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It was 95 degrees last weekend at home so a coastal trip seemed like a good idea. With not a lot of time but a desire to be cool and see the open water, I went to Bodega Head. Hadn’t been there in years and figured it would be a change.

Strong winds and 55 degrees made for a cool outing. The hiking isn’t an all-day affair, but there’s a three-mile-long trail that is monumentally scenic with virtually no elevation. The rugged cliffs, the secluded sandy coves, the dunes and the overlooks all work in concert. The whales weren’t in sight – they’ve moved on by now as part of their annual pilgrimage between Mexico and Alaska – but lots of people were. Probably intent on beating the heat too.

The slight peninsula that is Bodega Head was moved away from the coast by the 1906 earthquake and now rests on the other, or west, side of the San Andreas Fault. The rock formations are granite, reflecting their geologic lineage. And the area is a marine reserve, so while it’s fun to walk down the path by the main parking lot and get to the beach, any fishing or marine collection is literally a federal offense.

In addition to the brief trail at Bodega Head, there are a few other beaches and parks nearby with coastal trails and paths, not to mention the larger Sonoma Coast State Beach which has a large network of paths. Combine a few of them and you’ve got an active (and breezy) day by the water.