Trinidad State Beach

Trinidad State Beach South Cove in Humboldt County

After exploring Patrick’s Point State Park, visiting the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse and eating dinner at the Lighthouse Grill, we decided to squeeze in one more thing before calling it a day: walking along gorgeous Trinidad State Beach.

Trinidad State Beach is a long, beautiful, west-facing, sandy beach just north of the Trinidad Harbor and pier. It stretches from Trinidad Head on the south end to Elk Head on the north end.

A a natural rock arch along the cliffs and large rock outcropping close to the beach called Pewetole Island divides it into two main sections or coves — the South Cove and the North Cove named College Cove:

South Cove

The Trinidad State Beach South Cove has a large parking lot at Lighthouse Road and Bay Street near Trinidad Head and Trinidad Harbor with easy access across a small sand dune to the beach.

South Cove is accessible during all tides throughout the year, but it is not a beach for swimming. The water is just too cold and surf is too rough. It is perfect though for relaxing, sunbathing, playing, sandcastle building, and picnicking.

North Cove (College Cove)

The North Cove, called College Cove, has a parking lot and trailhead off Stagecoach Road. From here, you can follow a 0.5 mile trail through the woods, across the bluffs, and down a long flight of stairs to the beach. You’ll also find a picnic area, grills, and restrooms.

College Cove is only accessible during low tide. It features interesting rock formations, natural caves, and vibrant tide pools. This section of beach is more protected, so when conditions are safe, it is popular for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and windsurfing.

State Park Road

A third trail provides access down to the middle of the beach from State Park Road, off Stagecoach Road. Near the trailhead there is a parking area, restrooms, and a small picnic area.

Visiting Trinidad State Beach

We parked in the parking lot at the base of Trinidad Head, which is right along the beach so access was easy and fast and free. Within minutes, Brian and I were strolling along the beach and the kids were exploring up ahead of us, climbing on rocks, running in and out of the surf, and jumping over the creek.

We found the drainage of Mill Creek, where it flows to the ocean and spent quite a bit of time watching the kids leap across the creek from sand bank to sand bank (and eat it pretty good a few times too)!

It was cool, the sun was setting, the beach was stunning, and there was almost no one else on the beach. It was the perfect, most relaxing way to end a day packed with hiking and sightseeing.

Know Before You Go

  • Trinidad State Beach is located off CA Highway 101 in Trinidad, California 95570 in Humboldt County. It is just south of Patrick’s Point State Park and about 20 miles north of Eureka.
  • Trinidad State Beach is broken up into two main sections by Pewetole Island, the South Cove and the North Cove called College Cove.
  • Day use is open to the public from sunrise to sunset daily.
  • Parking is free.
  • We parked in the parking lot near Trinidad Head at the intersection of Lighthouse Road and Bay Street. This parking lot is practically right on the beach!
  • Restrooms and a picnic area with stoves are available at the beach access trailheads off Stagecoach Road and off State Park Road.
  • Dogs are allowed on leash.
  • The offshore rocks are part of the California Coastal National Monument.
  • It is best to visit during low tide, when you can walk from cove to cove along the base of the cliffs, but be careful and watch the surf, because the rising tide can trap you against the cliffs if you’re in the wrong spot.
  • Just south of Trinidad State Beach is Trinidad Head, which offers opportunities to hike to the summit, see the original Trinidad Head Light Station, and enjoy stunning vistas.

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