Just beyond the Eureka city boundaries, Humboldt County offers 20+ state, national, and community parks, forests, reserves, and more than 30 local beaches – each more pristine and awe-inspiring than the last.
Make Eureka your base camp. Spend the day driving north to college town Arcata, a bit farther to coastal Trinidad, and even more to Prairie Creek Redwoods.
Down south, visit cannabis capital Garberville, and be awe-struck by the tallest living trees in the entire world at Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
On your way back, don’t forget to pull off the highway and take in the 30-mile stretch known as Avenue of the Giants. This place is legendary for a reason.
Home to Cal Poly Humboldt, Arcata is located just 10 minutes north of Eureka and is framed by the Pacific Ocean on the west, forested hills on the east, the Mad River to the north, and Humboldt Bay to the south. At the center of Arcata is the Plaza, surrounded by various local businesses such as bookstores, coffee shops, and restaurants. You'll find a farmers' market on Saturday mornings, complete with music, hula-hoopers, and local goodies. Corporations aren't allowed in the downtown area — take a break from city life and come check out all of the unique local places to eat and drink.
McKinleyville is a picturesque community situated on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a backdrop of tree-covered mountains. This modern-day town, surrounded by rural beauty, has kept its leisurely-paced atmosphere, which makes McKinleyville unique. McKinleyville offers something for everyone, whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, looking for a quiet getaway, taking the family on a tour of Northern California, or looking to relocate.
Take a walk or ride your bike on the scenic Hammond Trail, a paved trail that runs parallel to the coast from one end of McKinleyville to the other. Visit local beaches to spend the day kayaking, surfing, fishing, or taking a leisurely stroll looking for treasures. Many outdoor adventures are just minutes away: bird watching, hiking, camping in State Parks and forests, some of the best river fishing in the world, whitewater rafting trips, horseback riding, or taking photos of Roosevelt elk in their natural habitat. You can also attend a variety of festivals all over Humboldt, including McKinleyville's very own Pony Express Days.
It doesn't get more picturesque than Trinidad. First, fortify yourself with a hearty bowl of clam chowder at one of the many seafood-centric restaurants. Then, head out to explore the beaches and trails that line this stunningly beautiful part of California's North Coast.
Hankering for some sunshine? Head east to Blue Lake (there's not a lake, but the town is nestled along the scenic Mad River) for some warmer weather in the summer. Grab a beer at the local Mad River Brewing Company and head to the river. Make sure to see if Dell'Arte — a world-renowned physical theatre school — is having a performance while you're in town.
Nestled between the California redwoods and fabled Lost Coast, the Victorian village of Ferndale is a hidden oasis of small-town charm, spectacular architecture, enchanting natural beauty, and welcoming Humboldt County culture. With its fusion of old-fashioned Americana and modern quirkiness — and a scenic setting straight out of the movies — this small but vibrant dairy town minutes from Eureka is the perfect destination for a fun family vacation, rugged outdoor adventure, or a romantic weekend getaway.
Don’t miss summer in Fortuna (aka the Friendly City), located just south of Eureka. Start with a week of thrilling events to celebrate the Fortuna Rodeo, then onto the epic Auto Expo, a spectacular 4th of July fireworks extravaganza, Hops in Humboldt (featuring over 50 breweries, sunshine, food, and live local music, but postponed due to COVID-19), and ending in the Apple Harvest Festival — it’s everything summer should be! Not in town for summer? You’ll still find tasty treats, historic charm, and flowers on every corner of Main Street.
Southern Humboldt's natural playground offers visitors the beauty of California in all its majesty. Giant redwoods, wild rivers and streams, and Pacific Ocean vistas that most only dream about. Hiking, biking, fishing, great weather, and the unparalleled bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables, grass-fed beef, and organic natural food are available at all turns.
For those who wish to elevate the magic, this is the place. Counter-culture was born here, and with it, a lasting legacy that resonates today. Southern Humboldt awaits with open arms those who seek an authentic cultural experience from America's cannabis heartland.
Head over to visitredwoods.com to plan the rest of your stay in Humboldt County.