Eighty miles below the Oregon border, Trinidad Pier is the state’s northernmost oceanfront pier and sits on one of the most ruggedly beautiful stretches of California coastline. This is redwood country, where the jagged edge of the Pacific meets ancient emerald forests. Refurbished in 2012, the pier juts into Trinidad Harbor, a popular crabbing spot, and sits in the shadow of a massive rock crowned in greenery.
Take an exploratory walk along the cement pier and beachcomb some of the most breathtaking coastline you’ll ever encounter, then head to Seascape Restaurant on the pier for a hearty bowl of chowder and a local Humboldt County microbrew. You’ll also want to leave time to tour the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse and the quaint village of Trinidad (pop. 360), also filled with terrific dining options. To stretch your legs more, drive 15 minutes north to Patrick’s Point State Park for a hike to Wedding Rock.
Romance finds a home in this idyllic coastal region, where ocean fog rolls in from the ocean to blanket hushed redwood forests, and whales spout offshore. Along the coast, artists set up their easels to paint scenes of crashing surf and whitewashed cottages wrapped in rose-filled gardens.
Each year, December through May, look to the sea to witness roughly 15,000 gray whales swimming south for the summer.
It’s also a place where a new generation of farmers and winemakers focus on preserving the land as well as producing amazing food and wine. Favorite escapes include the romantic hamlet of Mendocino, roughly a 3-hour drive up the coast from San Francisco, and Eureka, a former logging town 2 hours further north, and the gateway to breathtaking Redwoods National and State Parks.
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