South College Cove

Pub date January 5, 2010
WriterGary Hanauer


Rating: A

For the most dependable warm weather, the best time to skinny-dip at the two adjoining beaches in Trinidad known as College Cove is mid-summer through fall.  Hopefully, you won’t be disappointed.  “It’s definitely a fun place,” says Jessica, a former student at nearby Humboldt State College.  “Agrees reader Jack:  “It has gorgeous clear water and great wind protection.”  Many clothed visitors also use the beach.

Legal status:

State property. Years ago, deputies raided the beach and handed out anti-nudity citations.

How to find it:

From Eureka, go north on Highway 101 and take the Trinidad turnoff. At the first intersection, instead of turning right onto Patrick’s Point Drive, keep going straight. Says reader “North Coast Mike”: “about two blocks past a grocery store, turn right at Stage Coach Road and follow it a quarter mile to a dirt parking lot on the left.  Look for the Trinidad State Beach sign.” Follow Stage Coach Road a quarter mile to a dirt parking lot on the left.  “If you end up at the lighthouse, you missed it, so turn around at the bottom of the hill,” adds Mike.  Follow the trail at the south end of the parking lot.

Here’s a map of College Cove

The beach:

A half-moon-shaped cove with around a quarter mile of sand.

The crowd:

Mainly young singles, most of them students. Expect around 50 visitors a day, with use equally divided between nudes and prudes.


Icy water; eroding trail; gawkers; occasional fog; law enforcement raids in the past.