The Bodega Bay area is a very unique spot on the Pacific Coast. An area of land called Bodega Head juts out into the Pacific Ocean, protecting the nearby Bodega Harbor and much of Bodega Bay and ensuring that the waters in this area are very calm and peaceful, making Bodega Bay beaches perfect for people in need of a quiet place to relax and reflect.
If you’re planning a Bodega Bay weekend trip, read on to learn all about the best beaches in this area.
1. Bodega Head Beach
One of the most northerly beaches at Bodega Bay, this beach is found right by Bodega Head, the large rocky formation that protects most of the bay.
The waters here tend to be a little choppier than they are down in the bay, but it's still a great area to visit, offering some rugged coastline walks and a cozy little picnic area.
The winds can get quite high around Bodega Head Beach, so guests will need to be prepared for that, but it's a nice spot to do some hiking and take some photos, with lots of high points offering beautiful views of Bodega Harbor and the rest of the bay. This is also one of the best Bodega Bay whale-watching beaches. Bodega Head Beach Map
2. Bodega Dunes
The Bodega Dunes State Park is named for the large sand dunes found around the area.
This is one of the biggest Bodega Bay beaches and includes a lot of amenities including camping facilities, picnic tables, BBQ grills, and public restrooms.
Bodega Dunes is a nice beach to simply stroll along, picking up pieces of driftwood and exploring the dunes themselves, with many tourists choosing to set up camp in the area and stay the night.
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3. Gleason Beach
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The Bodega Bay area is well-known for its pretty cliffs and special rock formations, and Gleason Beach is one of the best places to visit if you're interested in the fascinating local geology of this part of the Pacific Coast.
It's a rocky beach, so not particularly suitable for sunbathing or beach games, but wonderful for those with an adventurous spirit.
Gleason Beach visitors will have a lot of fun exploring the various rocks and admiring the sea stacks, but beware that there are no amenities at this beach and swimming is strongly discouraged.
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4. Arched Rock Beach
Arched Rock Beach was named after a unique rock formation that has created a little archway.
It's a very pretty sight and a popular spot for tourists to take some photos, with lots of other rocks and boulders dotted around the surrounding landscape.
Waves all around Bodega Bay tend to be calm, but they're especially small and soft here.
Fishing is popular at this beach, which doesn't allow dogs and has no notable amenities to speak of apart from free parking.
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5. Wrights Beach
This is one of the biggest and widest of the Bodega Bay Beaches, so even on the busiest of days, it never gets too crowded. Visitors to this beach will be rewarded with some truly breathtaking views out to the horizon, and there are some interesting rock formations to be discovered on Wrights Beach too.
A local campground offers easy access to the beach and has more than two dozen camping spots offering ocean views, so Wrights Beach is a good place to base yourself if you want to spend a weekend or longer at Bodega Bay. Fishing and hiking are popular at Wrights Beach too and there are restrooms and picnic tables by the beach.
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6. Pinnacle Gulch Beach
Pinnacle Gulch Beach is one of Bodega Bay's best-kept secrets. Few tourists even know this beach exists, but it's actually quite close to Bodega Harbor and is a big hit with the locals.
This is one of the best places in Bodega Bay to come and watch the sunset as the sky starts lighting up with pretty shades of pink and red.
As with other Bodega Bay beaches, lots of large rocks can be found here and there's a good chance of spotting some wildlife too.
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7. Dillon Beach
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Although privately owned by the Dillon Beach Resort, Dillon Beach welcomes the public to enjoy its sandy shores for just a small fee.
Located on Marin County’s northern border, Dillon Beach is nestled in Bodega Bay and is known for the huge waves that come rolling into its shoreline.
It is the perfect beach for surfers, and when conditions are at their best, visitors are sure to find plenty of surfing enthusiasts dotted along the beach’s waters.
During low tide, and on calmer days, the beach is great for families with terrific and enjoyable tide pools to explore.
Meanwhile, the beach is also home to a lovely café, several cabins for rent, and even a small general store and surf shop in case of emergencies.
1 Beach Avenue, Dillon Beach, California 94929
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8. Doran Beach
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Featuring two beautiful miles of beach on Bodega Bay is Doran Beach, which is a portion of the Doran Regional Park. It is home to over 120 RV and tent campsites spread across five campground areas like the Gull, Cove, and Shell Campsites.
Meanwhile, it is known for its ideal terrain, which is great for recreational activities like kite flying, walking, surfing, and picnicking. Birdwatching opportunities are also available at Doran Beach, and it is also a beloved location for fishing enthusiasts as well as those who want to explore marine life under the sea.
Doran Beach is a great place for beginner hikers to visit too as it is the starting point for a 1.3-mile trail that will take explorers through grassy dunes and ends at a boardwalk.
Doran Beach, 201 Doran Beach Road, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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9. Coleman Beach
North of Bodega Bay, the Sonoma Coast State Park is home to several small pocket beaches, each of which makes a great place to visit for a day of recreation in the sun. Coleman Beach is just one of these small pocket beaches and these days can only be accessed safely during low tide via Miwok Beach. Unlike your typical beach, however, Coleman Beach isn’t the place to visit if you want to go swimming. Due to its narrow and rocky shoreline, Coleman Beach is better for adventurous visitors who have experience with navigating rocky terrain. Beachcombing and exploring are popular activities on this beach, which also has some fishing opportunities.
Coleman Beach, Coleman Valley Road and Highway 1, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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10. Shell Beach
Another one of Sonoma Coast State Park’s many pocket beaches is Shell Beach. It can be found a stone’s throw south of the Russian River by the town of Jenner and takes a bit of effort to access as it can only be visited after a moderate but quick hike down a bluff.
It’s the hike to the beach that makes it a precious place to visit, however, as it is generally not crowded. Often, visitors will find eager fishermen at Shell Beach thanks to the large variety of fish that habitat the area as well as the mussels-covered rocks. Apart from fishing and tide-pooling, Shell Beach is also a great place to hike and camp with the Kortum Trail nearby and campgrounds available to the public.
Shell Beach, Highway 1 and Shell Beach Road, Jenner, California 95450
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11. Shorttail Gulch Beach
Shorttail Gulch Beach is a well-kept secret in the quiet and relaxing housing community of Bodega Harbor. After all, this county-owned beach requires a half-mile hike to get to, and even the trailhead needs a bit of a walk to be found. For patient visitors, what awaits is a beautiful sandy beach front with a few boulders littered here and there. Some clear stretches of beach are available for those who want to take a dip in the water, and there are tons of tidal pools for curious children and their families to explore. The beach is also surrounded by a great trail loop known as the Pinnacle Gulch Trail and there’s even a golf course located nearby.
Shorttail Gulch Beach, 20600 Mockingbird Road, Bodega Bay, California 94923, (website link)
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12. South Salmon Creek Beach
It’s no secret that the Sonoma Coast State Park is home to some of California’s most enjoyable recreational sites in Bodega Bay. South Salmon Creek Beach is one of these great locations and is also one of the most popular ones. Nestled between the Bodega Dunes and Salmon Creek, the beach is a hotspot for all kinds of water activities like surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and swimming. Meanwhile, the beach's shoreline is also ideal for beachcombing, walking, picnicking, and even wildlife watching and fishing. Accessible and visitor-friendly, the South Salmon Creek Beach offers free parking to its visitors, clean restrooms, and easy access to nearby hotspots like the dunes.
South Salmon Creek Beach, Bean Avenue and Maryana Drive, Bodega Bay, California 94923, (website link)
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13. Westside Park
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For avid fishermen, Bodega Bay is home to some of California’s greatest fishing experiences. One such location is Westside Park, a fishing destination that offers both day-use trips and overnight camping opportunities for you and your family. Westside Park offers its guests great amenities such as a spacious and clean campground, tons of picnic tables, well-kept washrooms, as well as a boat launch. Guests with dogs can even bring their four-legged friends along for the trip as the park is dog friendly so long as pets are kept on leashes. In addition to fishing, Westside Park also offers birdwatching, canoeing, and kayaking, as well as access to a lovely loop trail that has great views atop Bodega Head.
Westside Park, 2400 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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14. Portuguese Beach
Absolutely breathtaking and easy to access, Portuguese Beach is a great destination in Sonoma Coast State Park for a memorable day at the beach. Known for its long and wide stretch of beach, Portuguese Beach is easily among the largest of Bodega Bay’s sandy beaches. It’s perfect for sunbathing and beach recreation and has portions that are great for beachcombing and fishing. It is important to note, however, that due to the strong current and frigid temperatures of its waters, swimming is discouraged at Portuguese Beach. Guests who stick around for low tide can take a short walk up the beach to reach Scotty Creek Beach which is the only beach along a 17-mile stretch that isn’t part of the Sonoma State Park.
Portuguese Beach, Eureka Drive and Highway 1, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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15. Carmet Beach
Located to the front of Carmet, a small housing community just north of Bodega Bay is Carmet Beach. Though narrow and rocky, Carmet Beach is a gem within the Sonoma Coast State Park which is known for its excellent fishing. Visitors to the beach will have to walk a steep trail down to the beach to access it, but the trailhead is conveniently located within the parking area. Carmet Beach is split between two coves. The Southern Cove is the widest and sandiest portion of the beach and is connected to the Marshall Gulch Beach. Meanwhile, the Northern Cove is much more narrow and has boulders to contend with. Though it’s one of the better spots to fish, visitors are encouraged to exercise caution as it can be unsafe when the surf is rough.
Carmet Beach, 4790 N Highway 1, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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16. Campbell Cove
Close to the entrance of Bodega Harbor is Campbell Cove, a flat beach that is largely submerged underwater during the high tide and reveals its beauty during the low tide. Typical beach activities can be enjoyed at Campbell Cove, which is an accessible and dog-friendly beach. Guests can also take a relaxing walk along the boardwalk which leads to a fantastic birdwatching platform that also has signs that tell the history of Bodega Head and the mystery of the “Hole in the Head”, a small pond within a bowl right behind the parking lot. Interestingly, Campell Cove is also the shooting location for one of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, The Birds.
Campbell Cove, Westshore Road, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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17. North Salmon Creek Beach
Just off Coast Highway 1 in North Salmon Creek Beach, another one of the Sonoma Coast State Park’s treasured beaches. Popular among the locals, North Salmon Creek Beach tends to fill up during the summer months as it’s known for its fantastic surfing. If you’re not a surfer, the beach is great for taking a walk with a path that leads to the narrow and rocky beaches like Miwok and Coleman Beach. Meanwhile, a walk to the south and short wade through a creek will lead to a gorgeous lagoon that is beloved for its spectacular bird watching. Other visitors to the beach have been known to enjoy fishing, picnicking, and beachcombing as well.
North Salmon Creek Beach, 3095 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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18. Duncans Landing
Along the Sonoma County Coastline, at the halfway point between Bodega Bay and Jenner, is Duncans Landing. Though beautiful, Duncans Landing is often called ‘Death Rock” because of the deadly waves that crash into its face. A number of people have met their end at this location, which is Duncans Landing is typically visited for activities like photography and picnicking. To the south of the landing, there is a beach known as Duncans Cove which can be visited for more of the usual beach activities. When the weather is calm, Duncans Landing is great for picnicking and beach exploration, with many other recreational activities available nearby.
Duncans Landing, 6947 Cliff Avenue, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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19. Furlong Gulch Beach
Situated at the draining point of Furlong Gulch Creek to the Pacific Ocean is Furlong Gulch Beach, a small but picturesque beach marked and beautified by shimmering sea stacks and many rock formations. Although the current at this each is far too strong to go swimming in, it is a great destination for hiking, beach exploration, and fishing. This beach is home to a small trail that leads to the actual beach and is also where one of the Kortum Trail trailheads is located. Kortum Trail leads to Blind Beach and Goat Rock Beach and is a fantastic hike to take on a clear and sunny day. Meanwhile, for those who want to camp, there is a camping ground available on the nearby Wrights Beach.
Furlong Gulch Beach, Highway 1 and Carlevaro Way, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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20. Rock Point Beach
As its name aptly points out, Rock Point Beach is a small sand spot within the Sonoma Coast State Park that is littered with huge rock formations and boulders. It is situated along the county shoreline, just a little bit to the south of Duncan’s Landing. Though the beach was not intended to be accessible for recreational activity, there is a scramble route that leads down the bluff and ends at a small patch of sand that is fantastic to explore during low tide. Most visitors to Rock Point Beach simply stop to take photos of the beautiful vistas, but adventurous travelers are welcome to explore the beach below if conditions are safe and with exercised caution.
Rock Point Beach, 6707 N Highway 1, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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21. Scotty Creek Beach
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Like many of the beaches at Bodega Bay, Scotty Creek Beach is too dangerous for swimming, but just because the ocean isn’t accessible doesn’t mean that it won’t make a great spot for a day trip! Embraced by rocky bluffs on each end, Scotty Creek Beach is arguably the nicest beach in the area for a day of sunbathing, fishing, or beach combing. This pebbly beach is located between Bodega Bay and Jenner and is one of the few in the county that doesn’t belong to the Sonoma State Park. Be sure to drop by and enjoy a day under the sun enjoying the magnificent views, and if time permits you can even drop by Gleason Beach to the north which has an awe-inspiring view of homes being engulfed by the encroaching water line.
Scotty Creek Beach, 5750 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, California 94923
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