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A Perfect Getaway to Charming Eureka, California

Select Registry - September 29, 2022

A Quiet California Getaway

best things to do in Eureka California

Though a visit to the northern coast of California is often synonymous with visits to famous National Parks like Redwoods National Park, there are so many more great things to do in Eureka, CA, that makes it a great getaway destination. That is especially true this fall, as the summer weather gives way to cool, pleasurable days on the coast, and the summer crowds retreat home for work and school. 

Eureka is the largest of the coastal communities located on California’s coast, between San Francisco and Portland. Given the relative size of the community to other coastal enclaves, it’s probably no surprise that there are many wonderful things to do in Eureka, California.  

Though it’s best known as a gateway to the Redwoods, Eureka is also well-known for its quaint, Victorian architecture throughout its downtown core, creative artistic community, and many great shops and restaurants downtown. It’s genuinely a fantastic getaway destination that only gets better when you partner with the Select Registry California Bed and Breakfast in town. 

Select Registry Inns consistently rank as the best place to stay in any given destination, and with 50 years of exceptional hospitality standing behind the brand, it’s easy to see why. Get lost with us on the northern California coast this fall while enjoying all the top things to do in Eureka, California. Book your stay today!

Enjoying the historic architecture is one of the best things to do in Eureka California

Things to do in Eureka, CA

The charming coastal town of Eureka is well-known for its preserved Victorian architecture. It’s also home to Sequoia Park, which is home to even more massive old-growth redwood trees – not to mention, of course, being near Redwoods National Park and Redwood Humboldt State Park. 

These are just the start of many great things to do in Eureka, California. Here, you’ll find a charming retreat far different from what you may expect from a traditional California getaway. Eureka isn’t short on authenticity, which is one of the things we love most about it. 

This fall is a great time to visit, and to encourage you to start planning, we’ve listed some of our favorite things to do in Eureka, California, below. 

  1. One of the top things to do in Eureka is to admire the historic Victorian Architecture, including the stunning Carson Mansion, pictured above. It’s one of the country’s finest examples of American Queen Anne-style Victorian architecture. The Pink Lady, across the street, is another classic example. 
  2. Spend your time browsing Eureka’s old town, home to various wonderful shops and restaurants.
  3. Don’t miss your chance to walk down Opera Alley, a vibrant and colorful corridor of murals. Walking and admiring local art and architecture is one of our favorite things to do in Eureka, California. Enjoy the self-guided tour through the town’s best art displays. 
  4. For an added touch of romance, consider an “old-timey” carriage ride through the heart of Old Town Eureka. 
  5. Take a walk and enjoy gorgeous waterfront views on the Eureka Waterfront Trail. It’s one of our favorite things to do in Eureka on a warm fall afternoon. 
  6. Get out on the water in Eureka, and take guided boat cruises aboard the early-1900s Madaket ferry. It’s a great way to take in the sights, seals, and birdlife of Humboldt Bay. 
  7. Humboldt Bay is also an excellent place for kayaking and paddleboarding. Partner with Humboats Kayak Adventures and head to wonderful destinations like Duluwat Island or the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge water trails. The Elk River Sanctuary is another great place to consider paddling. 
  8. Take one of the ghost tours through Old Town Eureka – it’s one of our favorite things to do in Eureka, especially in the spooky fall months! 
  9. Art lovers, take note. One of the best things to do in Eureka, California, is to visit the Morris Graves Museum of Art. There are also plenty of fantastic art galleries throughout town worth browsing!
  10. If you’re feeling artistic, one of the best things to do in Eureka, California, is to try your hand at glassblowing. You can visit the gorgeous pieces at John Gibbon’s Eureka studio just off Highway 101 or head to Soulshine Arts in Downtown Eureka, where they offer private lessons (and couple’s classes) in flameworking, furnace glass, marbles, and more. 
  11. Take the Redwood Sky Walk at Sequoia Park for a simple trip into the Redwoods.
  12. Hiking is one of our favorite things to do in Eureka, California, too, and there are plenty of places to enjoy a quiet afternoon in nature. Head to Sequoia Park, McKay Tract Community Forest, Cooper Gulch Recreation Area, or Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary. 
  13. We are on California’s coast, so a day at the beach is always rated as one of the best things to do in Eureka, California – even during the fall and winter! Samoa Beach is an excellent choice for beachcombers. 
  14. Visit the beautiful Humboldt Botanical Gardens, home to beautiful seasonal garden displays. 
  15. Explore the diverse history of the area at local historical attractions and museums
Eureka California

Visit Redwoods National Park

Redwood National Park and Redwood State Park are unique partnerships between federal and state lands. Combined, the park system includes 200 miles of hiking trails between Jedediah Smith Redwoods, Del Norte Coast Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks. It’s more than just a place to see the world’s tallest trees, too. 

These parks also do a magnificent job of protecting prairies, oak woodlands, wild rivers, and 40 miles of California’s rugged coastline. There are many wonderful things to do in Redwood National Park, whether you have an hour or several days.  

If you’re short on time and want the biggest bang for your buck in Redwood National Park, don’t miss the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. This 10-mile drive takes you through the scenic heart of Redwood National Park. It’s found in the southern portion of the park, and we can confidently say it will be one of the most beautiful drives you will ever take. Expect the drive to take at least 20 minutes, more if you stop along the way. 

Another top attraction in Redwood National Park is the aptly named Big Tree. This area is just off the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and is the quickest way to get up close and personal to some massive trees. 

Other top highlights in Redwood National Park, for those who have more time to explore, include the following: 

  1. Walk the Stout Memorial Grove Trail, a majestic 44-acre grove filled with incredible 300-foot tall trees. 
  2. Take your car down Howland Hill Road – the trees get so close to your car that you won’t believe you can squeeze past. The road is very narrow, so only attempt this with smaller cars and SUVs. 
  3. Consider taking the James Irvine Trail to Fern Canyon Loop for an all-day hike option. The  12-mile loop takes you to the Pacific Ocean and back, looping through various forests along the way. You can also hike the Fern Canyon Loop Trail.
  4. Another incredible scenic drive in Redwood National Park is Bald Hills Road. This drive is less about the trees and more about enjoying sweeping views of prairies, valleys, and oceans. 
  5. Get into the backcountry of Redwood National Park and away from the crowds with a hike to Tall Trees Grove. It’s limited to just 50 permits a day, and you can get permits online up to 48 hours in advance. 

As impressive as Redwoods National Park is, you can also walk among these giants and see some extraordinary scenery at nearby Redwoods Humboldt State Park. For even more fun, consider connecting your trip to Eureka, California, to other nearby California National Parks for an epic fall adventure. 

Best Place to Stay in Eureka, California

Carter House Inns

A premier inn, the Carter House Inns, is an enclave of three magnificent Victorians perched alongside Humboldt Bay in Old Town Eureka. The luxurious accommodations at Carter House Inns and the sumptuous dining at Restaurant 301 (considered among Northern California’s best restaurants) set an indulgent tone for a marvelous visit to the giant redwood forests, rugged Pacific beaches, and all the other wonders of Northern California’s Redwood Coast. Our bed and breakfast in California and service are unparalleled; our award-winning cuisine is prepared with local organic products and fresh herbs, greens, and vegetables from the Inn’s extensive gardens as well as local purveyors.

This California inn also produces the renowned Carter Cellars wine Label. Carter Cellars specializes in limited production cabernets and merlots from some of the finest vineyards in Napa Valley. With two recent 100-point ratings from Robert Parker, Carter Cellars has become a cult classic. Additionally, the inn has ventured into the bourbon segment. After resurrecting the century old Kentucky Owl brand, the premium Kentucky bourbon now sits on the top shelf of the bar for guests to enjoy. With a vast selection of artisanal spirits and the widest selection of bourbon in the county, the bar has become a local gem.

Check out our incredible food and wine lover’s packages, featuring romantic dining and accommodations in the heart of the Redwood Empire! Carter House offers Humboldt County’s finest accommodations, an outstanding full-service restaurant, an online wine shop, a wine club, and information about our wonderful region here at the heart of California’s Redwood Country.

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