The Definitive Guide to Exploring Bodega Head
Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, the small, rocky peninsula known as Bodega Head offers stunning bluff-top vistas, enticing trails, beach access, and abundant wildlife viewing — from seabirds and seals to migrating whales.
Only about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide, Bodega Head shelters the bay and harbor from the power of the Pacific Ocean. Composed of rugged granite, the Head is a bit off of the main coastal route, making it a delightful place to explore along the Sonoma County coast.
Getting to Bodega Head
From Highway 1 in the town of Bodega Bay, go west on Eastshore Road, right onto Bay Flat Road, and then continue straight on Westshore Road, which eventually leads to the bluff-top parking lot for Bodega Head.
We'll get to that ocean vista point soon, but there's quite a bit to see and do on the way there. As you turn onto Westshore Road, you’ll be immediately greeted by the fishing and leisure boats lined up at the docks at Spud Point Marina, the hub of commercial and sport fishing in Sonoma County. If you need to fuel up before your adventure or want to bring a picnic with you, across the street you'll find Spud Point Crab Company. Owned by a long-time fishing family, it serves what some locals consider the best chowder and Dungeness crab sandwiches countywide.
Then, before heading uphill to Bodega Head, make a pit stop at Campbell Cove. This sheltered cove offers a flat beach that can be quite large at low tide and mostly underwater at high tide. Not a busy spot, at low tide it’s a good place for a picnic, or for the kids to explore. Fishing and clamming are also popular activities here. And, if you follow the short walkway inland from the cove, you'll see a lush, tranquil pond that's a stopping point for a variety of migratory birds.
Hiking the Bodega Head Trail
Now it's time to drive to the top of the Bodega Head bluffs, where you'll start to really take in the spectacular views. Parking is free, and the lot offers pit toilets and nearby picnic tables. Beginning from the parking lot, the Bodega Head Trail is a fairly easy hike that loops around the southern end of the peninsula, giving you breathtaking ocean and bay views, including a look down at the Hole in the Head pond. Perfect for a quick hike with kids, the loop is about a mile long, and depending on the time of year, offers glimpses of whales, seals, wildflowers, seabirds, and more.
For a longer excursion, take the 3-mile overlook trail north from the Bodega Head parking lot. Also a relatively easy hike, this trail offers several adventures along the way — including a stop at a small sandy beach and the Horseshoe Cove overlook, which features a gradual climb with sweeping vistas of the Bodega Dunes and Pacific Ocean along the way.
Whale Watching at Bodega Head
The massive, flat, granite boulders at the southern end of the parking lot are popular for whale watching. And no experience quite matches that of seeing these magnificent beasts cresting the waves or sending plumes of sea spray into the air. Volunteers from the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods Whale Watch Public Education Program can be found here on weekends from January through Mother's Day with binoculars and scopes, answering questions and sharing their knowledge of whales and migration.
More Things to Do Around Bodega Head
Exploring Bodega Head is simply one of the many coastal adventures available in this area.
Across the bay, the 2-mile-long sandy beach at Doran Regional Park is a popular place for beachcombing, picnicking, building sand castles, flying kites, fishing, and just relaxing. The rock jetty at the far end is great for fishing, crabbing, and exploring sea life. The park’s campground offers both tent and RV sites (although the campsites can be windy at times).
If you're eager to get active on the water, Bodega Bay Kayak rents kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, and offers lessons and customized guided tours. For surfers, Bodega Bay Surf Shack, Northern Light Surf Shop Bodega, and Northern Light Surf Shop Valley Ford rent a variety of styles of surfboards, as well as wetsuits, skim boards, body boards, and booties.
And if horseback riding is more what you're after, both Chanslor Stables and Horse N Around Trails Rides offer a variety of guided trail rides (public or private) with breathtaking coastal or hillside views, through sand dunes, or along the beach.
Places to Eat Near Bodega Head
When you're ready to eat, there are many Bodega Bay restaurant options, from the Boat House, where Captain Rick Powers' schooner hauls in seafood straight from the water, to Terrapin Creek Café, which earned national acclaim for its seasonal menu using the finest, freshest ingredients in inventive pairings, in a casual, neighborly atmosphere. Huria’s by Chef Mohaimen is another locally loved spot that specializes in New York-inspired, brick oven pizza Napoletana and Mediterranean-influenced cuisine.
Find more Bodega Bay restaurants.
Looking for more to add to your itinerary? Explore our list of 10 Fun Things to Do on the Northern Sonoma Coast.
Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Henley