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Bodega Bay is a small California coastal town on the borders
of Marin County and Sonoma County, and famous for being the filming location
for Alfred Hitchcock's film, The Birds.
Bodega Bay was one of the lovely discoveries we made on our
first major Pacific Coast Highway drive, when we stayed at the Bodega Bay Lodge
and Spa. We know friends who've visited Bodega Bay since then and they've all
been as delighted as we were to discover its laid-back and slightly upscale charms.
Bodega Bay Sunset
There isn't much to do in Bodega Bay, and that is part of
its appeal. Many people come because they know it's where Alfred Hitchcock
filmed his horror classic, The Birds, and they stay to be seduced by this
little coastal town.
Its attractions are well-displayed in the movie, so take a look to see what it's like. Just put the birds themselves out of your mind. The seagulls aren't that aggressive!
Getting to Bodega Bay
Bodega Bay is about 70 miles north of San Francisco, roughly
a 90-minute drive if you take the faster route inland along Highway-101. Our
preference, if time isn't pressing, is to take the Highway-1 route along the
coast past the Point Reyes National Seashore. The distance is about the same
but your journey time could be twice as long as the roads are slower and
winding in places.
Surf Shop in Bodega
The Name of Bodega
Bodega is named after the splendid-sounding 18th-century explorer,
Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, although the original Bodega Bay is where
Tomales Bay now is, about a half-hour south. The Spanish later moved their base
to what they thought was a better location, taking its name with it.
Green Fields near Bodega Bay
What to Do in Bodega
Shopping: There are a number of art galleries and studios,
reflecting the well-heeled nature of many of the visitors, who rent vacation
homes here. It's not overly expensive, though, and you'll be tempted to buy
paintings, photographs, and other art-works from the local artists who have
settled here, lured by those relaxed charms.
Golf: There are three golf courses in the area.
Hiking: There are several excellent coastal trails of
differing lengths and difficulties.
Watersports: If you like being out on the water then you can
organise various watersports activities in Bodega Bay. These include
sailing, sports fishing, and kayaking.
Horse Riding: Go on a trail ride with the delightfully-named
Horse 'n' Around.
Whale Watching: You can watch from the shoreline at Sonomoa
Coast State Park, or take a tour out to sea with one of the charter boat
Where to Eat in Bodega Bay
For such a small place there's a lot of eating choices
packed in, whether you want fine dining or you want to keep it cheap. There are
plenty of places offering views over the water too. You'll find Mexican,
Italian, coffee shops, delis, BBQ, and, of course, The Birds Café.
Where to Stay in
We stayed at the Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa, which we
absolutely loved. You can search other choices here:
The Main Street in Bodega
Filming The Birds
Much of the movie was shot in and around the wharf area, and there's no better place to relax and enjoy a bowl of clam chowder or other fresh seafood. But if you want to see the house that features prominently in the film, you have to head inland, going south on Highway-1, to the town of Bodega itself. It's about a 5-minute drive.
The Church from The Birds Movie
This little place is as appealing as Bodega Bay but don't
drive too fast or you'll shoot out the other side. Look out for a church on a
hill on the right, and then take a right on Bodega Lane up the next little
slope, and the handsome white house is at the top on your right. This is the
main house featured in the film, but the church was also used, and some scenes
were filmed in the streets around. You can learn more here.
The House from The Birds Movie
More California Coast pages
Encinitas is a beach city in Southern California, famous for surfing, and regularly chosen as one of the best places to live in both California and the USA.
Malibu is a beach city north of Los Angeles famous for the celebrities who live there in expensive homes and the Pacific Coast Highway runs through it and there are beaches and hikes for all to enjoy.
The Pelican Inn and Suites in Cambria on California's Central Coast has oceanfront views, swimming pool, gardens, and is right on the beach near Hearst Castle.
Whale watching in California is one of the most popular things to do along the Pacific Coast Highway, in places like San Diego, San Francisco and many more.
San Simeon is a tiny town of a few hundred people close to Hearst Castle on the California coast midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
One of the best California coast guides is the California Coastal Access Guide, describing the coast’s beaches, National Parks, State Parks, with many maps.
La Jolla in southern California is north of San Diego off the Pacific Coast Highway and has museums, restaurants, hotels, beaches, and the Birch Aquarium.
Pacific Coast Highway Travel recommends some of the top wildlife spots along the California coast.
Dana Point in California is the official start or end of the Pacific Coast Highway, and its attractions include whale watching, and Doheny State Beach.
Morro Bay is a delightful small town on the California coast roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles and noted for the huge Morro Rock.
The Casa Laguna Hotel and Spa in Laguna Beach is right on the Pacific Coast Highway and has luxury rooms, a swimming pool, and real gourmet breakfasts.
This Visiting Hearst Castle page gives all the practicalities including location, types of tour, length of tours, how long to allow, and much more information.
There are plenty of Santa Cruz downtown wine tastings including Beauregard Vineyards,Storrs Winery and Pelican Ranch Winery,all with tasting rooms.
Oceanside is a typical southern California beach town with a surf culture and with the Pacific Coast Highway running right through it.
Mendocino in Mendocino County is a small but pretty California coastal town, popular with artists and with travelers. It has featured in many songs and movies.
Pacific Coast Highway Travel's guide to the most scenic spots on the Pacific Coast Highway in California with Big Sur, Bixby Bridge and Pfeiffer Beach.
A walk around the Point Lobos State Reserve near Monterey and Carmel provides lots of photo opportunities, especially of the Harbor Seal Birthing Area.
Santa Monica in California is famous for its pier, and beaches, and is one of the best west coast vacation spots, with hotels, restaurants, surfing, museums.
Santa Monica Pier is just off the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica near Los Angeles, with an amusement park, an aquarium and many other attractions.
Unique Inns on the Pacific Coast Highway include some of the best independently-owned boutique hotels, spas, and lodges in California, Oregon and Washington.
There are lots of free things to do on the Pacific Coast Highway and here's our list of ten of them including wildlife, the best free views, and free museums.
Historic and romantic Vagabond's House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Carmel is a great place to stay with free wine and cheese and generous breakfast.
The Point Reyes National Seashore is an hour’s drive northwest of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway and is maintained by the National Park Service.
San Clemente in California is a small city on the Pacific Coast Highway midway between San Diego and Los Angeles, noted for its beaches and surfing.
Pismo Beach is a small beach town on California's Central Coast, a resort famous for surfing and clams.
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