Tiny Bodega Head in beautiful Bodega Bay has long lured visitors to its dramatic cliff-above-ocean setting and excellent vantages for spotting migrating gray whales. But visit on a winter day right before sunset and you’ll be treated to fewer crowds and a glorious technicolor dream show, powered by nature.
See it by hiking Bodega Head Trail’s mellow 2-mile loop. The coastal path slinks along the side of hulking cliffs with 360-degree views sweeping from the spiky sea stacks rising along the Sonoma Coast to the placid luster of Bodega Harbor and tranquil Tomales Bay.
There’s also a grand view of Tomales Point. But it’s the colors that captivate at sunset, painting the scene like Monet might have. As you round the loop, continue the feast for the eyes as the sky becomes periwinkle and Tomales Bay deepens to navy with night falling. Towards the end of the hike there’s a lone bench overlooking some of the best scenery. Take your seat. Sunset is show-time at Bodega Head.
PIZZA BONUS: Bodega Bay’s Gourmet au Bay down by the marina has tasty food and a fantastic wine selection! Grab a seat on the spacious patio that overlooks Bodega Bay. Choose from any three small-production wines (the menu changes, but the selections are always artisanal). There’s also beer on tap. The wood-fired oven churns out delicious flatbreads (fancy for “pizza”) to go with the wine. You may be inclined to go for “It’s a Date” flatbread—goat cheese, charred onions, dates, and balsamic drizzle. Sit back, relax, and savor the flavors. And the scenery! If your Valentine is four-legged and furry … you’re in luck; the patio is very dog-friendly, but your dog will have to to pose for a Pups on the Patio picture!
From Hwy. 1 in Bodega Bay, make a left on East Shore Rd. Go half a mile and turn right on West Shore Rd. Go another 3.5 miles to Bodega Head’s west parking lot. The hike starts on the Bodega Head Trail, behind the restrooms on the south side of the parking area. No dogs. Gourmet au Bay on the map. Their patio is dog-friendly!