The Definitive Guide to Exploring Bodega Head

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.

Boats are parked in the Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay, on a sunny day
Spud Point Marina, Bodega Bay

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.

A man pulls a crab from a pot to be cooked at Spud Point Crab Company, Bodega Bay
Spud Point Crab Company, Bodega Bay

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.

The bright blue water of Campbell Cove in the Sonoma Coast State Park, Bodega Bay
Campbell Cove, Bodega Bay

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.

People walk along the edge of the bluff at Bodega Head, Sonoma Coast State Park
Bodega Head, Sonoma Coast State Park

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.

Find more ways to move mindfully around Bodega Head.

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.

Discover more places to go whale watching in Sonoma County.

More Things to Do Around Bodega Head

Exploring Bodega Head is simply one of the many coastal adventures available in this area.

People sunbathe and fly kites at Doran Regional Park, Bodega Bay
Doran Regional Park, Bodega Bay

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 CafĂ©, 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

You Might Also Like

Comstock Wines, Healdsburg

As you plan your upcoming Sonoma County excursion, you imagine that your Wine Country ramble will unfold in a certain…

Hamel Family Wines, wine tasting and non-alcoholic tasting

With a massive flood of zero-proof beverages recently hitting the market, it’s become fairly easy to find nonalcoholic alternatives on…

Madeline Sone Wildlife Preserve, Sebastopol

Visits to Sonoma County allow for personalized experiences, unhurried itineraries, and a chance to explore the county’s unexpected charms.  Here…

Fort Ross Coast Line

More than just a premier Wine Country destination, Sonoma County can have a profound impact on a traveler’s emotional wellbeing,…

handmade pizza at Glen Ellen Star
Trip Itineraries

As a Sonoma local, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing Sonoma County’s finest offerings and generally end up with the…

Movie Prop Car On Display at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Occidental

As you meander the wee 60-yard block of downtown, strolling its wooden sidewalks past 19th-century, false-front buildings, you’ll feel as…

Winter scenery at Luther Burbank in Sebastopol CA
Outdoor Activities

Lush greenery, foggy coastlines, seasonal harvests and unique wildlife sightings – Sonoma County in winter is a place where visitors…

Hot air balloon ride in sonoma county
Sightseeing & Tours

Without a doubt, Wine Country is one of the world’s most breathtaking regions to travel through whether you are looking…

Girls Getaway in Sonoma County
Food & Wine

Winter might be considered the off-season for many of the world’s hottest travel destinations, but a Wine Country visit between…

Wine tasting at sunset.
Trip Itineraries

Fall is a busy time in Sonoma County — from colorful hikes to the perfect pumpkin patch, discover what locals…

See What’s Happening

Share your experience using #SonomaCounty or #LifeOpensUp