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Salty seamen mix with crab sandwich-hunting tourists in the seaside town of Bodega Bay. This Sonoma County beach community may not be considered the domain of sun worshiping beach goers, but it surely draws outdoor adventurers willing to brave the fog-drenched windy strands. Bordered by the Russian River to the north and the Estero Americano to the south, this bay was primarily a modest mill town until Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds along the coast. Soon after, cinema fans descended upon this fishing village. While you won't spot killer birds today, you are likely to view migrating egrets in the estuary, gray whales spouting in the ...

Salty seamen mix with crab sandwich-hunting tourists in the seaside town of Bodega Bay. This Sonoma County beach community may not be considered the domain of sun worshiping beach goers, but it surely draws outdoor adventurers willing to brave the fog-drenched windy strands. Bordered by the Russian River to the north and the Estero Americano to the south, this bay was primarily a modest mill town until Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds along the coast. Soon after, cinema fans descended upon this fishing village. While you won't spot killer birds today, you are likely to view migrating egrets in the estuary, gray whales spouting in the Pacific, elk prancing in the redwood forests, and maybe even the great white sharks that cruise these cold waters. There may not be much of a town here, but peek around a bit and you'll notice galleries bursting from beach shacks, cozy (and affordable) B&Bs and the chance to score fresh caught crab right off the boat. If beaches are your game, you are in luck. There are 17 rugged beaches within 12 miles, all connected by roads and trails. Cap off your day with some Sonoma County wine, best enjoyed from your private deck with the sound of the pounding surf steps away.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Early fall