Bodega Bay Rentals, LLC

January 2019 events in Sonoma County

kitesurfer_doran beach horses on doran beach doran beach waves
Coming to Bodega Bay in January? One of my favorite months in the harbour! Pics are from Jan 13, 2019 between storm systems.  Take advantage of breaks in weather and hit the beach. One of the best places to hike after a storm!  NO MUD and great finds…to be found…on the beach after a storm.  Especially at low tide! Temps mild and little wind usually.  Socked in with rain??? If not in the mood to cozy up to a movie or good book in the glow of a fire…. Below are some events to get you out and about…

Tides Wharf Crab Feed in Bodega Bay – Jan. 18, Feb. 1 and 22, and March 1 and 15
Feast on chilled Dungeness crab, cocktail sauce, drawn butter, Tides’ mustard sauce, clam chowder, pasta, green salad, and French bread.

Tides Wharf  in Bodega Bay:  Open Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 365 days of the year. Fresh, local seafood and American Cuisine. Made famous as the backdrop to Hitchcock’s classic film ‘The Bird’s’.

Monday-Thursday 7:30 am – 9:30pm
Friday 7:30 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday 7:00 am – 9:30 pm
BAR: Open Daily 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
COFFEE Shop Open Daily 7am

Jan 19 – The Wedding Expo
Sonoma County’s largest bridal show with over 150 local vendors….Find everything you need to make your wedding day dreams come true.
Wedding Expo at Luther Burbank Center, Santa Rosa, CA

Jan 26 in Bodega Bay – Annual Chowder Day
Enjoy a fun day in the Bodega Bay area sampling chowder at numerous restaurants. Vote for the Best Chowder on the Sonoma Coast. This event will sell out in advance.  Buy Chowder Day tickets here

Pliny the Younger Release – February 1
Russian River Brewing Company’s phenomenally popular Pliny the Younger is released the first Friday of February and is available for just two weeks, Feb. 1-14, 2019.  Pliny-the-Younger Release information

Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest – Feb 2, 2019
The premier crab and wine event of the North Bay Area features medal-winning wines, local cuisine and impressive live and silent auctions to support scholarships and education programs. Farm Bureau Crab Feed info

Happy New Year 2019 from Doran Beach in Bodega Bay

I would title our beach walk today ‘Day of the Dog’.  Tony and I must have seen 50+ dogs on our beach walk.  Many people out enjoying the beautiful weather.  The beach was calm compared to the previous week and the waves were relatively flat.  The debris washed up on the beach from previous storm had all been washed away and the sand was smooth and glistening.  The temp was about 63 degrees with no wind.  That evening the temp was around 55 degrees with a gorgeous sunset and still no breeze.  Quite typical of non-stormy days in Nov-Feb which is my favorite time of the year at the beach in Bodega Bay.

Tony had a great time and as typical left his own calling card on every bit of wood and seaweed encountered on our 4 mile journey.  Sort of a doggie social media…posting and reading.

Here are sunset pics from the Gull Harbour home.  From the deck, inside living room and from the dining room windows.

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve

One of my favorite to recommend places to visit in Sonoma County.  Its about a 45 minute drive (26 miles) from Bodega Bay but your transported to what feels like another world. Sitting on 800+ acres it boasts some of the planets oldest and tallest living things. The oldest tree is Colonel Armstrong at 1400+ years old.  The tallest tree is Parson Jones at more than 310 feet. Located just north of Guerneville, the land was set aside as a natural reserve by lumberman Colonel James Armstrong in the 1870’s. The State of California took it over in 1934.

Trails among the Redwoods are easy to moderate and some are accessible by wheelchair (Discovery Trail and Armstrong Nature Trail).  You can hike a few together for a more vigorous workout or take a trail leading into the Austin Creek State Recreation Area with 20 miles of trails.

My favorite app for hiking is AllTrails.  You can purchase or use the free version.  Great maps and tips/comments by fellow hikers.  Find it here: AllTrails info for Armstrong Redwoods Best Hiking Trails.

Suggested hikes:

Pioneer Nature Trail – Easy 1-1.7 mile depending on turn [Easy]

East Ridge Trail – 2.2 miles with a 400′ climb [Moderate]

Pioneer Trail from entrance to the Armstrong Tree to Pool Ridge Trail back to Pioneer – 2.3 miles with a 500′ climb [Moderate]

Combine the above hikes for a moderate to strenuous 3.3 miles with elevation climbs

Things to Note:

Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reseve (17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville) is open daily from 8 a.m. to one hour after official sunset.

Dogs are not allowed on the reserve’s trails.  Dogs on leash are only allowed on the main, paved road, in one of the developed picnic areas.  Dogs are NOT allowed on any dirt trail or dirt road. Admission is $8 per vehicle, and free to pedestrians and cyclists.

What to do after a day or hiking nature’s beauty?  Head over to Korbel Winery (10 min drive) and toast to a wonderful day spent in nature.


Doran Regional Park upcoming events and FUN!

Doran Regional Park
201 Doran Beach Road
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

Parking: $7 (I leave a Parks Pass in our vacation rentals to bypass having to pay)
Park hours: 7AM to Sunset
Dogs: Allowed on leash
Ranger Phone: 707.875.3540

Doran Beach Weather Station

I’ve mentioned this park/beach ad nauseam but its worth repeating.  AND… there are some fun scheduled events coming up!  October is a great month to visit the coast.  In fact my favorite months are Nov-Feb.  The weather is usually quite nice in Northern California and the ocean is wonderful to behold when there are storms.  There is usually always a few hours to get out and comb the beach even after a good rain.  Lots of objects wash up on the beach and I try and make it a point to head out at low tide. The winds seem to be at their worst during the late spring/summer months in the afternoons.  Evenings say post 6pm can be quite lovely for a sunset walk.

Things to do at Doran Park:

  • Camping: If your a camper, there are a 120 tent and RV campsites year-round.  It can get VERY breezy here so cautions on tent camping…been there, done THAT!  RV’s are great though!  Of course another option is vacation rentals.
  • Trails: Pinnacle Gulch and Short Gulch located in the Bodega Harbour community.  From the rocks on the Eastern Bodega Harbor end of the beach to the jetty at Doran Beach the length of beach is about 2 miles. I absolutely love walking this stretch.  Its flat with a gentle slope and the waves are wonderful.  Occasional sleeper waves even in this area so never turn your back on the ocean.  I MUCH prefer walking in this area then other beaches along the Sonoma Coast.  My pooch (on leash) loves it as well and I know its generally safe for him to run in the water.
  • Extras: There are accessible campsites and boardwalk areas for handicapped individuals and even Beach wheelchairs available.  There is also an electric vehicle charging station in the Cypress day-use parking lot.
  • Beach Play: My kids have grown up on this beach.  Its gentle slope and easy waves have provided for HOURS of boogie boarding, wave jumping and occasionally surfing.  Always nice knowing as well there is the Coast Guard Station located adjacent to Doran Beach should something go south during the day.

Upcoming Events:

  • Tide Pool Talk: November 3, 2018 11AM-12PM; See sea stars, hermit crabs, sea anemones and more.  Listen as a park naturalist walks you thru exploring animals found in our local tide pools.  Meet at the amphitheater the second Saturday of each month  in August, September and November. Free. Parking is $7 or free for Regional Parks members. For more information, call Kristina Stanton at (707) 539-2865.
  • Natural Exploration: Being a Sea Steward November 17, 2018 1PM-3PM: Junior Ranger Program at Doran Beach; Help with a beach cleanup and then explore the tide pools.

Lace up the sneakers or if your like me roll up the pant legs and barefoot it thru the sand and surf. Bring your pet. Forget poop bags? They are provided at the start of beach paths [pack it in..pack it out ;)].  Lots of canine enrichment to be found on the beach.  Every log, bit of seaweed or other vegetation and sea life that washes ashore gets a thorough sniffing from my Aussie Tony along with his anointing it in his own special way ;).  I’m frequently out on the 2 mile stretch up and back.  I start out from beach paths located in the Bodega Harbor South area.  Beach paths are super easy walking distance from our vacation homes. Out the door and to the sand is roughly 5 minutes.  Faster if you have 60lbs of eager fluff pulling you behind on a leash. Early in the day is best for less wind but quite often Nov-Feb afternoon/evenings absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  Lots of seals to watch, the occasional whale pods swimming in the inlet and occasionally horses as well trotting thru the waves.

Blustery day for paddle boarders at Bodega Bay’s Doran Beach

Tony was longing for some beach time after 18 days.  I think that was the longest dry spell of his 11 months.  We were on the beach by 11AM  walking [after home check-in’s] and it was breezy.  As typical the winds were all over the place but the temp was warm so still enjoyable.  Tony of course was in heaven and I could tell he missed running in the waves and digging in the sand.  This is his job after all. 


We saw a couple seals come close to the shoreline but gave them a wide berth.  Did not see any babies this time. Few birds in this distance.  I was surprised at the number of people on the beach until I remembered it was a holiday weekend (Columbus Day) and homes in the harbor book out on holidays. Lots of dogs which thrilled Tony…he’s always up to making a new friend.

I’d forgotten about the Blue Water Paddle Race and was happy to see we did not miss it.  We walked up just in time to see the Adult/pet race.  Quite a few racers with their dogs and surprisingly even a GOAT!  The goat seemed very unfazed and unlike many of the dogs maintained his sea legs staying upright on the board! It was a fun event to witness and I was happy to see so many families out enjoying the day.  The weather though at times windy was warm and sunny!  I plan on keeping this event on my calendar and hope to participate should there be a Blue Water Paddle Race 2019 :).  Tony would love it!…I think… 😉

Yes…this last picture is of the goat.  He seemed to be a good sport!

Blue Water Paddle Race 2018 in Bodega Bay

Blue Water Paddle Race 2018


I hope to be on hand to witness this event. I wish I had some practice to be a part of it as my pooch and I are always on the beach!  This will be the 7th Annual Blue Water Paddle Race at Doran Beach but first I’ve heard of it..probably because I’m not a paddle boarder.  I’ve always wanted to try stand up paddle boarding (SUP).  I’m especially keen on watching the Pet-with-Adult division race.  Looks like the overall event supports the Sonoma Coast Surfrider’s efforts to keep the beaches clean and local businesses have donated prizes towards a big raffle.


8:30 am – Check-in and registration
9:45 am – Mandatory Skipper’s Meeting
10:00 am – Racing begins
Noonish – Lunch begins
1 – 2:30 pm – Raffle and awards

Please bring a reusable water bottle.  One of the goals of Surfrider is clean beaches and nothing messes up a beach like single use plastic.

More info at:



Sonoma County Regional Parks – Water Bark Park

Sonoma County Regional Parks includes many beautiful parks and beaches to hike and play throughout the county.  With more than 50 to choose from, there is always something fun going on.  Currently at Spring Lake Regional Park on weekends the Lagoon is closed to people but open to dogs on the weekends.  The Spring Lake Lagoon water has been treated and is tested weekly.  The entire Lagoon is fenced off and the entry/exit is by supervised gate making it a great place for the dogs to RUN free. Water Bark is a GREAT day for dogs to romp, swim and catch with other well-behaved dogs.  My family has been taking our pups for years.  We stay hours at a time and they just LOVE it.  Here is a link with more info: Be sure and check dates.  Usually runs Sat/Sun thru Sept with occasional hour/date changes due to pre-scheduled events.

Local pet businesses sponsor providing biscuits, buckets of tennis balls and frisbee’s. There are even lifeguards patrolling the lake.

Families staying in our Pacific View home that allows dogs, great way to socialize your pet while family members tour Santa Rosa or walk the Spring Lake trail.  There are also water craft rentals as well for families with kids.  Spring Lake also runs a grill that sells drinks/burgers/hot dogs, etc.

The Sonoma County Regional Parks pass that I leave in both Pacific View and Gull Harbour will get you into Spring Lake Park bypassing the parking fee.  There is a small fee to enter the water bark lagoon area per pet.

California Coastal Cleanup Day

Join millions across this beautiful planet on Saturday, September 15, 2018 from 9AM-12PM Noon at the 34th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day!  Volunteer Appreciation Picnic: 1Pm-3PM. My kids & I have done this cleanup in the past and we are always amazed with the amount of debris dredged up from the sand.

Click here for information

Volunteers will be working Doran Park, Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail, Pinnacle Gulch Trail, Steelhead Beach Park, Cloverdale Park and Gualala Point Regional Park.

How to Register:

Sonoma County Regional Parks

Contact Volunteer Coordinator, John Ryan by email at or by phone at (707) 565-3356 to volunteer at the following parks in Sonoma:

Coastwalk registration links:

See you there!

Save $$ when booking vacation homes by BOOKING DIRECT!


If you’ve been searching for vacation homes on the internet you’ve probably seen a HUGE discrepancy in pricing.  The biggest change in years gone by is the promotion of booking fee’s by companies like Airbnb,, HomeAway, TripAdvisor and  These fee’s are not insignificant adding an additional 9-20% surcharge over the rental rate which translates to buyers spending hundreds of dollars more just for utilizing these big websites.  With a little digging, travelers can avoid these fees and often get a better experience overall.

This link from Rentivo is one of the best I’ve found to describe FEE’S and how to avoid them with examples from the big sites: Airbnb/Homeaway.  Save $.  Do a bit of research and find owners of vacation homes directly.  Many like myself, have been in the business 18+ yrs and want our guests to SAVE $!

Guest Service Fee’s Explained

Sonoma Canopy Tours FUN!

Sonoma Canopy Tours is located off the Northern California coast deep in the Redwood Forests of Occidental.  Experience a beautiful scenic tour involving multiple zip lines, sky bridges, a majestic spiral staircase, and a rappel to the forest floor.  Reservations required. Experience Day Flights and the new CHALLENGER flight! Enjoy the new Night Flight Tours on Saturday nights! Same great Forest Flight Course under the night sky…moon and stars!

Requirements:  each person must be at least 10 years of age and 70 lbs, the maximum weight is 250 pounds. Check out the link for additional info: Sonoma Canopy Tours.

Picture is my girlfriends and I after a fun filled morning riding the lines. The guides are great, funny and impart quite a bit of history of the area into the experience. Read google or yelp reviews. A fun experience for friends and/or families!