7 Must-See Unique Attractions in Humboldt County CA

Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July… the pages of the calendar keep flipping and we are well into summer here in Northern California. Plus, in a state the size of California, it’s easy to lose sight of what brought you here in the first place! This is especially true in Humboldt County. We have a wealth of sights, places, attractions, including the holy grail of natural attractions, the giant redwoods. However, we do have some interesting, unique, only-in-our-town attractions that are worthy of your time. Here are 7 unique attractions in Humboldt County, CA.

Shelter Cove

Among the myriad of quaint villages and towns that dot Northern California’s coastline, Shelter Cove is unique. It is located on the most remote coastline, on the longest stretch of coastal wilderness in the continental United States. Talk about a “hideaway”!

Also, Shelter Cove is host to the King Range Conservation Area, the nation’s first National Conservation Area (established in 1970). Over 300 species reside amongst its 68,000 acres, including: deer, whales, skunks, Roosevelt elk, raccoons, egrets, bald eagles, mountain lions, black bears, coyotes and more. Shelter Cove is the gateway to Black Sands Beach and The Lost Coast…

Black Sand Beach on the Lost Coast

Forested cliffs tower over the black sands of the Lost Coast backpacking trail in California

Humboldt County’s Lost Coast

The Lost Coast is a section of coastline so remote that it has been spared the intrusion of development; it is accessible only via small back roads from north and south. The Lost Coast Trail is a 24 mile trek through the coastal wilderness – a truly unique attraction in Humboldt County. It’s not exactly a “walk in the park”; the trail is rugged, with some sections impassable during high tide, so hikers should carry a tide table. Your reward for braving the Lost Coast Trail? One-of-a-kind views of tide pools and kelp beds inhabited by seals, sea lions, marine birds and other gifts of nature.

Unique Tide Pools

Now that we’ve mentioned the words “tide pool”… okay, what is a Tide Pool? This unique attraction is “an isolated pocket of seawater found in the ocean’s intertidal zone” according to NOAA. Tide pools get formed when the tide pulls out, leaving seawater behind in depressions or “pockets” along the coastline. In layman’s terms, a tide pool is akin to the tiny corner bar in your neighborhood. It’s where everybody hangs out.

Average tide pools can be a few inches to a few feet deep, a few feet across. Just like “Joe’s Bar,” they are packed! Typical “clientele” in tide pools are: snails, barnacles, mussels, anemones, urchins, sea stars, crustaceans, small fish. What an amazing gathering of marine life.

Tide pool examples

Speaking of the “Bar”

Not far off The Avenue of The Giants, the Eel River’s slow-moving tributaries form natural pools and swimming “holes.” Access to several large swimming holes is via Dyerville Bar (no, it’s not a taproom; a river “bar” is basically a sandbar with sediment in place of the sand). About 4 miles south of Redcrest, the Dyerville Bar Road leads directly to the bar and to swimming hole access.

Hikes, Bikes, Kites and ATVs

The Samoa Dunes and Recreation Area features over 140 acres of trails and beach. This multi-purpose recreational park is a haven not just for ATV (all-terrain vehicles) and OHV (off-highway vehicles) aficionados; surfers, hikers, kite-flyers, bikers and beachcombers flock to Samoa Dunes as well. Samoa Dunes’ North Jetty is one of the most picturesque places on the north coast. The tide pools and large waves crashing at the end of the jetty are especially beautiful.

The Most Photographed Victorian House in the US… from the Outside!

And that would be The Carson Mansion in Eureka. In 1884, William Carson, one of the north coast’s first lumber “barons,” commissioned San Francisco architects Samuel & Joseph Newsom to design and build a Queen Anne Victorian showpiece. And boy, did they ever.

Constructed primarily of redwood, onyx and a whopping 97,000 feet of Central American white mahogany, the intricately detailed structure required over 100 workers and 2 years to complete. Architectural scholars and experts regard the house as one of the finest examples of Queen Anne architecture ever.

Unlike the majority of other Victorian-era homes, the Mansion has been meticulously maintained, and is in nearly the same condition as when it was built. This immense home is reportedly the most photographed and written-about Victorian house in the United States. Carson’s heirs sold the mansion to the private Ingomar Club in 1950. The Club still uses the house and does not allow tours of the residence or the grounds.

Rohner Park/Chapman’s Gem & Mineral Shop

Right here in our hometown of Fortuna, hikers can zip through nearly 2 miles of mature second growth redwood forest via Rohner Park’s redwood forest trails. Much of Humboldt County’s forests have been harvested twice in 100 years-but the Rohner Park forest’s second growth has been preserved due to the generosity of the Rohner family. After your Rohner Park hike, your family will enjoy a trip to Chapman’s Gem & Mineral Shop and Museum on Highway 101 (707-725-2714), where they can view gems, minerals, petrified woods and Native American artifacts. For as little as $1, rocks, gems, shells, art, jewelry and other collectables can be purchased.

After your explorations, your room will be waiting at The Redwood Riverwalk Hotel, where you can avail yourself of our selection of local beer, wine and libations available for purchase, dine out or dine in with take out selections from our favorite eateries. You (and your wallet) will enjoy our complimentary Redwood Breakfast, free parking and free WIFI. Give us a call at 707-725-5500 and let us help you plan a visit to Samoa Dunes, Shelter Cove or any of the above attractions. We guarantee your best rate and best experience when you book your stay directly with us!

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