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, California is roughly 290 miles North of San Francisco and about 80 miles South of the Oregon border. It is a small coastal community located on the Pacific Ocean, and about 15 minutes from Humboldt State University. Trinidad has one of the most beautiful coastlines in California, and is a great area for visitors looking to getaway from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature.
Best Time to Visit Trinidad?
Trinidad, California is a relatively cooler climate for California, and you can expect some rainfall throughout most of the year. The best time to visit is May- October, with cool temperatures and sunny skies. Despite the year round rainfall, this moist weather is what makes Trinidad especially unique, it provides the mossy forests with luscious green color and life. While most of California is sweltering in 100 degree temperatures in the Summer, this slice of the North Coast is a perfect cool temp to enjoy some sun rays and gorgeous hiking.
Trinidad, California Lodging
Trinidad is a small town with limited hotel options - although you can find some beautifully, smaller owned lodges and B&Bs, such as the Trinidad Bay Bed & Breakfast , The Lost Whale Inn, and View Crest Lodge for an intimate escape. The town of Arcata has some larger hotel chain options and Inns if you prefer to stay there.
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!
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. The hike down to Agate Beach is steep, 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 located between some of the best Redwood forests in the world. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is south of town, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is just North of Trinidad. I highly recommend visiting Fern Canyon and the Avenue of the Giants while you are in the area - I talk more about these areas on my Road Trip Guide for HWY 1 here. There is no shortage of giant towering redwoods in Trinidad. Check out Tall Trees Grove Trailhead , Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail , and Big Tree Wayside for some impressive old growth Redwood trees.
Explore the Pacific Coastline
A beautiful and quiet beach with views of Pewetole Island and Trinidad Head, this hidden gem is loved by locals, dogs, and the occasional nudists! Although we didn't experience any nudists here, it is something that is accepted so keep in mind before you visit. It is a nice little steep walk up from the cove, but definitely worth while!
A gorgeous coastal park along the Pacific Ocean with hiking trails, camping, surfing, and a great place to have a picnic. Don't forget to check out Wedding Rock, a large rock formation jutting into the ocean.
Great family friendly beach and spot to catch the sunset. As you take a walk along the beach you can explore small caves, tide pools, and rock formations.
If you are looking to stop off somewhere just for the view and not get sandy then this is your spot! When you arrive to the very small parking lot you'll see a trail which leads out to a point with stunning views of the coastline. It has an epic view of Camel Rock and various other sea stacks. 10/10 recommend coming to this hidden little gem! Here is the location on the map
Where to Eat in Trinidad, CA
Trinidad, California is a very small town, and you won't find any chain restaurants, only smaller local restaurants serving farm fresh dishes. Humboldt County is a large region for growing many different types of garden crops, and many restaurants in this area are eco friendly and sustainable. Wherever you dine out in Trinidad, you are most likely eating food from someones local farm or the fresh caught fish of the day.
The Lighthouse Grill
This small eatery is popular amongst visitors in Trinidad for one famous menu item. The Mashed Potato Cone from The Lighthouse Grill is a signature dish that is sure to satisfy especially on cooler days. The waffle cone exterior is flavored with rosemary, garlic and chives and loaded with mashed potatoes, gravy and extra toppings if you desire.
The "All The Way Cone" comes with mashed potatoes, gravy, bacon, cheese and beef brisket! You could eat this delicious cone as a meal, but you don't want to miss out on their other delicious menu items so I recommend sharing one. The rest of the menu includes burgers, sandwiches, fish & chips, salads and homemade ice cream- the ice cream is the real treat and a locals 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 are highly raved about from Yelpers!
If you are lodging somewhere with your own kitchen, then you'll become well versed with the local Murphys Market. We ate most of our dinners cooking in, and you'll find all the best local products and alcohol at this grocery store. They have a small deli as well for more on the go selections.
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.