A Bodega Bay Weekend: Connecting (and Disconnecting) in Bodega Bay

Work is piling up and free time is at a minimum–we all know how that feels. As the daily grind became too much for me to handle last semester, I got away for a weekend in Bodega Bay, and the purity of it was exactly what I needed. Maybe it’s just what you’ve been needing, too.

A Trip to Bodega Bay, California from This Is My Happiness Travel BlogWhen my father and stepmother came to visit, he reserved a house near Bodega Bay, a small town on the coast of Northern California. We hopped in the car, all 8 of us (4 adults, 2 kids, and 2 dogs!) and set off across California wine country for the coast north of San Francisco.

California’s coast is not what most people expect it to be. The beaches of Southern California are quite different from most of the state’s long coastline. It is rugged. It is usually cold and windy. It is wildly colorful and full of life. It is gorgeous.

California beach

Renting a vacation home on most of California’s coast means a house without much around it except ocean views and beautiful hills. This was no exception…but there was one problem: no wifi. In fact, not even really a cell phone signal…

California vacation rentals

I felt more than a bit nervous about not having Internet access for 3 days, and I wasn’t the only one. However, like good family travelers, we reminded ourselves to remain in the moment. We took walks like this one right outside the front door. We saw countless deer, and my husband even saw a bobcat on an early morning walk.

Bodega Bay walks

We spent some time on the area’s beaches: windy, wild, and breathtaking.

Portuguese Beach

Portuguese Beach, colorful ice plant, and the famous Highway 1 on the right

Bodega Bay is a small town that lies in a busy geographic position. It sits at the intersection of the Pacific and North American plates (yes, as in earthquakes) on Bodega Harbor, which was formed by a depression in the infamous San Andreas fault. The whole area is protected and part of a national marine sanctuary. Despite the town’s small size, it is well-known here in California as a place to get away from the busy-ness of life. The simplicity of life here, centered around the rhythms of the ocean, feels like a different world compared to city life, centered around the rhythms of stoplights and traffic.

Bodega Bay

Being on the ocean means excellent seafood. From November to June, crab is the big thing around here.

crab restaurant

Bodega Bay crab

crab boat

In addition to watching the fishing boats at the harbor, one can stay busy just watching birds and other visitors like this harbor seal.

harbor seal

Right next to Bodega Harbor is Bodega Head, a long piece of land resulting from the earthquake activity. It provides the perfect place to walk because it is so beautiful. Bodega Harbor is on one side and the Pacific Ocean is on the other.

Bodega Head

If you’re here between December and April, you will probably see whales migrating. We did. There was a gray whale playing around right off the cliffs. The show it put on was much more impressive than what I could capture in a photograph, especially because I enjoyed watching instead of trying to take pictures.

whale watching

Bodega Bay

California coast

And when we pulled ourselves away from those views, we played games, ate meals together, and chatted…the rhythms of family, food, and nature. Thank goodness there was no wifi. I didn’t miss it for a second!

playing games on vacation

Where do you go to connect with yourself, family, or nature? How do you feel vacationing without an Internet connection?

This post is part of this week’s photo series at Budget Travelers Sandbox, Delicious Baby, and R We There Yet Mom.

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  • I love Bodega Bay! It’s rugged and beautiful and feels authentic, unlike the beaches in Miami or Southern California (if you know what i mean).

    Great photos 🙂

    • Jenna says:

      Yes, I know what you mean. Although I like the beaches of S. Cal too, they are very different! These have a certain atmosphere and feel dangerous and wild.

  • Ayngelina says:

    This sounds like a great place for the next time I need to disconnect.

  • Bodega Bay is where I escape to for a one-day vacation. Though, I have never been to Spud Point Crab Co.! Next time 🙂

  • Looks like a great place to unplug and unwind. I spent a few hours in Bodega Bay during a road trip up the coast, and it was a crazy, blustery day but still incredibly beautiful. Great photos!

    • Jenna says:

      Those crazy blustery days can definitely exist there! But it’s much nicer when the weather is calmer.

  • Beautiful wildlife and landscape. In south Italy we have then same flowers along the coast as those shown on your photo 106, and I’ve always wondered what they are called. Do you know?

    • Jenna says:

      Thank you. We call those flowers ice plant. They are a type of succulent. I looked it up to find its botanical name, which is carpobrotus edulis, and found out that it is from S. Africa and spreads very quickly. Interesting that you have it in Italy. It is such a typical look of the California coast–I had no idea that it was planted here (many years ago).

    • Donna Morris-California Girl says:

      Those plants at the Bodega Bay Coast area are called ICE PLANT….. beautiful flowers come in Yellow and Magenta

  • Lisa says:

    What a beautiful place for a weekend getaway – made all the more enjoyable by the fact that you had to disconnect from the outside world. Sometimes that’s exactly what we need even though we don’t realize it. Love the photo of the harbour seal – he looks like he’s posing for you!

  • Sabrina says:

    This is so not what I would have expected from California beaches 🙂 I guess all I’ve seen on tv is southern California. Looks lovely though… The beaches, the harbor, the restaurant, the seals,… On my travel wishlist it goes 🙂

  • That sounds amazing. How are prices there for food and accomodation?

    • Jenna says:

      Food is pretty standard for California…there are cheaper places and more expensive places, so you can find entrees for $12 and up. We stayed in a home (a vacation rental) and therefore bought food and cooked there. The house had 3 bedrooms and an ocean view, and it was more than $300/night, which seems expensive until I consider that we could prepare meals there, had our dogs, and had lots of space + the views. The town is small, so I don’t know about other accommodation options, but it’s near Point Reyes and other places that have more options.

  • Nancie says:

    Stunning shots! It’s nice to get away from all the distractions and just be in the moment. I can’t remember the last time that actually happened!

  • Denise says:

    Sounds beautiful! I’m also really short of free time. Just started a new job after 4 months of holidays!

  • With so much beauty around, I wouldn’t miss not having wifi either.

  • Krista says:

    Wonderful, wonderful photos! 🙂 I lived in California for 8 years and this was one of my very favorite spots. 🙂 I love the wildness of it!

  • Lisa says:

    This looks like a very relaxing place. I love the photo with the purple flowers and the beach views are gorgeous. I love California’s coast.

  • Bodega Bay is one of my favorite places to spend time. I’ve been going there since I was a little girl visiting California and now we take visitors there. We also like showing people places where the movie “The Birds” was filmed.

  • Jessica says:

    Wow! I love the picture of the crab traps. This looks like such a great area to explore!

  • Sonja says:

    I’ve been to Bodega Bay, and it was surprisingly gorgeous. Very small-townish, and I really liked that.

  • Sophie says:

    From the photos, I would have guessed this was North-Eastern US or Canada rather than California. I’m reminded of scenes from a 60s Hitchcock film, a little secret and mysterious. Being completely off the grid would probably add to that feeling. Very cool!

    • Jenna says:

      Funny that you say that about a 60s Hitchcock film because this is exactly where The Birds was filmed!

  • Suzy says:

    Gorgeous shots. I felt relaxed just reading about your weekend. I certainly need a break like this with no WiFi. Sounds like heaven to just enjoy a place and people without worry or work.

    • Jenna says:

      Exactly–being away from worry and work is really important sometimes. Just mentally getting away from our usual distractions is so good for the soul.

  • Wow this place looks absolutely stunning. And all of my favourite things: Seafood, relaxation, Sea, Whales, Seals. Perfect. Like Suzy said it made me feel relaxed just reading about it.

    I love going to our bach in the Pelorus Sound up in the Marlborough Sounds (South Island of New Zealand) for escapes from the world. No power (there is a gas fridge and cooker though), no cell phones, no internet and boat access only (45 minutes by boat from the nearest harbour). It’s perfect and the best place to relax and unwind. Lots of fishing, swimming, walking and hanging out by the fire chatting or playing card/board games and reading books. The lack of internet doesn’t bother me for some reason. I love being out of it all for a week or two.

    • Jenna says:

      It sounds like you would love Bodega Bay! And your getaway sounds amazing. I would love to go to New Zealand and experience its natural beauty someday soon.

  • Katie says:

    I just moved to Bodega Bay in February and love living here. I have lived all over the world including on the coast of Italy and find this to be one of the most amazing places I have been in all my travels. It isn’t just the views but this feeling of being so much a part of nature and energy of the place is like a hug or a warm bath. Yes cell service is available in town if you have Verizon or At&t but you won’t get any between here and other towns.. Wifi is also available at many coffee shops and restaurants and Comcast has full service out here for internet depending on who you rent from but why go online when you can enjoy the beauty of the place. Even my friends who live 25 minutes inland say it feels like a world away to come out here and have a vacation for the day. If you put northern California on your travel list, don’t miss this little treasure known as Bodega Bay.

    • Jenna says:

      It’s so nice to hear from someone who lives there and to hear that you love it so much. I can’t blame you!

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