Local Spots

Things to Do in Eureka California

Discover the top attractions and hidden gems in Eureka, California, from its historic Old Town to scenic outdoor adventures and vibrant local culture.

A picturesque landscape of Eureka, California devoid of people and brand names. In the forefront, display the charm of its Victorian architecture in sunny weather. Further behind, show a harbor filled with colorful and nondescriptive fishing boats under a blue sky. Lastly, the redwood forests that surround the town should be visible in the distance, blanketing the rolling hills with lush greenery.

Explore the Redwood Forests

Your adventure in Eureka simply isn’t complete without exploring the majestic Redwood forests. These towering trees, some of the tallest and oldest in the world, offer a surreal experience.

The most popular spot is the Redwood National and State Parks. These parks are packed with trails that cater to both inexperienced hikers and seasoned trekkers.

An early morning walk in the forest can be incredibly refreshing. The foliage filters the sunlight beautifully, creating an ethereal atmosphere that you just have to see to believe.

People say the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail is an easy yet rewarding option, spanning 1.5 miles through stunning landscapes. You might find it particularly enchanting during the spring months when the forest floor is blanketed with wildflowers.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife. Deer, elk, and numerous bird species call this forest their home.

Don’t forget to bring a good pair of hiking boots. One highly rated option is the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot. These boots are praised for their comfort and durability. They also have a waterproof feature that can be a lifesaver during unexpected rain showers


  • Comfortable fit
  • Durable material
  • Waterproof
  • Good ankle support


  • May feel slightly heavy for some
  • Break-in period needed

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Discover Historic Old Town

Another must-visit area is Old Town Eureka. This historic district is filled with beautifully restored buildings that harken back to the Gold Rush era.

Wandering through Old Town feels like stepping into a different time, with cobblestone streets and unique shops that capture the local culture.

You might want to start your tour at the Clarke Historical Museum. This museum houses a diverse range of artifacts that tell the story of Humboldt County’s rich history.

People often enjoy the quaint boutiques scattered around Old Town. Stores like Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate offer some of the best artisan chocolates. You might be tempted to buy a few bars as gifts or to satisfy your own sweet tooth.

If you’re into antiques, a visit to Many Hands Gallery is a must. This shop has a fascinating collection of antiques and locally-made crafts.

Hungry after all that exploring? Samoa Cookhouse is a historic eatery that serves traditional American meals. This place is said to have generous portions and a cozy, rustic ambiance that sets it apart from other dining spots.

For those who appreciate fine dining, Restaurant 301 is an excellent choice. This restaurant is known for its farm-to-table cuisine and extensive wine list. They even have vegetarian options that don’t compromise on flavor.

The crowds can get heavy in the summer, particularly during events like the Fourth of July fireworks, so visiting in late spring or early fall can offer a more relaxed experience.

Visit the Morris Graves Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts will find plenty to love at the Morris Graves Museum of Art. The museum offers a broad array of collections from local artists, featuring contemporary art, photography, and sculpture.

The museum also hosts rotating exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see. If you’re someone who enjoys interactive displays, you’ll appreciate the museum’s efforts to involve the community in its exhibits.

Admission is quite affordable, and sometimes they offer free entry days, especially during local holidays. This makes it an excellent option if you’re looking to save some money while enjoying high-quality art.

Another great aspect of the Morris Graves Museum is their children’s programs. If you’re traveling with kids, they offer workshops and hands-on activities that can keep the young ones engaged.

You might even want to pick up some art supplies at the museum’s gift shop. It’s said that people recommend the Staedtler Mars Lumograph Art Drawing Set if you want to dive into drawing or sketching. This drawing set is reputed for its high-quality pencils and excellent range of hardness, making it great for both beginners and experienced artists.


  • High-quality pencils
  • Wide range of hardness
  • Durable
  • Good for detailed work


  • More expensive than basic sets
  • Requires additional tools for sharpening and erasing

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Experience Sequoia Park Zoo

If you have a soft spot for animals, Sequoia Park Zoo is a wonderful destination. This zoo isn’t just for kids, although they will absolutely love it.

Sequoia Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in California, and it hosts a variety of animals, from red pandas to flamingos. The zoo’s compact size makes it easy to navigate, so you won’t feel overwhelmed.

One of the highlights here is the walk-through aviary where you can get up close with numerous bird species. It’s said to be a fascinating experience for both youngsters and adults.

Another noteworthy feature is the Redwood Sky Walk. This newly added attraction allows you to walk among the treetops, offering a bird’s-eye view of the majestic redwoods. Admission might seem a bit steep, but the experience is well worth it according to visitors.

Have your camera ready, as there are plenty of photo opportunities in this picturesque setting.

Consider bringing along a compact, easy-to-use camera like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. People find it ideal for capturing high-quality photos without having to fuss over complicated settings.


  • High-quality images
  • User-friendly interface
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Good battery life


  • Limited lens options
  • No weather sealing

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Stroll Along the Waterfront

One of the simple yet delightful joys of visiting Eureka is taking a leisurely stroll along the waterfront. The boardwalk offers stunning views of Humboldt Bay and is a great place to relax and unwind.

You’ll often find local artists showcasing their work or musicians adding to the ambiance with live performances. It’s a great spot to soak in the local culture.

You might want to check out the Madaket Harbor Cruise, which provides a narrated tour of the bay. It is said to be an insightful trip that covers the history of the area along with stunning natural views.

You can also rent kayaks or paddleboards for a more hands-on experience. Kayaking in the calm waters of Humboldt Bay can be incredibly peaceful and a good workout too.

If you’re hungry, there are several waterfront restaurants where you can enjoy fresh seafood while watching the sun set over the bay. Restaurants like Cafe Waterfront are popular for their delicious clam chowder and lively atmosphere.

Make sure to visit during the summer months when the weather is pleasant and the number of activities increases. Late evening walks are especially enjoyable as the town lights reflect beautifully on the water.

Explore Humboldt Botanical Gardens

The Humboldt Botanical Gardens are another hidden gem in Eureka, California. The gardens span across 44 acres and are filled with diverse plant collections that cater to both botany enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

People often find the Lost Coast Brewery Native Plant Garden a standout feature. It’s said that this garden hosts a variety of native plants that thrive in the local climate. You might find it fascinating to see how different plant species adapt to their environment.

One way to fully enjoy your visit is to take one of the guided tours. These tours provide in-depth information about the plants and their significance. Many say the docents are both knowledgeable and friendly, making the experience even more enjoyable.

If you’re planning a family outing, the Children’s Garden offers interactive displays and activities that can keep young ones entertained. The butterfly garden, in particular, is a hit among kids and adults alike.

The admission fees are quite reasonable, and sometimes special discounted rates are available during community events or holidays.

Attend Arts Alive!

Eureka’s Arts Alive! event is a must-see if you have a penchant for local art and music. Held on the first Saturday of each month, this event transforms Old Town into a vibrant arts hub.

Local galleries, shops, and businesses are said to stay open late, hosting new art exhibits and live performances. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet local artists and musicians, and maybe even take home a piece of Eureka’s unique artistic culture.

You might find that attending Arts Alive! makes you appreciate the local community even more. The event is free to attend, making it an accessible way to enjoy an evening out.

Some shops offer special discounts during the event, so it’s also a good time to do some shopping. You could find unique items that aren’t available anywhere else.

If you’re into photography, bringing a quality camera can help you capture the lively atmosphere. A popular choice is the Fujifilm X-T4, which people say is perfect for low-light photography and capturing vibrant colors.


  • Excellent image quality
  • Sturdy build
  • Great for low-light photography
  • Versatile lens options


  • More expensive than entry-level options
  • Complex menu system

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Discover the Lost Coast Brewery

If you’re a beer aficionado, a visit to the Lost Coast Brewery should be on your list. This beloved local brewery offers an array of craft beers that are highly touted for their unique flavors and high quality.

People frequently visit the brewery for both the delightful brews and the lively atmosphere. The brewery offers tours that give you a behind-the-scenes look at their brewing process. It’s said to be educational and fun, especially if you’re passionate about craft beer.

The Brewery Taproom is a relaxed place to sample their various creations. Pints, flights, and growlers are available, making it easy to try a little bit of everything.

It’s a good idea to pair your beer with some food from their menu. They offer classic pub fare that complements their beverages perfectly.

You might want to take some beer home as a souvenir or for a gathering. Growlers are available for purchase and can be refilled on your next visit.

Since it’s a popular spot, the brewery can get quite busy during weekends, so visiting on a weekday might offer a more relaxed experience.

Check Out the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum

The Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum is another fantastic spot for history buffs. Located near the scenic Eureka Marina, this museum delves into the maritime history of Humboldt Bay and the surrounding areas.

The exhibits here are quite engaging. You might find displays of historic ships, maritime tools, and local artifacts particularly intriguing. Many say the museum is small yet packed with interesting information.

One of the highlights of the museum is the tour of the historic tugboat, the Humboldt Bay Life-Saving Service, moored nearby. It’s a fascinating way to get a glimpse into the maritime operations of the past.

The museum is volunteer-run, and the staff are incredibly passionate about maritime history. They’re always happy to share stories and insights, which can make your visit even more enriching.

It’s also conveniently located, making it easy to combine with other nearby attractions. Admission is usually quite affordable, and you might even find some family or group discounts.

Relax at Clam Beach County Park

Looking for a serene beach day? Clam Beach County Park is the answer. This expansive beach is perfect for those who enjoy a quieter, more laid-back experience.

Many say the beach is an ideal location for picnicking, sunbathing, or simply relaxing with a book. You might find the ocean views incredibly calming.

The beach is also popular for kite flying and beachcombing. Kids usually love exploring the shoreline, searching for shells and interesting sea creatures.

If you’re into fishing, Clam Beach is a good spot to cast a line. You’ll need a California fishing license, but the potential for a good catch is worth it.

For those who are adventurous, the Hammond Coastal Trail runs through Clam Beach. It’s said to offer stunning views and is perfect for walking or cycling.

Even though the beach can get busy during summer weekends, it’s spacious enough that you can still find a quiet spot to unwind.

If you’re planning a longer stay, consider bringing a portable beach shade. Reviews suggest that the Pacific Breeze Easy Setup Beach Tent is both durable and easy to set up, making it a great choice for family outings.


  • Easy to set up
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Provides excellent shade
  • Durable material


  • Limited interior space
  • Can be difficult to pack back into the bag

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Enjoy a Day at Fort Humboldt State Historic Park

History buffs will appreciate a visit to Fort Humboldt State Historic Park. This site offers a look into California’s military history and the early interactions between settlers and Native American tribes.

The park’s grounds are said to be well-maintained and provide a peaceful setting for a leisurely walk. You might find the reconstructed buildings and informative plaques particularly enlightening.

The Adler House Museum within the park is another point of interest. It’s filled with artifacts from the 19th century, offering a glimpse into the lives of the people who once lived there.

People often say the view from Fort Humboldt is another highlight. From the park, you can see sweeping views of Humboldt Bay, which are stunning, especially during sunrise or sunset.

Visiting the park is generally free, although some special exhibits or events may have a small entry fee. It’s a cost-effective way to spend a day immersed in history.

While in the area, you might also want to explore some hidden coastal retreats for serene escapes, as these spots often offer the same tranquility and natural beauty.

Visit the Hikshari’ Trail

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Hikshari’ Trail is a must-visit. This scenic trail runs along the southern portion of the Eureka Waterfront Trail, offering beautiful views of the bay and wetlands.

It’s said that the trail is perfect for walking, jogging, and cycling. You might find the varied terrain and well-maintained paths ideal for a leisurely stroll or a brisk workout.

The trail also offers bird-watching opportunities. Keep an eye out for native species like the great blue heron and the snowy egret.

If you’re bringing your dog, they are allowed on the trail as long as they are leashed. This makes it a great place for a family outing, including your furry friend.

You could pack a small picnic to enjoy along the way. There are several picnic tables and benches where you can sit and take in the natural beauty.

For those interested in photography, the Golden Hour—the time shortly after sunrise or before sunset—offers the best lighting for fantastic photos.

Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. A pair like the Asics Gel-Venture 7 is highly recommended. People say these shoes provide excellent support and grip, making them perfect for trail walking or running.


  • Comfortable fit
  • Good traction
  • Durable
  • Good arch support


  • Not waterproof
  • Limited color options

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Attend the Kinetic Grand Championship

Another unique experience in Eureka is attending the Kinetic Grand Championship. This quirky event is a three-day race that features all-terrain, human-powered art sculptures.

It’s said to be a fun-filled event that combines creativity, engineering, and athleticism. You might find it fascinating to watch the elaborately designed sculptures navigate through various terrains, including sand, water, and mud.

The event usually takes place over Memorial Day weekend and attracts participants and spectators from all over the country.

Many people bring picnic setups and make a day out of it, enjoying the festive atmosphere. There are usually food vendors and stalls selling unique crafts and souvenirs.

If you’re visiting during the event, it’s a good idea to arrive early to find a good viewing spot. The race kicks off in Arcata and finishes in Ferndale, but it passes through Eureka, making it easy to catch a glimpse of the action in town.

Given the nature of the event, casual, comfortable attire is recommended. Many spectators also bring portable camping chairs for more comfortable viewing.

If you’re planning on staying in the area for a few days, it might be worthwhile to check out highly-rated bed and breakfast establishments for a cozy and convenient stay.

Explore the Victorian Architecture

Eureka is renowned for its stunning Victorian architecture, and no visit is complete without marveling at some of its most iconic buildings.

The crown jewel of Victorian architecture here is the Carson Mansion. This 19th-century mansion is considered one of the most photographed Victorian houses in the country.

Although the mansion is private property and not open to the public, you can still admire its intricate design from the outside. The house is a stunning example of Queen Anne style architecture.

Just across the street is the Pink Lady, another beautiful Victorian home. Unlike the Carson Mansion, the Pink Lady can be rented for events, making it more accessible for those interested in Victorian interiors.

Walking tours are also available that take you through Eureka’s historic neighborhoods. These tours provide an excellent overview of the architectural history and significance of the buildings.

If you’re interested in learning more about the architectural styles, the Clarke Historical Museum offers exhibits that delve into the history of these beautiful homes.

Visiting Eureka during the annual Clarke Museum Home Tour event is especially rewarding, as several private historic homes are opened to the public for tours.

Dine at Local Restaurants

Food is an essential part of any travel experience, and Eureka has no shortage of exceptional dining options.

One of the top-rated spots is Brick & Fire Bistro. The restaurant is celebrated for its wood-fired pizzas and creative, locally-sourced dishes.

For seafood lovers, Café Waterfront offers a variety of fresh and delicious options. People rave about the clam chowder and the fish and chips.

Another local favorite is Chapala Café, a family-owned Mexican restaurant. It’s famous for its generous portions and authentic flavors.

If you fancy a more upscale dining experience, Oberon Grill is an excellent choice. This sophisticated eatery is known for its fresh seafood and charming ambiance.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ll be delighted to find several options at the Wild Oak Café. This spot is loved for its plant-based menu and cozy atmosphere.

During the summer, many of these restaurants offer additional outdoor seating, making it a perfect time to enjoy your meal with a view of the bay.

Visit Local Markets

The local markets in Eureka provide a fantastic opportunity to mingle with locals and sample fresh, regional produce.

The Eureka Farmers’ Market is held every Tuesday in Old Town and is a bustling hub of activity. You’ll find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to artisanal bread.

Support local farmers and artisans by picking up some homemade jams, cheeses, or baked goods. People often say that the market’s atmosphere is vibrant and welcoming.

If you’re visiting during the weekend, check out the Arcata Plaza Farmers’ Market, just a short drive away. This market is said to be one of the best in the area, offering a diverse range of products.

Kids can enjoy the variety of samples and the lively performance by local musicians. It’s a great way to spend a leisurely morning.

For something unique, you might want to visit the North Coast Co-op. This grocery store focuses on organic and locally-sourced products. It’s an excellent place to pick up some snacks for your adventures.

Visiting local markets can also help you save money while traveling, as you get fresh produce and other items at reasonable prices.

If you’re looking for tips on healthy eating and more ways to rejuvenate your mind and body, you might find value in exploring holistic health options.

Take a Scenic Drive

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Eureka and its surroundings is by taking a scenic drive.

The Redwood Highway (Highway 101) offers some of the most breathtaking views of the California coast and the majestic redwoods.

Another popular route is the Avenue of the Giants. This scenic drive takes you through towering redwoods and offers several spots to pull over for a hike or a picnic.

You might want to download an audio guide for the drive. It’s said to provide interesting insights into the history and ecology of the area as you drive through.

Driving through the Lost Coast is another exciting option. This remote and rugged coastline is known for its dramatic scenery and less-traveled roads.

This route can be challenging due to its narrow and winding roads, so it’s best suited for experienced drivers. However, the stunning views make it well worth the effort.

For those who enjoy cycling, the Lost Coast offers excellent biking trails that you might find exhilarating and scenic.

If you’re planning a long drive, consider bringing a reliable GPS device. The Garmin DriveSmart 65 is highly recommended for its user-friendly interface and accurate directions.


  • Easy to use
  • Accurate mapping
  • Large, clear display
  • Voice-activated navigation


  • Higher price point
  • Requires frequent updates

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Spend a Day at the Beach

With its coastal location, Eureka offers several beautiful beaches perfect for a day of sun and sand.

One popular destination is Moonstone Beach, located just north of Eureka. It’s known for its surfing opportunities and scenic cliffs.

If you’re new to surfing, consider taking a lesson from a local surf school. They often provide rental equipment and expert instruction for beginners.

For a quieter beach experience, Trinidad State Beach is a fantastic choice. It’s a bit more secluded, making it ideal for a peaceful getaway.

You might enjoy exploring the tide pools at low tide, which are teeming with marine life.

Don’t forget to pack essentials like sunscreen and a good beach towel. The Rainleaf Microfiber Towel is frequently praised for its quick-drying and compact features, making it a practical choice for beachgoers.


  • Quick-drying
  • Lightweight
  • Compact and easy to pack
  • Soft texture


  • May feel less absorbent than traditional towels
  • Limited color options

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Attend the Humboldt County Fair

If you’re in Eureka during late summer, the Humboldt County Fair is a must-visit event. This annual fair takes place in nearby Ferndale and offers a range of activities for all ages.

You might enjoy the diverse array of attractions including livestock shows, carnival rides, and live performances.

One highlight of the fair is the horse racing events. It’s said to be an exciting experience with a lively atmosphere.

The fair also features a wide variety of food vendors. From classic carnival treats like cotton candy and funnel cakes to local delicacies, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your cravings.

Visiting during the fair can be a fantastic way to experience the local culture and community. It’s a fun-filled event that makes for a memorable day out.

For those who love photography, capturing the fair’s vibrant scenes can be a lot of fun. The evening light and colorful attractions provide plenty of opportunities for stunning shots.

With so many activities, it’s easy to spend an entire day at the fair. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring along a portable phone charger to stay connected and capture every moment.

Enjoy Family Fun at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds

Redwood Acres Fairgrounds is another excellent destination for family fun in Eureka. This venue hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including fairs, festivals, and car shows.

The fairgrounds are spacious and well-maintained, providing ample room for activities and entertainment.

During the summer, the Humboldt County Fair at Redwood Acres is a highlight for families. The fair features a petting zoo, carnival rides, and live music that everyone can enjoy.

Many families say that the fairgrounds offer a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere, making it an ideal place for a day out.

In addition to fairs, the fairgrounds also host flea markets, craft shows, and other community events. These events are a great way to discover local artists and artisans and pick up unique souvenirs.

If you’re visiting with kids, be sure to check the event schedule in advance. There are often special activities and attractions geared towards younger visitors.

With its diverse range of events and activities, Redwood Acres Fairgrounds offer something for everyone in the family.

Explore the Redwood Discovery Museum

The Redwood Discovery Museum is a fantastic place to visit with kids. Located in the heart of Eureka, this interactive museum focuses on hands-on learning and discovery.

The museum offers a variety of exhibits designed to engage children in science, art, and nature. Interactive displays allow kids to learn through play, making it a fun and educational experience.

People often find the rotating exhibits particularly engaging, as they offer new and exciting learning opportunities with each visit.

The museum also hosts special events and workshops, providing even more ways for children to explore and learn.

Admission is affordable, and family memberships are available for those who plan to visit frequently.

Many parents say that the museum’s friendly and knowledgeable staff makes the experience even more enjoyable.

If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity for kids in Eureka, the Redwood Discovery Museum is an excellent choice.

Take a Boat Tour on Humboldt Bay

A boat tour on Humboldt Bay offers a unique perspective of Eureka and its natural beauty. Several local companies provide guided tours, offering insights into the bay’s history and ecology.

Participants often say that the tours are both informative and relaxing. You might learn about the local wildlife, including seals, sea lions, and a variety of bird species.

Boat tours are ideal for people of all ages, providing a calming and scenic experience on the water.

One popular option is Humboldt Bay Harbor Cruises, which offers narrated tours year-round. These tours provide a great opportunity to see the bay’s highlights and learn about its significance.

If you prefer a more active experience, kayak tours are also available. These tours allow you to paddle through the calm waters and explore the bay up close.

For photographers, the boat tours offer fantastic opportunities for capturing stunning landscapes and wildlife shots.

Booking a tour in advance is recommended, especially during the busy summer months. With its breathtaking views and engaging commentary, a boat tour on Humboldt Bay is an unforgettable experience.

Explore Local Waterfalls

Another exciting outdoor activity in and around Eureka is exploring local waterfalls. These natural wonders offer a stunning display of nature’s beauty and provide great hiking opportunities.

One of the most popular spots is Fern Canyon, located in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The canyon is filled with lush greenery and cascading waterfalls, creating a magical atmosphere.

Hiking through the canyon is a relatively easy trek, making it accessible for people of all ages and fitness levels.

You might find the best time to visit Fern Canyon is in the spring when the waterfalls are at their most impressive due to the seasonal rainfall.

Another beautiful spot is Trillium Falls, a lesser-known but equally stunning waterfall located in the Redwood National and State Parks.

The hike to Trillium Falls is said to be moderate, offering a scenic trail that takes you through ancient redwoods and diverse plant life.

Visiting these waterfalls provides a refreshing escape into nature and a chance to experience the tranquility of the redwood forests.

Be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring along a good-quality water bottle to stay hydrated during your adventures.

If you enjoy the outdoor activities, you might also appreciate some of the best trails for hiking in other regions.


In conclusion, Eureka, California, offers a diverse range of activities and attractions that cater to visitors of all ages and interests.

Whether you’re exploring the majestic redwood forests, discovering historic Old Town, or enjoying the vibrant arts scene, there’s always something to see and do in Eureka.

The town’s rich history, stunning natural beauty, and welcoming community make it an ideal destination for a memorable getaway.

So pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and get ready to experience all that Eureka has to offer!

Avery Ingram

Avery Ingram


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