Ssshhh! Don’t tell everyone but finding things to do in Humboldt County is one of the easiest ways to spend a weekend. You can find your roots and escape back to nature with forests and water sports available.
Or you can venture through history with the sweetest and most elegant Victorian-style buildings that look straight out of a movie set. There is no stress and no pressure; just simple beauty and enjoyment. A weekend almost doesn’t seem long enough!
How to Get to Humboldt County
There are two ways to visit Humboldt County, depending on where you’re travelling from and how much time you have. If you’re lucky enough to live fairly nearby, make it a ‘road trip getaway’. Fill up the gas tank and take the US 101 straight to Humboldt County. Allow extra driving time as you wind your way along the coastline and deep into the forest. It’s about 270-miles from San Francisco and 300 miles from Sacramento.
A nice quick alternative is to catch an early flight to Arcata-Eureka Airport. Grab a window seat for the amazing aerial view of both untouched coastline and lush green forests, separated by a swathe of farms and grasslands. You can easily pick up a rental car at the airport and still be able to access the cute towns like Ferndale, stunning beaches, and wonderful nature like Redwood National Parks.
Where to Stay in Humboldt County
Eureka is the ideal base camp, located in the heart of Humboldt County. It is close enough to visit the best of nature while still offering plenty of food and accommodation to make your stay comfortable.
- Inn at 2nd & C | 124 C St, Eureka, CA 95501 | IG: @innat2ndandc
Inn at 2nd & C is a beautifully restored boutique Inn, housed in the Historic Eagle House Victorian (circa 1888). You’ll find it overlooking the Humboldt Bay in Old Town Eureka. The Inn is close to neighbourhood shops and plenty of amazing restaurants. Inn at 2nd & C is family-owned and operated with that extra touch of ‘Old World’ hospitality. The interior features unique wood detailing, including a Theatre Ballroom and the Hotel Bar, Phatsy Kline’s. Ask about their weekly events and entertainment.
Things to Do in Humboldt County
There is plenty to do in Humboldt County, depending on where your heart lies. Choose a theme or blend it all together!
A Natural Escape
- Guided ocean kayak tour with Kayak Trinidad
Start your weekend with some of the most breathtaking coastal paddling you will ever find. Kayak Trinidad offers a range of kayak and paddleboard rentals at the Big Lagoon, a 25-minute drive north of Eureka. First-time paddlers can enjoy beginner-friendly lessons with an easy pace to enjoy the view. Those with a bit more experience can venture further afield or book in some advanced skill development like ‘Surf Zone Launching’. There are also plenty of opportunities to spy on a wide variety of wildlife at any time of year.
- Hike Trinidad Head at Trinidad State beach
If you prefer to keep your feet dry, head north and take a hike around Trinidad Head at Trinidad State Beach. This pet-friendly beach is located a little north of Trinidad Harbor and Pier. It is a long stretch of sandy beach, with easy access and plenty of parking available. This light hike is a great place to stop and stretch your legs. For the most spectacular views of the ocean, start your walk at the south end of the parking lot and follow the signs for the Trailhead. Travelling around the head in a clockwise direction will end up giving you a slight uphill challenge. If the view changes your mind about the water, Indian Beach is located a little south of Trinidad Pier. It’s a great spot for tide-pooling and kayaking.
Birdwatchers love visiting the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary. Located about a 15-minute drive north of Eureka, it is a prime spot for birdwatching, hiking, and simply enjoying the view of Arcata Bay. The sanctuary includes over 300 acres of freshwater marshes, salt marsh, tidal sloughs, grassy uplands, and mudflats. There are also around 5 miles of walking and biking paths open to the public, giving nature-lovers plenty to see at any time of year. The sanctuary is an innovative wastewater treatment facility for the City of Arcata, turning wastewater into a valuable resource. Over 270 species of birds use the sanctuary as either a home or migratory resting place; it’s part of a major migratory route for thousands of birds that breed in the far north and winter in California, Mexico and Central and Southern America. The Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center on south “G” Street has a bookstore, free maps and literature, interpretive displays, bird lists, and a log of recent bird sightings
- Sequoia Park Zoo | IG: @sequoiaparkzoo | sequoiaparkzoo.net
Humboldt County is home to California’s oldest zoo, Sequoia Park Zoo. It’s a small zoo focused on conservation and education. One of the highlights at the zoo is the Redwood SkyWalk, the longest skywalk in the Western US. Recently opened, the Sky Walk offers a spectacular birds-eye view of California’s Redwood Forest. It’s open every day of the week except Monday and has a great cafe on site for Zoo guests.
Adjacent to the zoo is Sequoia Park. It consists of almost 70 acres of redwoods, springs, creeks, meadows, and a hidden grotto with waterfalls. There are miles of paved and dirt trails to explore, taking you deep into the forest to be close to nature.
- Capture sunset at Moonstone, Little River or Clam Beach
The West Coast offers one extra special treat you do not want to miss: sunset over the ocean. There are a few secret spots throughout Humboldt County but our favourites are Moonstone Beach, Little River Beach and Clam Beach. At Moonstone Beach, there is a great walking path peppered with driftwood sculptures left by previous visitors. Little River Beach and Clam Beach are a short 5-minute drive south and offer similar views to enjoy. To make your sunset even more breathtaking, book a table at Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill, with the best views over Moonstone Beach and out to sea.
Butterfat Palaces in Cream City
Ferndale is one of the prettiest towns in all of California, with its Victorian-style buildings set against the magnificent Redwood Forest and definitely worthy of a day trip.
The picturesque town is full of buildings that are often referred to as ‘Butterfat Palaces’, thanks to the old money made from the butter and dairy industry in Humboldt County. It’s the same reason behind Ferndale’s nickname, ‘Cream City’. The historical buildings are beautiful and characteristic, giving Ferndale a true Old-Town air. It’s a great place for shopping and exploring the history of the area.
Places to Eat in Humboldt County
Check out this European-style bistro with a great range of casual organic bites and baked goods. Open for breakfast, lunch, and anything in between, you can dine-in or takeaway for a picnic brunch while exploring the natural surroundings. They also have amazing artisanal coffees and a selection of local wines on offer.
- Humboldt Bay Provisions | IG: @humboldtbayprovisions | 205 G St, Eureka | Humboldt Bay Provisions
This is the place you go for locally-made Humboldt Bay cuisine. The focus is Humboldt County, with the menu featuring only locally-made food and drink. It is a fantastic way to gain some foodie-insight for the area. Stay and enjoy the delicious meals at the reclaimed redwood bar, along with a range of local beers, wines, ciders and kombucha available. You can also ask to “pack and go” and maybe catch the sunset on the water. For seafood lovers, Humboldt Bay Provisions’ Oyster bar continues to shine under the supervision of local oyster farmer Captain Sebastian. Choose from the selection of raw and broiled oysters with a variety of gourmet sauces.
- Salt Fish House in Arcata | Home | SALT Fish House, Arcata, CA | 935 I St, Arcata
If the salty sea air makes you hunger for more, Salt Fish House offers a true Fish House experience. They serve up all the seaside classics from fresh local oysters to traditional broiled Maine lobster. Salt also offers original seafood offerings like seasonal chipotle glazed halibut, which are absolutely worth travelling for! Partner your meal with handcrafted cocktails from the chef’s menu, using local and sustainable food.
- Dick Taylor Chocolate | 4 West 4th St, Eureka | Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate – Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (dicktaylorchocolate.com)
For a sweet treat, stop by the tasting room at Dick Taylor Chocolates. Known for their small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolates, the tasting room is open 6-days a week with samples galore! This chocolate is quality over quantity for every taste. We adore the vegan fudge bars and s’more kits for every age. Take your favourites home, knowing you can order more online–but why would you when you can always revisit Humboldt County for more?
Humboldt County offers more than you can possibly fit in a weekend! There is character in every town and sweet surprises around every corner. Our guide is always a great place to start so keep it handy for when you come back again and again.