Two children hold a Pacific purple sea urchin
Pacific purple sea urchin

Discover Sea Life on the Sonoma Coast

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Learn about sea life along the Northern California Coast. At the Bodega Marine Laboratory, which is part of the University of California Davis, go on a docent-led tour on Fridays between 2 and 4 p.m. See many marine aquarium displays full of colorful local fish and invertebrates.

Find the Bodega Marine Laboratory in Bodega Bay off Highway 1. Look for a sign directing you to Bodega Head Marina and Westside Park. Follow the sign and turn right at the bottom of the hill. The Lab is closed during college holidays.

Together, we can protect and preserve the beauty and natural resources of Sonoma County for generations to come. Check out our page on Sustainable Travel, and look over the Leave No Trace Seven Principles.

Discover Sea Life

More than 20,000 gray whales migrate past the Sonoma Coast each year. The whales are en route from the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea to the Gulf of Cortez in Mexico, where they will calf in winter. From January through May, the mothers with their newborn hug the shore as they head north to feed off Alaska.

The point along the coast is green in the spring time
Bodega Head

They can be easily viewed from the ocean overlook at Bodega Head, where the Whale Watch crew from the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods has volunteers to aid you every Saturday and Sunday afternoons from mid-January to mid-May. Viewing is also possible from Gualala Point Regional Park, The Sea Ranch, Stillwater Cove Regional Park, Timber Cove Resort, and Fort Ross State Historic Park.

Seals lay on the edge of the sand where the river meets the ocean
Goat Rock Beach

View wildlife year round at Goat Rock Beach, near the mouth of the Russian River, the beach is a regular resting ground for seagulls, sea otters, elephant seals, harbor seals, and sea lions. Please remember, these are wild animals and shouldn't be approached.

Seasoned hikers will find lots of reasons and places to pull on their boots, fill the water bottle and hit the trails. Climb hills from which you can spot golden eagles on a clear day or wander along coastal paths that offer dramatic views of the ocean.

A cove in the park has aqua colored water
Salt Point State Park

The terrain of Salt Point State Park and Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve offers varying levels of difficulty for every skill level. Coastal trails along Highway 1 between Jenner and Bodega Bay offer easy access and well-maintained trails, accessible from various parking areas in the Sonoma Coast State Park.

Find more info about things to dorestaurantshotels and lodging in Sonoma County.

See Sonoma County's safety tips for water activities here.