Patrick’s Point State Park is home to some of the most dramatic and beautiful coastlines in Northern California. There are a ton of things to do here, so the best way to explore here is by camping in Patrick’s Point for the weekend.
In this post, we’re sharing exactly how you should spend 3 days in Patrick’s Point California, and all the bucket list activities you should put on your weekend itinerary. Let’s get started!
Planning a bigger trip to the California Coast? You might like these adventures nearby:
- The Ultimate Northern California Road Trip Route
- How To Find The Fairytale Fern Canyon Trail in the Redwoods
- 10 Best Things To Do In Redwoods National Park
- The Complete Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary
- The 15 Best Photography Locations in Oregon
History of Patrick’s Point State Park
The area of Patrick’s Point State Park is the native lands of the Yurok people. For generations, they lived among the abundant wildlife that resides in the temperate north coast of California and built a rich culture and community. Along the waterways, the Yurok people built homes out of wood (redwood!) and traveled through the river via wooden canoes. They fished salmon, hunted wildlife like deer and rabbits, and collected berries and nuts in the surrounding forest.
In the 1850s during the gold rush, many settlers from the east overwhelmed the area, forcing them out of their native homeland. Much effort has taken place to restore and revitalize the traditions and language of the Yurok community. In 1929, the California State Park purchased 640 acres of Patrick’s Point over a series of several years, to dedicate a section to creating a traditional Yurok village for education, history, and cultural preservation – now called Sumeg Village.
What Is There To Do At Patrick’s Point?
640-acres large and sitting in the head of California’s Coastal Redwoods, Patrick’s Point State Park is a must-see destination on any Northern California road trip. Perched right on the ocean headlands, the park is filled with a dense collection of spruce, pine, fire, alder, and hemlock trees that go right up to the ocean’s edge. During the spring and early summer, you can expect to find wildflower filled meadows among pockets of trees, and some of the dreamiest sunrises and sunsets on the California coast.
Hiking, wildlife viewing, and beachcombing are in abundance here at Patrick’s Point. There are plenty of opportunities to explore tide pools, collect treasures that wash up on the shore, and even go whale watching.
The enormous cliffside and incredible sea stacks and rock formations dominate the view for dramatic scenes at any time of day! One of the most popular things to do at Patrick’s Point is to visit the cliffs for brilliant sunrises and sunsets.
Love Whale Watching? See them migrate at Point Reyes Seashore Near San Francisco, CA
Best Time To Visit Patrick’s Point
Patrick’s Point State Park is a great place to visit all year long! Each season brings its own unique take on the landscape, so here’s a little preview of what you might expect:
Winter Season in Patrick’s Point
Winter in Patrick’s Point will likely be cold and wet. However, you will see very few visitors, which makes this an excellent place to seek solitude, and spot whales migrating south.
Spring Season in Patrick’s Point
Still very much part of the Pacific Northwest, you can expect Patrick’s Point State Park to be rainy in the early spring season. Wildflowers will emerge later in the spring, and new life will awaken everywhere! Expect high water levels in rivers, and make sure to bring waterproof boots and a rain jacket!
Summer Season in Patrick’s Point
The days will be warm and sunny, and the nights refreshing and cool. You can experience brilliant sunsets at the cliffs by the sea, and you will likely have long periods of nice weather.
Autumn Season in Patrick’s Point
The fall season in this area will bring lots of fog, rainstorms, and chilly evenings. However, this is a slow time of year for visitation in the park, so you can enjoy trails by yourself for some peace and quiet. It’s also a perfect place to spot whales migrating south for the winter!
Traveling to California in the Winter? Rea our San Francisco Winter Packing List!
Patrick’s Point Camping
The easiest and most convenient way to stay at Patrick’s Point is by reserving a campground in the park. There are three campgrounds to choose from: Abalone, Penn Creek, and Agate Beach. In total, there are 124 campsites with a fire pit, picnic table, and food cupboard. Water faucets and bathrooms are dispersed around the camp, each with close trailheads and access to beaches nearby.
If you are looking for a little more amenities in your accommodations, we recommend renting an Airbnb in one of the several nearby towns to Patrick’s Point. Here are some places we suggest starting your search:
- Trinidad, CA (Closest town, a 10-minute drive from the park)
- Arcata, CA (Art-centric town, a 20-minute drive from the park)
- Eureka, CA (The biggest town with most amenities, a 30-minute drive from Patrick’s Point)
What To Bring To Patrick’s Point State Park
Patrick’s Point is an adventurous destination. In order to make the most of your time in the park, it’s essential to pack these Pacific Northwest hiking essentials, but we’re including some more specific gear recommendations below:
Hiking Boots: In the park, you’ll be exploring on trails, over rocks, and near the water for a variety of terrain. Wear a waterproof hiking boot with ankle support to give your feet the most protection in this area of the California coast.
Day Backpack: To keep your hands free (for taking all those gorgeous photos!), pick a day backpack that’s comfortable, with chest and waist straps to distribute the weight. Bonus points if it has lots of outside pockets for easy access to snacks!
Camera: Patrick’s Point State Park is one of the most beautiful places to capture the California coastline. Whether you’ve got your phone or a DSLR camera, don’t forget to snap photos!
Rain Jacket: Still a part of the Pacific Northwest, Patrick’s Point can be a rainy location, especially between fall and spring season. To cover your bases in any weather situation, pack a lightweight rain jacket to stick in your backpack!
Water Bottle: It’s always a good idea to have water on-hand. Pack a tall & slim bottle like this 24 oz one from Hydro Flask to fit in your backpack’s side pocket.
Directions To Patrick’s Point State Park
Directions to Patrick’s Point State Park are pretty straightforward and easy to follow. The park is 25 miles north of Eureka, California and 20 miles south of the Prairie Creek Visitors Center in the Redwoods.
Located right off Highway 101, the nearest exit is Exit 734. Head west to the ocean, and you’ll see signs for the entrance of the park. Be prepared to pay a day-use fee, or check into your campground right at the front of the park!
The current day-use fee to visit Patrick’s Point (without a camping reservation) is $8.00 per vehicle. You will pay this at the entrance, and keep the tag on your dashboard during your time in the park.
Craving a longer road trip down Highway 101? Download your free Pacific Coast Highway Itinerary!
Patrick’s Point Attractions
So, what is there to see at Patrick’s Point? A lot, actually, and we’re listing the top activities to do in Patrick’s Point right here:
Patrick’s Point Wedding Rock is the most popular attraction at Patrick’s Point State Park. Just a short 0.2-mile trail will bring you to some of the best views of the Northern California coast, perched atop a rock with crashing surf all around you. There are several trails to explore here – spend some time taking in all the perspectives and viewpoints here!
You might also be wondering – yes, you can get married here! Permits are $250 and allow 25 guests for standing room, with a dramatic background of crashing waves for your ceremony or reception.
Love oceanside attractions? Visit Shark Fin Cove near San Francisco, California!
Agate Beach is the largest beach to explore in Patrick’s Point State Park. Park up in the parking lot and take the long, twisting staircase down to the beach.
This is arguably the best place to watch wildlife – whales offshore, sea lions, and marine birds can be in abundance here! Spend time walking along the shore (swimming is not recommended), flying a kite, or spend time climbing up to the several viewpoints!
Mussel Rock is a 0.3-mile short trail down to the water to explore tide pools and cool rock formations. The best (and safest) time to visit Mussel Rocks is during low tide. This will give you the most beach access, and space to wander and explore the cliffs and rocks.
Love exploring rocky beaches? Make sure to add Rialto Beach in Washington to your bucket list!
Rocky Point is an unmaintained access point to the edge of the cliffside, with more than 180-degree views of the ocean’s edge. This is a really great place to watch the sunset. Rock formations just offshore make dramatic performances as the waves crash against the edge!
Watch your step in this area. It may look like there is water access at Rocky Point, but it’s advised NOT to swim here. Rocky shores and unforgiving waves can be a dangerous combination, so stay away from the water’s edge.
Love dramatic views of the coastline? You need to plan a trip to Cape Flattery in Washington then!
Abalone Point is a viewpoint near the Abalone Campground. There is easy trail access from the campground’s loop drive. Along the trail, you can see views of the ocean and surrounding cliff edges. There is also pampas grass scattered everywhere – which is beautiful but also considered a noxious weed!
Visit A Similar View at Ecola State Park on Cannon Beach in Oregon.
Sumeg Village is a re-created traditional village of the Yurok community, showcasing the houses, culture, and lifestyle of the community that first settled here. Here, you can see the ways the people constructed their homes, and other buildings such a sweat lodges, changing houses, and gathering places.
You can also see objects of importance, like canoes carved out of redwood tree trunks and other artifacts to educate and inspire future generations.
Don’t forget to check out the Native Plant Garden nearby, showcasing local flowers, shrubs, and berries.
Hiking Trails Near Patrick’s Point State Park
Looking for more places to explore nearby Patrick’s Point State Park? Here are some of our favorite trails near Patrick’s Point, for more gorgeous Northern California sights.
Trinidad & Nearby Beaches: Trinidad is a small coastal town known for its abundant beach access and darling restaurants. Spend some time exploring Trinidad Head for coastal views, College Beach Cove (find the secret swing!), or Luffenholtz Beach for more adventure.
Redwood National & State Parks: Just north of Patrick’s Point is the Redwood National and State Parks! Consider exploring the magical Fern Canyon Trail, Tall Tree Trail, or the several groves filled with old-growth redwood trees.
Southern Oregon Coast: If you are continuing your adventure north, make sure to stop by the Southern Oregon Coast and explore the abundant Oregon coast hikes in this area. One of the most famous areas to hike is Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, including short trails with incredible views!