Moonstone Beach County Park

Written by’s Local Expert


Moonstone Beach County Park in Trinidad, California, is along 100 Moonstone Beach Road, right on the coastline. This is a county-managed park with some outstanding access to the beach, the soft, cool water, and some of the best rock features in the area. There's no cost to visit, and your dog is free to come and run, even off-leash.

To get to the park, turn off the Main Street area in Trinidad, heading towards the waterfront onto Scenic Drive. This isn't a long road, but it does wind around a bit. You'll see a sign about the park but look for the Moonstone Grill first. The park itself is just under the restaurant, and there's parking right in that area.

An alternative route is to take 101 North to the Westhaven Exist, 726A. Then, make a left at Westhaven Drive S. This will bring you to Scenic Drive. Take a left there and then a right once you reach Moonstone Beach Road. The road dead ends at the beach.

Best Time To Visit Moonstone Beach

Visiting at sun up is probably one of the best experiences a person can have here as it's picturesque with the rock formations along the edge of the beach, the waves coming in, and the beautiful pink sky in the background as the sun rises for the day.

When I visited, I came to have some fun in the water. Surfing is one of the best activities with solid waves that are not overly aggressive but just enough to keep you on your feet. It's possible to surf all day long here without getting tired of the changing waves. Since there are not always a lot of people in this area, especially during the week, it's a welcoming experience.

Our Favorite Activities on Moonstone Beach

When you don't want to get in the water, Moonstone Beach is perfect for horseback riding. The soft sand creates the perfect path, and it's easy enough to bring your horse down from the trails behind the beach. The area is clean and well-maintained, which makes it a welcoming experience to most. When I visited, we came early in the day to surf and then later for horseback riding. It's quite a captivating and peaceful experience at sundown and sun up.

Others ride their bike or sit in the sand to build sandcastles while still others just wade through the water. Trinidad's weather is welcoming throughout the year to do this. Kids love to splash in the waves as they come up onto the larger beach area. It's a lot of fun.

Moonstone Beach County Park sits at the mouth of Little River and offers a nice break from touring the city's historic area (which is only a few minutes away). The larger, open area of water is ideal for surfing, but there's also the slower river area which is perfect for the kids splashing and trying to locate shells.

One of the best experiences here is to sit and take some photos. There are the rocks, the beach, and the waves to view. Out into the distance in the water is Camel Rock, which is easy to recognize with its two-humped rock formations. When the tide is lower, take the time to visit the hidden caves in this area. They are on the north side of the beach and feel as though they are hidden behind them. It's quite mesmerizing to find them, almost as if you're on a treasure hunt.

It's also possible to visit Little River State Beach. It's located a short walk from the mouth of the river to the south. I highly recommend taking a walk here and then crossing over the shallow water to get to the other side, where there are far fewer crowds.

Swimming at Moonstone Beach (and Little River) is possible, but likely best to do just during the warmer weather. Still, even in the middle of winter, a visit here is well worth it, especially on horseback riding along the shoreline. There's lots of sand, rocks to explore, and even some sea caves to check out here. In the warmer weather, you can surf as well as kayak throughout this portion of the river. There are some nearby marinas and slips to take your boat into the water as well.

Moonstone Beach Rules

There are a few things to know if you're visiting Moonstone Beach for the first time. First, there's not a lot of parking, so it's best to walk from Scenic Drive or simply come when there are fewer people in the area. It's only available during the day, from 5 am through 11:45 pm each day of the week.

The rocks throughout the beach area are quite beautiful, but you should stay off of them as some are loose and could fall. There's no jumping into the water here either.

What’s Included

  • Day-use only, but access is completely free.

Local Tips

  • Incredible place to bring your dogs or ride horses along the shore! Dogs are allowed off leash here.
  • Be careful when walking on the rocks, they can be unstable so it's best to avoid them.
  • Hidden caves to explore at lower tides!


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