Guys Getaway: Outdoor Adventures Itinerary
Guys' getaways are all the rage for the modern gentleman, and one of the best places for some top-quality male bonding time is, you guessed, it, Sonoma County, California. Also, this is the perfect trip for a long Father's Day weekend.
Why? Because with one million-plus acres to explore from ocean to mountains, there are endless opportunities for macho outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, zip lining, and fishing. Sonoma County is known for its wines, certainly, but is also home to many world-class beer breweries. And did someone say golf?
Even the most manly men appreciate food, glorious food, of course, and the Wine Country region thrills with everything from oysters for slurping, hearty steaks, and a delightful find of gourmet cuisine in a pool hall tavern in the tiny rural town of Bodega.
So get your motor running, take our tips for a three-day adventure, and solidify that brotherly love with your best pals.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.
Bodega Bay and Fishing on the Sonoma Coast
Gear up for serious fun with a filling breakfast at The Tides Wharf Restaurant & Bar in Bodega Bay (800 Highway 1, Bodega Bay), known as the backdrop for scary scenes in Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic, The Birds.
This coastal town is home to wonderful hiking trails, and one of the most invigorating is at Bodega Head — the southernmost point of Sonoma Coast State Park, which stretches for 17 scenic miles along the Sonoma coastline. The ocean overlook at Bodega Head is prime for watching gray and blue whales traveling south from the Chukchi Sea near Alaska and down to Baja California for winter, then back north for the summer feeding season. For more details, read Explore Bodega Head on the Sonoma Coast.
Hiking stirs a man’s appetite. Grab a great lunch at The Boat House (1445 N. Highway 1, Bodega Bay), where owner Capt. Rick Powers’ schooner hauls in seafood straight from the water. Then, his cooks craft the catch into buttery Dungeness crab cake sandwiches, meaty fish-n-chips, and breaded clam strips to eat at indoor or outdoor tables overlooking the bay.
You can catch your own, too, through the Bodega Bay Sport Fishing Center (1410 B Bay Flat Road, Bodega Bay), as Capt. Powers' charters hunt for crab, salmon, albacore tuna, cod, and Humboldt giant squid, running spring through fall. For even more sea-going charters and options, check our listings of Fishing and Boating in Bodega Bay, and see Sonoma County's safety tips for water activities.
Any visit to Wine Country should include wine. Go "wine surfing" at Gourmet au Bay (1412 Bay Flat Road, Bodega Bay), where three tastes are served on a little wooden surfboard, and can be paired with appetizers, soups, seafood, and flatbreads from the wood-fired oven. The bar also offers three local beers on tap.
Next, head to your accommodations for the night — the Bodega Dunes Campground (3095 Highway 1, Bodega Bay). Check in is at 2 p.m., with reservations strongly recommended (ReserveCalifornia online or call 800-444-7275). Or try the close by Doran Regional Park.
If roughing it is a little too, well, rough, there are several other possibilities. Check in at Bodega Bay Inn (1588 Eastshore Road, Bodega Bay), a small, seven-room inn with an art gallery, gardens filled with sculptures, and a firepit.
Bodega Harbor Inn (1345 Bodega Ave. Bodega Bay) on the bluffs overlooking beautiful Bodega harbor offers panoramic views of the bay and headlands; choose from 14 rooms at the inn or rent one of the charming cottages. Or, try Bodega Bay Lodge (see photo), Inn at the Tides, and more Bodega Bay hotels.
Clean up after being on the boat all afternoon and then catch dinner at Terrapin Creek Café (1580 Eastshore Road, Bodega Bay). Don’t let the innocuous shopping center location deter you; once you taste the food, you’ll know why this place has won national acclaim. The menu changes frequently to take advantage of the best local and seasonal produce and meats.
Or, play some pool and enjoy the amazing food at Casino Bar & Grill, a pool hall and tavern in the tiny town of Bodega, just five miles inland from Bodega Bay. All ingredients are organic and local, and the seasonal menu features a variety of options, from a sirloin steak sandwich with sautéed onions, red peppers, baby bellas, garlic, and provolone, to a Bloomfield Farm lacinto kale salad with fried quail egg, prawns, smoked bacon, and Village bakery rye toast.
A Round of Golf and then off to Microbreweries in Sebastopol
Rise with the sun and stretch, then take a stroll on the beach. Break your fast Sonoma Coast style, with some of the best clam chowder you’ll ever have. Spud Point Crab Company (1910 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay), which opens at 9 a.m., does offer coffee and sweet rolls to visitors and fishing crews, but the reason to go is always the best-ever clam chowder. And the crab sandwich; but mainly, the chowder.
If golf is your game, there’s a morning of thrill awaiting you at The Links at Bodega Harbour (21301 Heron Drive, Bodega Bay), with tee times from 7 a.m. up to 5 p.m. in the longer daylight hours of spring through late fall. All 18 holes on the Scottish-style course offer spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, with rolling fairways, undulating greens, and native coastal rough to up the challenge. Here is a list of golf courses in Sonoma County.
Fuel up for lunch at the club’s Bluewater Bistro (21301 Heron Drive, Bodega Bay). Fresh-off-the-boat seafood, local meats, and produce make this a perfect lunch spot, overlooking the course and the coastline.
Sonoma County’s “beer” star is on the rise, with microbreweries, brew pubs, and tap rooms almost everywhere you look. Explore the beer side of Wine Country with a customized tour, courtesy of North Bay Brewery Tours (707-602-7397) or On Tap Beer Tours (707-786-6286). They will design a custom itinerary and take you to see regional favorite Lagunitas Brewing Co., as well as some lesser known — but equally delicious — places such as Russian River Brewing, Stumptown, Old Redwood, Bear Republic Brewing Company Healdsburg, Bear Republic Brewing Company Lakeside, Third Street Aleworks, Woodfour, or Crooked Goat Brewing.
Have the pick-up/drop-off point at your Sebastopol hotel. Finish your beer adventure with more beers and perhaps a bite to eat at HopMonk Tavern (230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol). This boisterous bar, beer garden, and live music venue offers one of the largest selections anywhere.
Sebastopol boasts several great lodging options. Sebastopol Inn (6751 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol) offers a B&B vibe, but the comfort and privacy of a boutique hotel, and Fairfield Inn and Suites Sebastopol (1101 Gravenstein Highway South, Sebastopol) offers the convenience of a brand hotel (Marriott points). Or check our listings of Sebastopol Accommodations.
Redwoods and Russian River Adventures
There’s no rush, but your rumbling stomach will direct you to eventually check out, load back into the car, and then head west to Occidental. There, Howard Station Café (611 Bohemian Highway, Occidental), tucked in a historic Victorian home and rail station stop of the late 1800s, is legendary for breakfast. (Remember to bring cash, since credit cards are not accepted.)
The next stop is zip lining at Sonoma Canopy Tours (6250 Bohemian Highway, Occidental), on devour a 2-1/2-hour guided eco tour through the treetops with seven zip lines, two sky bridges, a majestic spiral staircase, a rappel to the forest floor, and hiking through the world famous California Coastal Redwoods.
For adventure with a little less altitude, head to Guerneville and a hike through Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve (17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville). Or paddle the Russian River with a kayak or canoe, courtesy of Burke’s Canoe Trips and Campground (8600 River Road, Forestville).
A light lunch will fill in the gaps, so stop to pick up a picnic at Wild Flour Bread (140 Bohemian Highway, Freestone) in the neighboring village of Freestone. Grab some cheese and charcuterie, too, at Freestone Artisan Cheese (380 Bohemian Highway, Freestone), in this petite store set in an 1880s redwood cottage.
Tired? Perhaps it’s time for some pampering. Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary (209 Bohemian Highway, Freestone) offers sumptuous treatments in the middle of a Japanese garden. The real draw is the bath, in two large side-by-side wooden tubs filled with finely ground cedar, rice bran, and plant enzymes imported from Japan. Next, retreat to a private creek-side pagoda for deep tissue massage.
If you’ve got energy left for a full dinner, the Union Hotel at Occidental Restaurant (3731 Main St., Occidental) is a fine choice for filling Italian, served family style in he-man portions. For a lighter meal and a good, stiff cocktail, the old-style saloon next door keeps it friendly with ice cold beer, pizza, seasonal crab cioppino, and burgers.
This is a nice place to lay your head for the night, as well — the Union is no longer a hotel, but overnight RV parking is available with dinner purchase, or guest cottages can be reserved, like the stylish log cabin Bungalow amid the redwoods.
The Occidental Lodge (3610 Bohemian Highway, Occidental) is another charming option, done in wood shake and stone on a redwood dotted hillside, with a seasonal swimming pool. And if you already made your way to Guerneville in the afternoon, you might want to check into Applewood Inn & Spa, Dawn Ranch Resort, Russian River Vacation Homes or another hotel in Guerneville.
Stay an extra day or two for some high-octane action at Simraceway Performance Driving Center’s Audi sportscar experience (29359 Arnold Drive, Sonoma). The experience includes classroom and driving instruction from professional racing drivers who have expert knowledge.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet