Whale watching, hiking along bluffs, and a picnic overlooking the Pacific with the one(s) you love: no, it’s not a Cialis commercial—it’s a great way to spend the day in a gorgeous setting. The tiny outcropping of Bodega Head on the north coast is a scenic standout, thanks to its cliff-above-ocean setting and excellent vantages for spying migrating gray whales in the winter and spring.
Bodega Head Trail is 2 miles of mellow: a coastal loop path slinking along the side of hulking cliffs with the drama of spiky sea stacks below and the placid luster of Bodega Harbor and Tomales Bay in the opposite directions. A few lone benches dot the landscape, and along the hike (at about a quarter of a mile on the trail) you’ll find a single picnic table overlooking the sea. Take a seat, uncork some wine, and pair it with a grand view of Tomales Point and the Pacific.
Late afternoons during winter can be beautiful here, with the low-slung sun bathing the sea in amber shades as tiny fishing boats return from a long day, and a beacon blinks out its guiding light. If the picnic table’s taken, keep walking: Towards the end of the hike, closer to Bodega Harbor and overlooking Doran Beach, you’ll find a clutch of picnic tables and a few more lone benches overlooking the scenery.
Post Hike Dine & Wine: Head to nearby Spud Point Crab Company (1860 Westshore Road) for their World Famous Clam Chowder and some tasty crab. This family business run by a retired firefighter, Tony, and his wife, Carol, is a local gem. Spud Point Crab Company commercially fishes from its namesake marina, and cooks up delicious seafood meals. The clam chowder here is so flavorful, you might find yourself ordering seconds.
Spud Point Crab Company closes at 5 p.m. Grab a seat at a picnic table out front and get crabby with it! Or head to Gourmet au Bay down by the marina for tasty food and a fantastic wine selection! If the weather’s good, snag a seat on the spacious patio that overlooks Bodega Bay. Choose from any of 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 pose for a picture!
From Hwy. 1 in Bodega Bay, take Eastshore Rd. Go half a mile and turn right on Westshore 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 at Bodega Head. Spud Point Crab Company is dog-friendly! The patio at Gourmet au Bay is dog-friendly.