There’s so much to do in this mellow little town on the Pacific Coast that you’ll find yourself just having to stay one more day, even if it’s just to write all those “wish you were here” cards to friends and family!
When to go: May through October, when the weather is mildest.
Travel time: Bodega Bay is located on the Sonoma County coast, 68 miles north of San Francisco, which is about an hour and a half drive.
What to see and do: Kids will love paddling in the calm, shallow waters of Salmon Creek, playing on the beaches, hiking in beautiful Doran Park (with whale-watching January through April), tide pooling, harbor seal pup viewing at Goat Rock, north of town (March through September), and visiting the UC Davis ‘Living Marine Laboratory’ with its spectacular collection of aquariums and touch pools.
Where to eat: For lunch, try Island Style Deli for some of the best fish ‘n chips around (the chicken and fish tacos deserve a mention too) or head over to Brisas del Mar for seafood with a taste of Mexico. They have a children’s menu and you can sit indoors or out.
How to dress: Warm layers are best, as it can be foggy, cool, and breezy at the beach year-round.
Bonus: Bodega Bay’s annual Fisherman’s Festival in April and May hosts many fun activities for children, including a pet parade, face-painting, arts and crafts. Children 12 and under are free! Another great free event is the Sand Castle and Kites Festival in April. Build your own sand sculpture, fly your kite, or learn how to make your own.
Cost of trip: Moderate/Expensive.
Where to stay: The luxurious Bodega Bay Lodge offers families rooms with two queen beds and a fireplace at $260 a night. Their on-site restaurant serves breakfast and dinner (the latter is definitely couples-oriented), but the breakfast menu has been designed with kids in mind (think buttermilk pancakes, waffles with maple syrup, fresh fruit smoothies).
If you’d rather have a ‘home away from home’, the ‘Gem of the Harbor’ is the place to be. It’s a gorgeous, kid-friendly 3 Bed 2 Bath vacation rental stocked with toys, games, video games, and more. Rent it for $300 a night.
Find out more at Bodega Bay’s official site: www.bodegabay.com
– Annie Sheldon