Discover the best things to do while visiting Trinidad, California. Hunt for agates and spots whales on the spectacular coastline, and hike through some of the oldest Redwood forests in the world. This visitors guide will help you plan for your future trip to Trinidad, California - where to stay, eat and adventure.
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Where is Trinidad, California?
Trinidad is located about 290 miles north of San Francisco and 80 miles south of the Oregon state border. It's a small coastal town on the Pacific Ocean, about 15 minutes' drive from Humboldt State University. Trinidad has one of California's most gorgeous coasts, and it's a terrific place to come if you want to get away from it all and reconnect with nature.
Best Time to Visit Trinidad?
Trinidad, California has a cooler climate than the rest of California, with rain falling for the most of the year. The months of May to October are the greatest for visiting, with mild temperatures and sunny skies. Despite the year-round rain, Trinidad's damp climate is what makes it so remarkable; it gives the mossy forests their lush green hue and vibrancy. While most of California is boiling in 100-degree heat in the summer, this stretch of the North Coast is the ideal cool temperature for soaking up some sunshine and enjoying spectacular hiking.
Trinidad, California Lodging
Trinidad is a small town with few hotel options, while there are some charming, smaller-scale cabins and B&Bs, such as the Emerald Forest Cabins, Trinidad Bay Bed & Breakfast , The Lost Whale Inn, and View Crest Lodge. The town of Arcata has some larger hotel chain options and Inns if you prefer to stay closer to civilization.
We have family in the area so we have not stayed at these hotels, but based on the reviews they look wonderful! We did stay at a super cozy 2 bedroom Air Bnb very close to Moonstone Beach, which was perfect for a group size of 2-4 people. The Air Bnb was pet friendly, had a lovely deck looking out over the tree tops and out to the ocean, which unfortunately we didn't get to see during our stay due to the wildfires. Get $65 off your first qualified Air Bnb Booking here!
If you want to go camping in Trinidad, Patrick's Point State Park offers a wide selection of tent and RV campsites, right along the coast! We recently camped at Patricks Point and you can read more about that here.
Things to Do near Trinidad, CA
The migratory season for whale watching in Humboldt County is September- January, and March - June. These magnificent gray whales can reach up to 50 ft in size, and are best spotted fairly close to the shoreline. Bring your binoculars and head over to viewing spots like Patricks Point State Park, or Trinidad Head.
Patricks Point State Park is a very popular area for visitors coming to Trinidad, California - mostly because it has so many great activities to enjoy. Agate Beach is located inside this State Park, and is great spot to comb the beach for Agates, which are very smooth and translucent rocks. It is a short but steep hike down to Agate Beach, and depending on weather it can be slippery and muddy so wear proper footwear. You can even camp at the State Park if you want to get the full experience!
Trinidad, California is nestled between some of the world's largest Redwood forests. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is located to the south of Trinidad, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is located to the north. While you're in the area, I highly recommend stopping by Fern Canyon and the Avenue of the Giants, which I discuss in greater detail in my HWY 1 Road Trip Guide.
Explore the Pacific Coastline
This hidden gem is loved by locals, dogs, and the occasional nudist! It is a beautiful and quiet beach with views of Pewetole Island and Trinidad Head. Although we did not encounter any nudists here, it is something to be aware of before visiting. It's a nice little steep hike up from the cove, but it's well worth it!
Patricks Point State Park
A beautiful coastal state park on the Pacific Ocean with hiking trails, camping, surfing, and a good location for a picnic. Don't miss Wedding Rock, a large rock formation jutting into the ocean.
A great family-friendly beach and a fantastic place to watch the sunset. You can explore small caves, tide pools, and rock formations while walking along the beach.
If you want to stop somewhere just for the view and not get sand in your shoes, this is the place to go! When you arrive at the very small parking lot, you'll notice a trail that leads out to a viewpoint with breathtaking views of the coastline. It has a spectacular view of Camel Rock and other sea stacks. I highly recommend visiting this hidden little gem! Here's a map of the location.
Where to Eat in Trinidad, CA
Trinidad, California is a small town without any chain restaurants, only smaller local eateries serving farm fresh dishes. Humboldt County is a large region for growing a variety of garden crops, and many of the restaurants in this area are environmentally friendly and sustainable. Wherever you eat in Trinidad, you are most likely eating food from a local farm or freshly caught fish.
The Lighthouse Grill
This small eatery is well-known among visitors to Trinidad for one of its menu items. The Lighthouse Grill's signature dish, the Mashed Potato Cone, is sure to satisfy, especially on chillier days. The waffle cone's exterior is flavored with rosemary, garlic, and chives, and it's loaded with mashed potatoes, gravy, and optional toppings.
The "All The Way Cone" comes with mashed potatoes, gravy, bacon, cheese and beef brisket! You could eat this scrumptious cone as a meal, but I recommend sharing one so you don't miss out on their other excellent menu items. Burgers, sandwiches, fish & chips, salads, and homemade ice cream round out the remainder of the menu; the ice cream is a local favorite.
Everything at the Beachcomber Cafe is made with love, care and farm fresh goodness. Sustainblity and comfort are the core values of this family owned restaurant. They source most of their ingredients from local farmers, and is hands down the best breakfast spot in town. Bring your own coffee mug if you can because this low waste establishment doesn't offer disposable cups. The focaccia bread and English muffins at Beachcomber Cafe are highly raved about from Yelpers!
Seascape in Trinidad is a must-visit for clam chowder fans. Slow down and take in the harbor views of Trinidad Pier. With the gentle steady sounds of breaking waves, Seascape caters to breakfast lovers and is a local's hidden gem. Expect big portions, and food made with love in this restaurant from the 1950's!
If you are lodging somewhere with your own kitchen, then you'll become well versed with the local Murphys Market. We cooked most of our dinners at home, and this grocery shop has all of the best local items and alcohol. They also feature a small deli for more on-the-go options.
If you are making the road trip up the California Coast check out my blog "12+ Scenic Northern California Coast Stops off HWY 1" for more inspiration and tips.