Bodega Bay

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 The Birds.

Bodega Bay on the California coastBodega Bay

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.

Sunset over Bodega Bay on the California coastBodega 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!

Horseshoe Bay near Bodega Bay on the California coastHorseshoe Bay

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.

The Surf Shop in the town of Bodega inland from Bodega BaySurf Shop in Bodega

The Name of Bodega Bay

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 BayGreen Fields near Bodega Bay

What to Do in Bodega Bay

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 companies.

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. As well as serving good seafood, the Lucas Wharf Restaurant and Bar was a filming backdrop for The Birds. 

Where to Stay in Bodega Bay

We stayed at the Bodega Bay Lodge and Spa, which we absolutely loved. You can search other choices here:

The main street in the town of Bodega near Bodega BayThe 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 in Bodega, near Bodega BayThe 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 in Bodega, near Bodega BayThe House from The Birds Movie

More Information

Sonoma Coast Visitor Center, 913 Highway 1, Bodega Bay
(707) 875-3866

More California Coast pages

  • San Luis Obispo

    San Luis Obispo in California is half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on the Pacific Coast Highway and with lots of things to do and see.

  • Moss Beach Hotel

    For a Moss Beach hotel just off the Pacific Coast Highway, the Seal Cove Inn offers good accommodation north of Half Moon Bay, minutes from the ocean.

  • Whale Watching in California

    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.

  • Newport Beach

    Newport Beach is a small city on the Pacific coast of southern California, right on the Pacific Coast Highway and noted for its beaches and surfing.

  • Visiting Hearst Castle

    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.

  • Vagabond's House Inn

    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.

  • Unique Inns on the Pacific Coast Highway

    Unique Inns on the Pacific Coast Highway include some of the best independently-owned boutique hotels, spas, and lodges in California, Oregon and Washington.

  • Top Wildlife Spots on the California Coast

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel recommends some of the top wildlife spots along the California coast.

  • Dana Point

    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.

  • Santa Catalina Island

    Santa Catalina Island, or Catalina Island, is off the shore of Southern California and reachable from Long Beach, San Pedro, Newport Beach, and Dana Point.

  • Stanford Inn by the Sea Mendocino

    The Stanford Inn by the Sea in Mendocino on the California coast is an eco-resort with yoga classes and the award-winning Ravens Restaurant.

  • Santa Monica Pier

    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.

  • Santa Monica, California

    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 Cruz

    Santa Cruz on the Pacific Coast Highway in California has its famous boardwalk, beaches, wine tastings, Surfing Museum, Mission, and Marine Discovery Center.

  • Santa Cruz Downtown Wine Tastings

    There are plenty of Santa Cruz downtown wine tastings including Beauregard Vineyards,Storrs Winery and Pelican Ranch Winery,all with tasting rooms.

  • Santa Barbara

    Standing on the Pacific Coast Highway in California, Santa Barbara is an attractive resort with a historic downtown, sandy beaches, a mission, and good museums.

  • San Simeon

    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.

  • San Clemente California

    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.

  • Point Lobos State Reserve near Carmel and Monterey, with photos

    A walk around the Point Lobos State Reserve near Monterey and Carmel provides lots of photo opportunities, especially of the Harbor Seal Birthing Area.

  • Pismo Beach

    Pismo Beach is a small beach town on California's Central Coast, a resort famous for surfing and clams.

  • Pelican Inn and Suites in Cambria on the Central Coast of California

    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.

  • Pacific Grove

    Pacific Grove is a small city on the California coast, next to Monterey and close to Carmel, with attractions including its historic Victorian houses.

  • Oceanside

    Oceanside is a typical southern California beach town with a surf culture and with the Pacific Coast Highway running right through it.

  • Malibu

    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.

  • Morro Bay

    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.

Recent Articles

  1. Best Things to Do in Ventura

    May 12, 22 09:53 AM

    The best things to do in Ventura include beaches and museums, seeing the mission, going to Ventura Pier, and a boat trip to the Channel Islands National Park.

    Read More


    May 04, 22 03:24 AM

    Welcome back to the bookish road trip series. This is going to be an exciting one, folks. We’re going to explore one of the most gorgeous coastlines in the country, and this coastline is hiding some a…

    Read More

  3. Seal Beach Classic Car Show motors back to Main Street Saturday, April 30

    Apr 26, 22 03:32 AM

    Downtown Seal Beach will become a pedestrian plaza on Saturday, April 30, but the emphasis will remain on cars — it’s the 34th annual Classic Car Show.

    Read More