Eureka California is a small town with big attractions. Located on the second-largest bay in California, Humboldt Bay, Eureka is a nature-lover's dream. Eureka and surrounding Humboldt County have crashing surf and dramatic seaside cliffs, but also the coastal redwood forests that are home to the tallest trees in the world. In the town itself, Eureka California reveals its history in an incredibly well-preserved historic downtown. In particular, photography buffs will want to get pictures of some of Eureka's Victorian homes.
Eureka California Image: Don Leonard, Courtesy Humboldt County CVB, redwoods.info
A walking tour of Eureka's Old Town district is a must, as this little town houses one of the finest collections of Victorian homes in the state. Hundreds of historic homes have been preserved in this area, and you can easily spend a morning or afternoon browsing the art galleries, boutiques, and artisan shops that have sprung up in the charming historic district. Be sure to bring your camera, as you'll want to snap a picture of the unique architecture. Carson Mansion, for example, is one of the most famous homes in Humboldt County, as well as the entire state of California—it is a turreted and towering masterpiece of the Queen Anne style of the late nineteenth century. Unfortunately it is a private club, and you may dine in the restaurant only if you have a membership at affiliated clubs, but that doesn't prevent you from taking pictures from outside.
Wildlife and nature lovers will definitely value a trip to Humboldt Bay, one of the top attractions of Humboldt County. It is one of the best places in the state to see a wide variety of birds, and it has the state's only open-ocean boat launch. Try sea kayaking in the lagoon or go out to try your hand at catching some of the abundant perch, salmon, and halibut. You can also go kayaking in the rivers that lead out into the bay. Alternatively, take a cruise on the Madaket, the oldest continuously operating boat in the country. The captain is a treasure trove of information about the history of the boat and of the area, and will point out wildlife along the way. There are plenty of hiking trails around the Bay with several state parks surrounding the area, and there are 400 varieties of birds waiting to be spotted at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Located in close proximity to Eureka California is the Redwood National and State Park System, where there are groves containing hundreds of old-growth redwoods. Some of the oldest redwood trees in the world are in this park system, with some giants reaching hundreds of feet high, even higher than the Statue of Liberty. One of the best places to access these trees is by driving along the Avenue of Giants, a famous scenic drive along historic Highway 101, where you drive into the midst of these majestic forests. There are a number of hiking trails right off the highway where you can stop for a walk through these amazing groves. There are even 3 redwood trees, the Chandelier, the Shrine, and the Klamath tree, that have had holes cut into them, and you can actually drive right through these trees!
After a day of enjoying the pristine coastline and the gorgeous forests, you'll be ready to call it a night at one of the Eureka hotels. There are a variety of motel and hotel chains, but you may prefer to stay in one of the quaint Victorian-styled inns and cottages located in Eureka California.
Top image: Ken Lund (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0