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Five Ways to Spend a Weekend in Bodega Bay

A peaceful retreat not so far from city life. 

Bodega Beach

Bodega Beach 


Tourists? Gone. Fog? Virtually nonexistent. Wind? Mellow. It may seem counterintuitive, but winter can often be the best time of year to visit Bodega Bay. If there’s no storm, crisp air and sunny skies usually prevail in this salty enclave. Wispy marshes, empty beaches, and meandering coastal trails make for a contemplative setting and the wintry chill is nothing that can’t be offset by a steaming bowl of chowder or well-placed fire pit.

The recently revitalized Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail is a lovely 1.19 mile walk that loops around two ponds and a saltwater marsh where thousands of birds migrate and nest every year. It’s a prime place for birders to watch a plethora of feathery species swoop down from the sky. 

On the far end of the Bird Walk trail is Doran Regional Park, a two-mile-long sandy swath rife with kites, checkered picnic blankets, and kids building sand castles. A rock jetty provides access for crabbing and tide-pooling, and campers get perks like picnic tables, ocean views, and bonfire capabilities.

What was a one-car garage not too long ago is now the site of the Birds Cafe, a refreshingly modern joint pouring La Crema wines against a panoramic view of the bay. Menu highlights include beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips, barbecued oysters, and artichoke fritter tacos with Napa cabbage and a homemade lime-cilantro sauce. 

One of only three Michelin-starred restaurants in Sonoma County sits near the an unassuming turnoff to the Spud Point Marina. Terrapin Creek serves Northern California coastal classics like Dungeness crab cake and Monterey sardines with watermelon radishes and cabbage, and, right now, is highlighting comforting wintry dishes like homemade potato gnocchi with Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, bacon, and pecans. 

Perched on sea-swept bluff on the south end of the bay, Bodega Bay Lodge has recently undergone a major refresh. A transformed outdoor lounge area offers a cozy corner in which to sit next to the fire pit with a glass of wine and watch the sun set over the Pacific. 


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