Bodega Bay, located in Sonoma County, in California, is a small little tourist type town right on the coast. It gets fairly busy on the weekends, but you can definitely find a nice little secluded beach for your friends and family to relax in the sand and watch the waves for a nice calming day. You can also target some great rock cod and crab fishing as well.
Types of Fish at Bodega Bay
There are too many types of fish on the coast to list them all, but some of the more commonly targeted fish species are listed below. To see the lures, baits, or techniques, and other information about each species of fish located in Bodega Bay, click on the fish species links below.
Bodega Bay has excellent fishing, and crabbing from the beach, from the rocky coast, and from the fishing charter boats. One type of fishing that is perfect for Bodega Bay surf fishermen, is to do some drone fishing. Drone fishing lets you get your line or crab traps out farther than you can cast, up into those deeper areas, and around the rocks, that are just not reachable from a fishing pole. Check out our drone fishing page.
Bodega Bay Fishing Gift Shop Merchandise
Shop for Bodega Bay merchandise for your next Bodega Bay fishing trip. Amazon has a great selection, whether you are looking for a nice Bodega Bay shirt or sweatshirt to wear on the beach, or in camp, or if you are looking for other Bodega Bay items, there is a nice selection.
Bodega Bay Fishing Guides and Fishing Charter Boats
There are many different fishing guides that offer guided fishing trips in Bodega Bay. FishingBooker is a service of local guides that you can choose from and schedule your next guided fishing trip. Click below to learn more about the different guides that offer guided fishing trips in Bodega Bay, or any other area you are interested in going on a guided fishing trip or fishing charter boat. Shop for fishing tackle in our Fishing Gear and Tackle store.
A lot of the smaller beaches along Hwy 1 in this area are dangerous to swim at, or play in the water. There are strong rip currents on many of the smaller beaches. There are also sweeper waves that can roll through at any time, and if you turn your back to the ocean the waves can knock you down and put you in a dangerous situation. The larger beach in the area, Doran beach, is a much safer beach for families to relax and get your feet wet with less concern.
Doran Beach in Bodega Bay
Doran Beach at Doran Regional ParkDoran Beach is a nice long wide beach that is fun for fishermen, and families alike. You get the best of both worlds. There are two jetty’s in the area that are great for crabbing, and you can catch all kinds of ocean fish, such as halibut, stripers, perch, and more from this beach. You can also find sand dollars, both small and large, that wash in on this beach, if you stand in the end of the waves and watch the waves bring up new shells or uncover existing shells, which my kids really enjoy. You can also get sandcrabs, and we have more information on how to catch sand crabs here. Sandcrabs are neat for the kids to dig up, and see for a minute before letting them go, or they are also a great bait to use for the abundant fish in the area.
Mendenhall Family Trips to Bodega Bay - Doran Beach
Follow the MendenhallOutdoors YouTube channel for our family adventures, including our trips to Bodega Bay, CA. Our latest video of our family trip to Doran Beach in Bodega Bay is below.
Bodega Bay - North Jetty - At Doran Beach
The north jetty at Doran Beach is the north side of the jetty that protects Bodega Bay by acting as a barrier against erosion from the currents, tides, and waves from the ocean itself. This jetty is made up of large boulders that create excellent habitat for fish, eels, crabs and more. These jetty’s are roughly laid rocks, and you have to climb around from rock to rock, which can be difficult to traverse in some of the areas for small kids. Once you pick your spot along the jetty you will be rewarded with rock crab, dungeness crab, and lots of different types of rock fish and eels along the rocky bottom of the jetty. There are seals here that will swim along the jetty to try to get your bait out of your crab net, so you may have to pull your net in from time to time to avoid the seal that will swim by from time to time.
Bodega Bay - South Jetty - On the Bodega Head Side
The south jetty of Bodega Bay is across the boat channel, and accessed by going around the bay to Bodega Head. You park in the parking lot, and walk a ways to get to the jetty. The walk is not too bad until you get down at the jetty itself, but if you have walked on a jetty before you know that the jetty itself is no cake walk. These jetty’s are roughly laid rocks, and you have to climb around from rock to rock. But once you pick your spot along the jetty you will be rewarded with rock crab, dungeness crab, and lots of different types of rock fish and eels along the rocky bottom of the jetty. The south jetty is not as easy to get to, and it is not right in the middle of a campground, so typically there are only a few people crabbing and fishing from this jetty, which makes for better fishing and crabbing.
Gleason Beach - Bodega Bay, CA
Portuguese Beach - Bodega Bay, CA
Scotty Creek Beach - Bodega Bay, CA
Schoolhouse Beach - Bodega Bay, CA
Carmet Beach - Bodega Bay, CA
Marshall Gulch - Bodega Bay, CA
Marshall Gulch is a beach that has the larger sand particles that hurt your feet after a while. I like to fish at this beach, and do the beach thing at one of the larger soft sand beaches to enjoy the beach side of things. This beach is good for rock crab, if you crab closer to the large bunch of rocks in front on arched rock, and for rock cod, cabezon, lingcod, greenling, and more around the rocky and seaweed areas of this beach. You can also catch a lot of different kinds of surf perch in the sandy more open areas of the water as well. My son Alex, catching a nice keeper sized rock crab at Marshall’s Gulch in Bodega Bay.
Arched Rock Beach - Bodega Bay, CA
Arched Rock Beach, as you can see in the picture below, got it’s name due to the big rock with a hole in it that is visible to the north. The rock is actually next to the Marshall Gulch Beach, but when you are at Marshall Gulch you cannot see the arch in the rock. I do not recommend swimming at this beach because the rip currents are too strong.
Coleman Beach in Bodega Bay, CA
The Coleman Beach is another small pocket beaches scattered around the Bodega Bay area. Just like most of these small pocket beaches the town has neglected the access paths so erosion has taken out many of the pathways to the beach, so be careful when you travel to any of these small pocket beach areas. The last time I saw this beach it had “closed” signs on it, so you may have to access it from Miwok beach below, depending on if they fixed the pathway down from the parking lot.
Miwok Beach - Bodega Bay, CA
This beach is a small beach that does not have a lot of parking, but that is good because it lessens the number of people that can stop there, so you may get lucky and have this beach all to your self.
North Salmon Creek Beach - Bodega Bay, CA
If you like large crowds, this is the beach for you. It is a very popular beach, and people are everywhere. If you like people watching, this is the place for you. It is a very large beach, with great sand, and the perfect sized waves for enjoying the beach, which is why it is so popular. On the weekend it is hard to get a parking spot, it does have a nice sized parking lot, but lots and lots of cars. If you plan on going here on a busy beach day with a lot of people, I would recommend not fishing. But if you hit the beach at the right time of day, you could definitely get some fishing in with a lot less people.
Salmon Creek Beach - Local Secret - Bodega Bay, CA
Though this beach is a public beach, and not private, the access road goes through a small neighborhood to reach the parking lot. This means that most out of town visitors pass right on by to the next beach which is extremely busy. It’s more of a locally known beach, except for the lucky folks that have stumbled across it. The fishing is great for the standard types of fish you find at the local area beaches, where you can catch many different types of perch, halibut, stripers, and more.
Bodega Dunes Beach - Bodega Bay, CA
When you stay at the Bodega Dunes, you have free access to the Bodega Dunes Beach, where the access road to get to the beach is right at the front of the entrance to the campground. This beach has the soft sand that you think of when you go to the beach, unlike some of the pull over spots off of the highway that runs through Bodega Bay that has the larger sand particles that can make your feet raw after a while if you have sensitive feet. This beach is fairly secluded as most people go to the larger beaches in the area. The fishing is great for the standard types of fish you find at the area beaches, where you can catch many different types of perch, halibut, stripers, and more.
Campgrounds in Bodega Bay
Bodega Dunes Campground in Bodega Bay, CA
The Bodega Dunes Campground, in Bodega Bay, CA, is the perfect family style camping campground. With great warm showers, and full bathrooms, for comfort. There is also a beach towards the front entrance that you can drive close to, where only campground visitors or day use visitors can go to, so it is not as busy as some of the other beaches. The campground is full of huge sand dunes that are fun for the kids to run up and down, some of them are monster sized and lots of fun. This is my top choice, as I went here with my parents growing up, and I have carried that tradition with my own family with my wife and kids as well. The campground fills up very quickly, so it’s important to book your reservations up to six months in advance, if you have to go on the weekend.
Doran Beach Campground in Bodega Bay, CA
Doran Regional Park- Doran Beach Campground is a bit to windy for my liking, and the camping is best suited for RV’s as you are camping fairly close with some sites having trees between sites, but quite a few do not. The bonus though is that it is a very short walk to the beach, to great crabbing, bathrooms, showers, and fishing on the beach for some halibut and surf perch. I like to tent camp, so I don’t usually stay here, but I do a lot of my day trip time here because it has it all. If you don’t mind the wind, or if you have an RV, this is a really great place to camp.
Lawson’s Landing at Dillon Beachis a very popular campground. I prefer the more separated style of camping like you can find at Bodega Dunes, but this campground is at the beach, which makes it worth while to lose a little bit of privacy and seclusion to be able to walk down the trail to the beach any time you want.
Cottages and Vacation Home Rentals in Bodega Bay
These listings are an example of what is available, click either rental house below for a complete list of rental homes and cottages available.
Lucas Wharf Restaurant & Bar - This is a nice medium sized restaurant, that is typically pretty busy. But, the food is delicious, and the bar is amazing.
Tides Wharf Restaurant in Bodega Bay
Tides Wharf & Restaurant - This is a must stop, at least to take the family to, in order to visit the gift shop, and walk along their small wharf and see everything. Inside and out, it’s kind of medium sized, but the sit down restaurant is really, really, really, delicious. But because this is one of the biggest tourist attraction type spots in Bodega Bay, it is very busy. The food is the best in town, but it is also very pricey, and hard to get a seat. But, if you are willing to spend the extra money and time, you will not be disappointed. It is delicious.
LA Bodeguita Restaurant in Bodega Bay
LA Bodeguita Restaurant and Grill - I know that you don’t really travel to a coastal town and think Mexican food, and instead you are thinking seafood. Well this place has both. You may drive by it and not think to stop in, but once you get inside, the food is amazing. Really amazing. It’s right close to the Bodega Dunes Campground, so it is always on my list of places to dine in at when I am camping in Bodega Bay.
Best Fish & Chips in Bodega Bay
I have to be honest, my first priority, the beacon that brings me to Bodega Bay throughout the year is all of the small fish and chips places. I crave it, as it is pretty much the best place on earth to get good, fresh, fish and chips, or calamari and chips, or prawns and chips. On a weekend getaway type trip, I usually hit up at least three different places, and the fishetarian twice. My favorite places are in order of my preference is listed below. By far the best, leaps and bounds above most other seafood I have had, is the Fishetarian. They have some indoor, and a lot of outdoor seating, to enjoy your meal that is made quick, almost as quick as a fast food place, but the quality is so amazing.Fishetarian Fish Market - This place is very small, but the food here comes out to you pretty quick, and in my experience it is the best place in town. They have indoor and outdoor seating, and it’s usually fairly busy so you may want to grab your seat before you wait in line, so you have a place to sit. The Boat House - Hard to get parking because this place is busy and the parking lot is fairly small. But, if you can get in, the fish and chips are delicious and worth the wait if it is busy.The Tides Wharf Restaurant - Has a nice indoor sit down restaurant that is very fancy, but they also have a fast food type fish and chips place indoors where you can sit inside or outside on the dock, and have a great quick meal. This is the main tourist stop, so there are a lot of people here most of the time and it can get quite busy on the weekends. The Birds Cafe - The Birds Cafe Restaurant
Family Fun Type Stops in Bodega Bay
Tides Wharf & Restaurant - Has a gift shop, there is a fast food type restaurant for those looking to grab some fish and chips, and a nice sit down restaurant as well. Has a nice ambiance, with lots of local Bodega Bay history to look at, even some items on the wharf like a large whale bone and a whaling pot. It has a fresh fish market, and all the goodies you need for your trip in their small market. If you catch the time of day just right, you may get lucky and see the fish boats unload their catch at the end of their parking lot, and can see the staff cleaning up the fish into fillets in the fresh fish building with the windows all around. Fun for the whole family.
Statement from their website: “The Sonoma Coast Visitors Center in Bodega Bay provides friendly, quick answers to your questions about the more than 50 miles of beautiful Sonoma Coastline. From details on where to eat, places to stay, beaches to visit and even maps for an Alfred Hitchcock tour of where 'The Birds' was filmed, the staff is ready to answer your questions.”
Bodega Bay Visitors Center Contact Information
Phone: 707-377-4459Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgAddress: 913 Highway 1, Bodega Bay CA, 94923Website: https://www.sonomacounty.com/chamber-cvb/sonoma-coast-visitors-centerAbout The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. Fun Family Adventures at Bodega Bay, CA!