College Cove Beach is located in the seaside town of Trinidad in Humboldt County, about 300 miles north of San Francisco. The geographical features of the beaches in this part of Northern California are more akin to the beaches found on the Oregon coast than they are to those found in Los Angeles and San Diego.
There are rugged mountains and dense forests surrounding many of the shores, and the coast is dotted with towering offshore rock formations.
The cooler climate of upper Northern California makes traditional beach activities such as sunbathing and swimming difficult, but the lush green scenery you’ll find there will more than make up for it. College Cove Beach is an absolutely gorgeous place for hiking, dog-walking, and photography.
Sunbathing, swimming, surfing, hiking, dog-walking, photography, and tidepooling.
Swimming and surfing are possible during summer months, but the water can be dangerous, and there are no lifeguards, so enter at your own risk.
Dogs are allowed provided they are on a leash.
Keep an eye out for sea lions, seals, and sometimes whales.
Hike the trails to Elk Head for some incredible views.
Walk through the Portal rock arch at low tide to get to the main beach at Trinidad State Beach. Wear water shoes to avoid sharp rocks.
Be aware that College Cove Beach is a clothing-optional beach.
Restrooms, picnic benches, and hiking trails.
College Cove Beach has its own free parking lot.
College Cove Beach is a part of Trinidad State Beach, which has another beach (accessible through The Portal in College Cove during low tide) and scenic hiking trails for you to enjoy.
Trinidad Head Beach, also known as Pier Beach, is a few minutes away from Trinidad State Beach. There you’ll find some more scenic trails and the historic Trinidad Head Lighthouse, built in 1866.
The town of Trinidad is small but pretty, and it has a number of restaurants and shops you can explore. They also offer redwood sightseeing tours.
College Cove Beach was the shooting location for a scene in the 2001 one Frank Darabont film The Majestic (affiliate link), starring Jim Carrey.
Robert Durst, the infamous real estate heir who is currently on trial for the murders of his neighbor and his close friend owned waterfront property in Trinidad. The popular HBO docuseries The Jinx (affiliate link) tells the story of Durst and covers his strong connection to Northern California.
Location: 585 Stagecoach Road in Trinidad, CA 95570
Season: Year round
Pets: Yes, on-leash