Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
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College Cove beach is one of Northern California's finest beaches. The cove makes a great swimming destination in the summer (albeit rather cold), a fun and encouraging place to surf year-round, and it shapes the beach with a natural beauty that is hard to rival. The trail accessing the beach is not so much long as it is steep. Crude stairs have been made to help ease the travel, but be prepared to work a little on your return to the parking lot. The beach is often visited by sea lions and seals, and, on occasion, whales can be seen spouting out in the Pacific Ocean on their way between Alaska and Baja California. You can find starfish, clams, sea urchins, mussels, and a variety of other creatures in the small tide pools that form when the tide recedes. The cove has a fairly large beach that is broken into two sections when high tide rolls in. Traveling from one side of the beach to the other is only recommended during low tide. Surrounding the beach are native pine and Sitka spruce trees and foliage such as ferns, moss, and coastal strawberry. The southern end of the beach hosts a naturally formed arch and offers a more secluded beach experience (due to the fact that it is farthest from the trail). Most of the surfing happens on the northern end of the beach, which is where the trail dumps out onto the beach. 

Logistics + Planning



Parking Pass

Not Required


Swimming. Beautiful cove. Solitude at times.


Steep trail. Can be crowded at times. High tide blocks southern beach access


Whale watching
Bird watching



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