Bodega Bay is a small town in Northern California that has some of the best beaches on the west coast. Many people don’t realize how beautiful this area is because they choose to head for more populated and touristy areas like San Francisco or Los Angeles.
But, if you’re looking for a place with less crowds and more pristine natural beauty, Bodega Bay might be perfect for you! In this post we’ll explore the 12 Best Bodega Bay Beaches California.
12 Best Bodega Bay Beaches California
A hidden gem in Bodega Bay, Arched Rock Beach is a small cove that provides an excellent place for scuba diving and snorkeling. This beach has a great view of the iconic Bodega Head. There’s also areas to fish and picnic if you’re looking for something more than just sunbathing.
The only place in the world where you can walk through a natural arch. You can’t miss it; just look for the fishing boats in Bodega Bay. If you do go, bring your own food and picnic there while sunbathing on the beach.
It’s a great place for families to spend the day and explore tide pools, or just relax on a blanket while enjoying fantastic scenery.
2. Bodega Head
Bodega Head is a rock headland located on the Pacific coast near Bodega Bay, California. It rises abruptly from the shore to an elevation of 338 feet (103 m), offering views of whales and other marine wildlife.
This is the number one spot for surfing in Bodega Bay. Only experienced surfers are allowed to surf here, but if you are a beginner then you can do it too. The beaches here are mainly used for fishing, sunbathing and picnicking.
This is a shorter hike but it has some of the most amazing views in Bodega Bay. A hiking trail runs along the cliff of this peninsula, providing stunning ocean views and whale viewing. It’s an easy trail that can be completed by just about anyone, and you’ll feel great after taking the time to enjoy nature!
On your way back down take some time to check out Salmon Creek Beach, which is on your left as you head back down the trail.
Salmon Creek Beach, where sand clamps the mouth of Salmon Creek, is a popular summer destination. This is an excellent location for surfing, beachcombing, and picnics due to nearly two miles of uninterrupted beautiful sandy beach.
Watch the surfers at their favorite surfing beach in Northern California. This wide expanse of sand is known for it’s big waves and sandy character. Unfortunately, this can also cause problems with litter at times. It is located close to Bodega Head so watch out for the bulls!
North Salmon Creek Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Bodega Bay. It’s easy to see why – this beach has some great tide pools and sheltered areas, making it a perfect spot for families with kids or those looking to escape the sun.
4. Bodega Dunes
Bodega Dunes Beach is one of the largest and most beautiful beaches in Bodega Bay. You’ll find this beach a few miles north of town, near Salmon Creek Beach.
This little-known beach has been awarded California’s Cleanest Beach Award for five years straight. With a wide swath of dunes and blues, Bodega Dunes is a great place for kiteboarding, picnics and fishing.
An extra treat lies under the pier at the mouth of Bodega Harbor—you can walk out to a sandy spit to spot crabs and starfish. After spending a day at Bodega Dunes, kick back with a pint of Jacobsen or Schooner Exact Brewing Company beer at one of the local pubs and restaurants in town.
There are fire pits here that make it easy to roast s’mores or just enjoy an evening by a crackling campfire with friends! You can also enjoy boat launches, picnic areas and restrooms here.
5. Carmet Beach
Carmet Beach is a long expanse of sand that provides beachcombers with lots to explore. It’s located just south of the mouth of Sonoma Creek, and it has some great tide pools as well as some interesting rock formations at low tides!
If you visit during the winter months you may even be able to see migrating whales from this beach!
This is a nice place to go if you want some more privacy than the other beaches in Bodega Bay. It’s not as popular as others, so it can be hard to find parking here on busy weekends!
6. Dillon Beach
Dillon Beach is a small and quiet beach in Bodega Bay that provides visitors with stunning views of Tomales Point and the Pacific Ocean.
This popular destination for locals has been named one of America’s top beaches because it boasts clean water, cold currents, secluded coves, sea caves, rock formations and tide pools galore!
This is a great place to unwind, read a book in the sand or just take in all of nature’s beauty.
Beach access can be found at 1 Beach Ave, Dillon Beach, CA 94929, United States. You’ll also find restrooms, picnic tables and fire pits here!
- Regular Day Use is $10.
- Summer Weekend is $15 (Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to the Sunday of Labor Day weekend).
- Sunrise/Sunset is for free (before 9am year-round, and after 3pm during winter or 6pm during summer).
7. Doran Beach
Doran Beach is a popular surf spot in Bodega Bay due to the right undercurrent that creates high waves.
This beach tends to be slightly more crowded than others because it’s easier for visitors to access, but you’ll still find plenty of room here on your visit! It also has some great rock formations and tide pools so you can spend the day exploring.
Located just off Highway One at 201 Doran Beach Rd, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, United States.
The Parking is $7 or free for members. Launch fee is $4 for trailered boats or free for members. Park Hours are 7 AM to sunset. Dogs are allowed on leash.
Gleason Beach is a great place to enjoy fishing and beach exploration. This beach has some of the best waves in Bodega Bay due to its location on Salmon Creek where it meets with ocean currents.
There’s an extensive network of trails here that connects you to Doran and Sonoma beaches so there are lots of options for exploring!
If you’re looking for a great place to do some kite flying, this beach is an ideal location. There are picnic tables available and it’s family-friendly.
Located at 6700 N Highway 1 Bodega Bay CA, 94923. Parking is free but there are no restroom facilities available here.
Pinnacle Gulch Beach is another popular surf spot in Bodega Bay due to its great waves, but it’s also a great place for beachcombing or picnics!
This area has some dramatic sandstone rock formations that are perfect for taking pictures of. It’s also an important habitat for the Snowy Plover so if you notice these beautiful shorebirds it’s best to keep your distance.
Located at 20600 Mockingbird Dr, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, United States
The parking is free but there are no restroom facilities available here. You can also explore the rock formations on foot or with a kayak! And don’t forget that dogs are allowed on leash.
10. Portuguese Beach
Portuguese Beach is a great place to visit if you want to relax and enjoy the sun! The sand here isn’t as soft as other beaches in Bodega Bay, but it’s still an enjoyable spot for picnics or taking walks.
Tide pools at low tide, the cove is a safe place for swimming and beachcombing. This secluded little cove is a great place to relax from the summer sun, or enjoy a winter’s walk along the cliffs.
The parking costs $15 on weekends from May through September with free weekday access during these months. There are also restrooms, a shower and a picnic area here so you can spend the whole day at this beach!
11. Shell Beach
Shell Beach is a very popular destination for locals looking to surf or fish. This spot has some great rock formations that are perfect for exploring, but the best part about visiting here is definitely seeing all of the colorful shells on shore!
This beach can be found at 39200 Highway 1 The Sea Ranch, CA 95497 and parking costs $15 on weekends from May through September with free weekday access during these months.
The park includes a number of isolated beaches, tide pools, and rock formations, as well as secluded staircases leading to them. These public access points also allow for diving, fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing in addition to hiking.
12. Wrights Beach
Wrights Beach is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some seclusion! This beach can be found on the outskirts of Bodega Bay and it’s very quiet during the week. There are also restrooms, picnic areas and parking here so this is another popular destination for locals who don’t want to deal with crowds.
Located at 7095 CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, United States. Parking costs $15 on weekends from May through September with free weekday access during these months. Dogs must be kept on leash at all times.
Beachcombing is one of the best ways to enjoy the natural beauty that California has to offer!