Eureka (Californ-I-A)! A vacation!

I’m going to be spending a day in the Eureka, CA area next week and I seem to remember that one or more of you are from this area. Any kid-friendly tourist stops you’d recommend?

Eureka’s ugly. It’s a blue-collar working town with a depressed economy due to the troubled fishing and timber industries that used to be the area’s largest employers (although it’s worth driving around Old Town to look at the old Victorian houses and then walk around the shops there). But the surrounding area, Humboldt County, is spectacular.

Eight miles north of Eureka is Arcata, the home of Humboldt State U. It’s a great town. People are very friendly and open-minded. The center of town has a beautiful plaza where there are often interesting festivals or events on the weekends. Arcata was on the cover of Time magazine once for its innovative sewage treatment system. While it might seem hard to believe, rather than build a new traditional treatment plant, Arcata built a series of well-engineered ponds that treat the effluent and which have turned into a truly beautiful area. Bird watchers come there from around the world as it boasts abundant species not only of birds but other wildlife, and if time’s short that’s a great place for a beautiful walk. Arcata also has lots of good breakfast restaurants (eg Los Bagels, Ramones Bakery, or halfway between Eureka and Arcata the Samoa Cookhouse for a gargantuan breakfast in the old mill workers wood-floored chow room), and if you want a hot tub in a private enclosure in a beautiful outdoor setting (not like these crappy Taiwanese cement facilities) then try Finnish Country Saunas & Tubs.

Hopefully your kids like the great outdoors, because that’s the best thing about Humboldt County: lots of beautiful beaches (wide and sandy, rocky and rugged, whatever suits your fancy); awesome redwood forests (the quickest access to a great redwood grove is just behind the HSU campus; but Avenue of the Giants which is a half hour north of Arcata is also great; as is Redwoods National Park a half hour to the south).

The town of Trinidad, just 15 minutes north of Arcata is very nice. Great seafood restaurant there right down at the bottom of the hill on the bay. And after eating you can climb up the giant rock overlooking the bay or walk on the pier or the beach. Before leaving Trinidad stop at Katy’s smokehouse for the best smoked salmon, albacore, etc in the world.

Many people like to visit or stay in Ferndale, a pleasant dairy town 15 minutes south of Eureka, full of old Victorian houses and interesting streets to walk around and shops to peek in. Many of those Victorians are B&Bs that are popular with visitors, but there are also Victorian B&Bs in Arcata, and more modern B&Bs north of Trinidad.

What if you (or the kids) get tired of hiking around. :? There’s shopping at the Bayshore Mall I guess. Well, I’m about tapped out for now. Check out the Northcoast Journal online. (

Have fun.

Thanks for the information, MT. Looks like we’ll be stopping in Arcata instead! The exact place isn’t important–I just needed a place to stop off for the night about half-way between SF and our destination in Oregon. I think the kids will enjoy the redwoods, and that will save us from having to stop off at Muir Woods on the way up. Some guanxi is headed your way.

Thanks Jeff. I assume you’ll be driving up 101 from SF to Eureka (there’s no alternative). It’s beautiful but the road’s very curvy and it’ll take 5 or 6 hours. Then I assume you’ll be cutting across from Crescent City over to Grants Pass, Oregon. That, too, is very curvy, going through mountains and forest. After Grants Pass you can fly.

Yep, 101 to Eureka, and then 101 the rest of the way, too. I’m heading to Reedsport, a little North of Coos Bay.

What a beautiful drive all the way. Don’t rush it. The journey is the trip… or the trip is the destination. . . or, um, wherever you go there you are. . . Whatever, you get the point. Have a nice drive.

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. We might end up staying 2 days in the area. Any B&B or hotel recommendations? As of now, we’ll probably stay at the Best Western in Arcata, but I’ve been looking into some B&B’s. It’s just hard to get a good feel for them on the Internet.

Best Western in Arcata’s a decent place to stay. There are some decent B&Bs in Arcata but I don’t remember the names now. North of Trinidad are a few real nice ones too (Whales Inn?) in the forest overlooking the ocean. I’ll check later. Feel free to question me about anything in that area, I’ve spent a few years there.