Trinidad State Beach

California > Trinidad State Beach

Most of the central and north California coast is wild, rugged and largely undeveloped, but especially so once beyond San Francisco, as from here to Oregon stretch hundreds of miles of usually deserted, wind-swept beaches, coves and sheer cliffs. Much of the shore is not easily reached due to a combination of steep hills and dense forest, and often those places where the coastal roads (US 101 or CA 1) can approach are protected as state beaches, state parks or state preserves. Such is the case for a particularly pretty one mile stretch near the little town of Trinidad, 80 miles south of the Oregon border in the northwest corner of the state. It has clean whitish sand, rocky promontories, tidepools, short caves, a natural arch and several small islands. Although cold and wet in winter, and often shrouded in mist in summer, a visit any time of year is rewarding - this is a peaceful, beautiful place, enhanced by the unusual rock formations and with the added seasonal bonus of watching whales and sea lions.

The State Park

Town and beach are just one mile off the well-travelled US 101, 20 miles north of Eureka. Trinidad is a historic settlement that has been busy since the 1850s, initially as a supply base for gold mining and redwood timber operations inland, and today the facilities include various small stores, guest houses, an RV park and boat rental shops - the region is also well-known for its good fishing. A signposted side road to the state beach ends at a grassy parking area from which several paths descend the bushy cliffs to the sea shore. To the left, a sandy beach extends to the high cliffs of Trinidad Head, near the town center, while opposite are several small rock outcrops, reachable at low tide, and which are covered in a strange type of succulent flowering plant known as sea fig. A little further out in the ocean is a rather larger tree-covered rock, left standing as an island after the coastline eroded inland. To the right, the beach ends at a small peninsula with a wave-cut arch; beyond this is another long sandy bay.

Nearby Places

Other coastal attractions close to Trinidad State Beach include Little River State Beach just south of Trinidad, and to the north, Patrick's Point State Park, Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area, Humboldt Lagoons State Park and the bluffs of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.


The nearest towns with hotels near Trinidad are Mckinleyville (10 miles), Arcata (15 miles), Eureka (22 miles) and Crescent City (61 miles).

Highlights: Beautiful stretch of coastline featuring clean, sandy beaches, tidepools, sea caves, a wave-cut arch and several small, steep-sided islands
Nearest cities with hotels: Trinidad, 1 mile; Mckinleyville, 10 miles
Management: California State Parks
Location: 41.068, -124.149
Seasons: All year

Trinidad State Beach - Photographs

  • 7 views of Trinidad State Beach
  • photograph
    The beach
    Rock outcrops

    The ocean
    Nearby places Similar places

    Humboldt Lagoons State Park (14 miles) - peaceful coastal lagoons and several miles of exposed Pacific Ocean beaches

    Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (30 miles) - dense coastal redwood forests and wide beaches
    Nearby places Similar places

    MacKerricher State Park - varied coastal landscapes in Mendocino County

    Sonoma Coast State Park - 15 miles of beaches and cliffs
    Trinidad State Beach is part of the California Big Trees and California North Coast itineraries

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