Discover this quiet California community along the Pacific Coast Highway, where the views are unobstructed and the simple life rules.
The Wine. The Sonoma coast as a premiere vino destination makes this a hot address, with more than 200 wineries dotting the lush landscape from the Russian River Valley to the southern seaside towns of Tomales Bay and Point Reyes. The latest trendy tasting stop is in the Barlow area.
The Wildlife. In this habitat hot spot you'll find migrating gray and humpback whales, seals, and rare birds, especially when strolling through Doran Regional Park Bird Walk: the one-mile salt-marsh loop is home to white and blue herons, snowy egrets, loons, and bald eagles.
The Folks. "I love the people—it's such a diverse mix: Silicon Valley power players, researchers from the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab, and fishing families who have been here forever," says lifelong resident and The Birds Café owner Melissa Freeman. "When we have our events, everyone pulls together."
The Festivals. One of the most-beloved fetes is the annual Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival in April honoring the start of salmon season and the community's deep fishing roots. Thousands of revelers enjoy the flag-adorned fleet parade.
Left: Patrick's Salt Water Taffy has been a colorful institution here since 1960.