay 94923

Website

The Secret Gardens

The Secret Gardens

Corner East Shore and Bay Flat Roads
Bodega Bay 94923

Website

Sonoma Coast Villa

Sonoma Coast Villa

16702 Hwy One
Bodega 94922

Website

Saint Teresa of Avila Church

Saint Teresa of Avila Church

17120 Bodega Highway
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Website

Ocean Cove Store & Campground

Ocean Cove Store & Campground

23125 Hwy 1
Fort Ross, CA

Website

Inn At Occidental

Inn at Occidental

3657 Church St.,
Occidental 95465

Website

Ocean Song Farm & Wilderness Center

Ocean Song Farm & Wilderness Center

19100 Coleman Valley Rd.
Occidental CA 95465

Website

Party, Tents & Event Rentals

Party, Tents & Event Rentals

115 Lystra Ct,
Santa Rosa CA 95403

Website

Nido Lodge at the Russian River

Nido Lodge at the Russian River

4444 Wood Rd
Guerneville CA 95466

Website

Sea Ranch Lodge

Sea Ranch Lodge

P.O. Box 44,
Sea Ranch CA 95497

Website

Saint Philip's Church

Saint Philip's Church

3730 Bohemian Highway
Occidental CA 95465

Website

Valley Ford Hotel

Valley Ford Hotel

14415 Shoreline Highway
Valley Ford, CA, 94972

Website

Tomales Town Hall

Tomales Town Hall

27150 Shoreline Highway,
Tomales CA 94971

Website

Wildwood Retreat Center

Wildwood Retreat Center

Old Cazadero Rd
Guerneville CA 95446

Website

Videos

Featuring: Bodega Bay Surf Shack, Candy and Kites, Bodega Heritage Gallery, Gourmet Au Bay, Bodega Bay Lodge
Featuring: Ren Brown Gallery, Bodega Bay Inn, Inn at the Tides, Bodega Bay and Beyond – Vacation Rentals, Sonoma Coast Living – Real Estate