Weather and Tides
Bodega Bay Tides
How to read the Tides Graphic
Bodega Bay Visitors Center
913 Highway 1
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Bodega Bay WebCam
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".
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).
Bodega Bay Detail Map
The most prominent geological feature of Bodega Bay is Bodega Head, a peninsula that forms the 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.
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 morning Services:
Jerry Lites - Pat Parks - Ruben Sanchez
Sunday Bible Study - 9:00am
Worship service - 10:00
Thursday evening AWANA Club - 6:00 - 7:30pm (A ministry for kids K-6 grades)
Friday evening - Christ's Ambassadors - 6:00 - 9:00pm (A ministry for Junior High & High School)
1320 Bayview Street, Bodega Bay
Saint Teresa of Avila Church
Saint Teresa of Avila ChurchSaint 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.
Weekday: Tues-Thrus 9am
17120 Bodega Highway, Bodega, CA
Pastor: Rev. Loren Allen
Fisherman's Chapel by the Bay
A non-denominational church that provides worship, fellowship and outreach to the community in the name of Jesus Christ. We acknowledge the Holy Scriptures for doctrine, behavior and faith. "Come follow me," Jesus said "and I will make you fishers of men."
Services are held every Sunday at 10:00am at the Grange Hall, 1370 Bodega Ave, Bodega Bay, CA.
Occidental Community Church
The Little Country Church With A Big Heart. Join us in Celebration (worship), Communication (education) and Community and Commission (our outreach).
Sunday Services at 10:30 am.
Second & Church Streets, Occidental
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
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 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!
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.
Whale Watching in Bodega Bay
Chowder Day in Bodega Bay is usually scheduled during the last weekend in January and will take you on a culinary tour of the town. You'll spend the day tasting chowder and meeting chefs. Visit all the stops and you're eligible for an entry in a prize drawing! Trust us, you won't leave Bodega Bay hungry!
Tickets are $15 and are available for purchase online here.
It can take 3-4 hours to taste all the chowder.
The $15 ticket you purchase is also the map and ballot - you pay one time, then take your ticket to each location for a taste of their chowder. Parking can be a challenge, so plan your route to maximize the number of locations. Utilize street parking where available.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHEN IN 2020
The Chowder Day Competition event is January 25th, 2020. There are 2 tasting groups/times: one at 10 am and a second one at 12/noon. The tasting ends at 3:00 pm.
You may taste chowder at each of the participating restaurants in any order you like.
Print your ticket at home & BRING WITH YOU on Chowder Day
Each person who bought the tickets will be emailed the map on Saturday, January 18th. Please print the map. If you don't have a way to print your map or forget yours, come by the Sonoma Coast Visitor Center at 913 Highway 1 and we will help you.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME ON CHOWDER DAY?
Your printed tickets and Chowder Day map. The map and further instructions will be mailed to the ticket purchaser only 1 week prior to event. Please forward email and information to all ticket holders.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHICH RESTAURANTS ARE PARTICIPATING?
Look for a participant sign at each restaurant. USE THE MAP TOO.
WHAT IF THE WEATHER IS POOR?
Rain or Shine, the tasting goes on! NO REFUNDS.
WHAT IF I BOUGHT TICKETS BUT CAN'T GO?
No refunds are provided. Tickets can only be resold at original purchase.
WHAT IF I LOST MY EMAIL OR MY TICKETS?
Contact Brown Paper Tickets Help Center and provide proof of purchase. (800) 838-3006
WHY ARE THERE TWO DIFFERENT START TIMES?
In order to accommodate ALL Chowder Day visitors, we split our guests into two groups. We ask that you observe the start time on your ticket.
CAN WE WALK FROM RESTAURANT TO RESTAURANT?
That is not recommended. Not only would it take you a long time, it's just not that safe to walk on Hwy 1. Some stops will have multiple locations. It's best to drive around the area.
CAN I BRING MY PETS?
Sure! You will be making a tour of the Sonoma Coast and Bodega Bay in your car. So feel free to bring your pet. Most of the stops you'll make are outside. But keep in mind that some of the competitors set up at businesses that might not be pet friendly. PLEASE CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR PETS.
WILL THERE BE AN INFORMATION BOOTH LOCATION?
Yes, it will be at the Bodega Bay Visitor's Center, 913 Highway 1, Bodega Bay and will be clearly marked from the road. The Information Booth Staff will be able to answer any questions you may have.
WHAT IF I LOSE MY TICKET OR WERE UNABLE TO PRINT IT?
In this hopefully rare instance, come to the Information Booth at the Visitor Center and we will assist you.
WHERE DO I PARK?
Each business will have parking available. There is no central spot to park and walk to each restaurant. We suggest carpooling to cut down on traffic and parking challenges.
BRING YOUR OWN SPOON
To cut down on waste, this year we ask that you please bring your own spoon. There will be a limited supply available from the competitors, so if you require a spoon, keep it for each tasting. We are also selling Chowder Day commemorative spoons at the Visitor Center (913 Highway 1).
VOTING INFORMATION WILL BE PROVIDED ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE
IF YOU STILL HAVE QUESTIONS AFTER READING THIS THOROUGHLY, YOU CAN EMAIL [email protected]
Weddings and Event Planning
Tia & Claire Studio
Tia and Claire StudioTia and Claire work unobtrusively to capture the story of your day as it unfolds, with all its gorgeous details, spontaneous quirkiness, and intimate moments. They get the cool stuff - as well as the classics, and all in a manner that feels comfortable, natural, and fun. Contact the Studio for more information.
Telephone: (415) 379-4574
Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa
Bodega Bay's only 4-diamond resort with 84 luxurious guest rooms and suites featuring ocean views and fireplaces. Enjoy the pool, whirlpool, sauna, fitness center, full service spa and complimentary wine hour. Five star dining at the Duck Club Restaurant. Meeting rooms accommodate 10-80. Group Retreat, Spa and Golf packages available.
Exchange vows at our seaside Lodge surrounded by mesmerizing views of dramatic Bodega Head, Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Choose from a selection of romantic indoor/outdoor venues for a chic modern ceremony or a vintage gala affair. Host your rehearsal dinner or celebration brunch at Drakes, where artisanal Sonoma Coast cuisine is proudly local, presented with flair and artfully prepared to make your guests swoon.
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.
707-875-3519 ext. 40
Firefly Fine Catering
Firefly Fine CateringCreative event planning, individually tailored menus and attention to every detail creates 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.
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, priest, rabbis, ships captains (over three miles out), judges, commissioner, and County Clerks may perform the ceremony.
Minister Jerry Lites
Bodega Bay Church
1320 Bay View
Minister Nancy Hargis
Special Event Locations
Bodega Bay Inn
1588 Eastshore Rd,
Bodega Bay 94923
Bodega Bay Grange Hall
1370 Bodega Ave
Bodega Bay 94923
Bodega Bay Lodge
103 Hwy One,
Bodega Bay 94923
Bodega Bay Church
1320 Bay View/Bodega Ave,
Bodega Bay 94923
The Secret Gardens
Corner East Shore and Bay Flat Roads
Bodega Bay 94923
Sonoma Coast Villa
16702 Hwy One
Ocean Cove Store & Campground
23125 Hwy 1
Fort Ross, CA
Inn at Occidental
3657 Church St.,
Ocean Song Farm & Wilderness Center
19100 Coleman Valley Rd.
Occidental CA 95465
Party, Tents & Event Rentals
115 Lystra Ct,
Santa Rosa CA 95403
Rio Nido Lodge at the Russian River
4444 Wood Rd
Guerneville CA 95466
Sea Ranch Lodge
P.O. Box 44,
Sea Ranch CA 95497
Sonoma Coast Villa
16702 Hwy One
Bodega CA 94922
Saint Teresa of Avila
17242 Bodega Highway
Saint Philip's Church
3730 Bohemian Highway
Occidental CA 95465
Call Mon-Fri (10am-12noon)
Getting Married in a California State Park
Valley Ford Hotel
14415 Coast Hwy 1
Valley Ford, CA
Tomales Town Hall
27150 Shoreline Highway,
Tomales CA 94971
Wildwood Retreat Center
Old Cazadero Rd
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