Bodega Bay is a small town on the coast of northern California, that shares its name with the adjacent bay. The first Russian structures ever built in California were erected in 1809 in Bodega Bay, which would eventually become Port Rumyantsev. The port supported both Fort Ross and Colony Ross, the large Russian settlement to the north by the present-day city of Healdsburg.
Bodega Bay is an interesting place to rent an RV, with a charming and laid-back vibe coupled with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. Just over a thousand people call this sleepy coastal village home, although these numbers tend to grow during peak tourist seasons. The Mediterranean climate brings warm, summer-like weather most of the year, with a few stretches of cool, foggy, overcast skies. When you book an RV in Bodega Bay, you are only a half hour's drive from nearby Santa Rosa, and an hour north of San Francisco. You can venture to the cities of the Bay Area or spend most of your time in California’s many state and national parks. No matter what you choose to do, you won’t regret starting your journey in scenic Bodega Bay.
Depending on what sort of things you fancy, you can plot out numerous routes and create a checklist of stellar parks, forests, and beaches to explore. This decision is perhaps made a bit easier knowing that there are two exceptional parks in the immediate vicinity when you rent an RV in Bodega Bay. First, there is Doran Regional Park, a Sonoma County maintained recreation area on the water. Camping is permitted year-round, so you already have one campground close to town that can accommodate your Bodega Bay RV rental. The park surrounds Bodega Bay and has its very own boat launch for fishing enthusiasts to put their boats into the water.
On the north side of town, Bodega Dunes Campground gives you another place to stay in your Bodega Bay RV rental by owner. This campground is part of Sonoma Coast State Park, which exists in two different parts. The larger part of this park can be found several miles north along California Highway 1. You can spend your days with your toes in the sand, reading a book while listening to the waves come in and retreat endlessly. Arched Rock, Goat Rock, and Gleason are three of the best beaches in Northern California and all three are found at Sonoma Coast State Park. There are a few additional campgrounds at the second portion of the park in addition to Bodega Dunes Campground, so you have plenty of options when you rent an RV and need a place to stay.
Keeping with the coastal theme, Salt Point State Park is even farther north of Bodega Bay, but the drive is absolutely worth it. You’ll enjoy the picturesque views of the water while driving on winding roads the wrap around hairpin turns. Scuba diving is one of the most popular activities in the park due in part to the fact that half of the park is underwater. There are lots of hidden coves, secret sea caves, and underwater grottos for expert scuba divers to map out, but it can be quite dangerous for those not qualified to do so.
If you are finally sick of the beach and feel like heading inland, take your Bodega Bay RV rental for an inland excursion to Mendocino National Forest, a giant swath of land packed with adventure. This incredible forest covers nearly a million acres of mountains and lakes, with ample space to hike and camp out. Lake Pillsbury, Ruth Lake, and Clear Lake are three of the largest lakes with their very own recreation areas that you can stay at and enjoy. Sanhedrin Mountain isn't quite as tall as the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east, but it sure is majestic looking in person. There are countless other places you can choose to venture off to, but that’s entirely up to you.
RV Parks to Visit
You won’t be needing much research or effort to find a great campground to stay at during your travels, as there are several options right underneath your nose. Bodega Dunes Campground and Sonoma Coast State Park’s other campgrounds to the north are all viable options that should do the trick quite nicely. They all sit right next to the water making for some pretty epic views to wake up to, and awesome night skies as well.
Casini Ranch Family Campground has spacious, private campsites along the Russian River, with playgrounds, sports fields, hiking trails, beaches, and a general store. You can rent kayaks and canoes to take out on the river, or bicycles to ride around the park.
San Francisco North/Petaluma KOA Campground is close to Santa Rosa, giving you the ability to walk around town and see some great local attractions. There is a pool and a sauna for guests to use, in addition to a pavilion, snack bar, and bicycle rentals to get around town.
Bodega Bay is part of Sonoma County, one of the most famous wine producing regions in the world. As a result, there are numerous vineyards and wineries in the area that you can visit and tour, with lots of sampling involved. There is a winery located in Bodega Bay, and you can head there to learn about the winemaking process or enjoy a wine tasting with artisan cheeses and a bevy of other delicious foods. Sonoma Coast Visitors Center is also situated in Bodega Bay, serving as an invaluable resource for vacationers to utilize. You can obtain helpful brochures, buy some souvenirs, and ask any questions you might have about the area.
The Children’s Bell Tower is a solemn but special monument celebrating the life of a young boy who was killed during an armed robbery on vacation in Italy. The boy’s family had his organs donated to people in need, which helped inspire countless others to become organ donors. The Bell Tower features bells from all over Italy that were sent by compassionate people who sympathized with the family.
For all the film buffs out there, you are in for a treat when you visit Bodega Bay. The Potter Schoolhouse and St. Teresa of Avila Church are both famous landmarks featured in the classic Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds. The town was used as a filming location for one of the most famous cinematic productions of all time, a fact that Bodega Bay takes great pride in.