Beyond the coastal redwoods in the small town of Trinidad lies Trinidad State Beach, a pretty Humboldt County beach with a protected cove, tidepools and a natural arch. While the main beach access involves a short hike, College Cove at low tide is definitely worth taking the kids.
Atmosphere: Typical for this region, Trinidad State Beach’s waters are littered with unique rock formations that give it an almost prehistoric feel. Locals and other nature-seekers come here for quiet time.
Parking and Entrance: Park at the state beach entrance off Stagecoach Road for picnic tables and restrooms and take the ½ mile hike downhill to the beach. For those not wanting to make the hike, you can hang out in the forested area on the bluff or in the grass clearing. Limited parking is also available at sea level near Trinidad Head, the large rock separating the beach from Trinidad Harbor.
Nice Walks and Views: Walk along the bluff to see the memorial lighthouse or put the baby in a carrier for a hike up to the original Trinidad Head Light, which is now closed to the public.
Activities for Toddlers: Toddlers will enjoy playing in the calm waters of College Cove, if it happens to be a warm day. There are also tide pools, dunes and interesting plants on the beach for children to explore.
Bathrooms: The only restrooms are at the state park entrance.
Perks for Parents: There are some great photography opportunities here, from coastal redwood forests to the natural arch on the north end of the beach. If you’ve been looking for a relaxing beach vacation but still want amenities for your baby or toddler, you’ll find it here.
Where to Stay with Kids: Accommodations in Trinidad are mostly basic cabins under the redwoods or expensive bed and breakfasts. Some families may be willing to overlook the more rustic cabin experience to wake up in the middle of a redwood forest like we did at Ocean Grove Lodge. For a more standard hotel experience, stay 20 minutes south in the old gold-mining town of Eureka.
Baby-friendly Restaurants: To pick up a picnic lunch, stop at Murphy’s Market, which is right off the freeway. For an earth-friendly meal in true Humboldt fashion, dine at the Beachcomber Café, an eatery offering vegetarian options and organic coffee.
What Else to Do: Take the stroller for a walk along the seaside shops, which sell locally-caught fish and crafts. Drive a few minutes north to Patrick’s Point State Park to hunt for agates on the beach. For kid-friendly redwood hikes, drive north on the 101 freeway to Lady Bird Johnson Grove or to the Trees of Mystery, which has a giant statue of Paul Bunyan and a treetop gondola ride.
Paul Bunyan photo from Flickr.