Eureka is a beautiful coastal town in California. It is the county seat of Humboldt County, known for its Victorian architecture, old-fashioned Main Street, and stunning coastal scenery. The town is home to a number of fascinating museums, art galleries, and theaters. Nature lovers can also enjoy hiking, biking, and kayaking in the many parks and forests in and around this town. In this post, I’ll share with you a list of the 15 Top Tourist Attractions and Things to Do in Eureka that you shouldn’t miss out on.
Attractions & Things to Do in Eureka, California
1. Humboldt Bay Tourism Center
One of the first places you should stop when visiting Eureka is the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center. This center is dedicated to promoting tourism in the Humboldt Bay area and is a great resource for visitors. The center offers a variety of free brochures and maps, as well as helpful staff who can provide advice on things to do and see in the area.
The center features state-of-the-art technology to help you plan your visit. They have interactive touch screens that display information on local attractions, events, and activities. You can also use the computers to book hotels or find restaurants.
In addition to being a great resource for things to do in Eureka, this center has an all-local tasting room where you can sample drinks and food from Humboldt Bay. The room features a rotating selection of local beer, wine, and cider. You can also find locally hand-crafted bread, cheeses, meats, and desserts. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable about the products and can help you find the perfect pairing for your taste.
This is definitely a place you don’t want to miss when visiting Eureka. It has the information you need to make the most of your visit.
2. Explore Old Town Eureka
Old Town Eureka is the historic downtown district of the city. The area is home to a number of Victorian-style buildings, many of which date back to the late 19th century. A number of these buildings have been converted into art galleries, shops, restaurants, and hotels.
The Eureka Waterfront District is a great place to start your exploration of Old Town. This scenic area is home to a number of restaurants with outdoor seating, perfect for enjoying the views of Humboldt Bay. The Old Town Gazebo is also located in the Waterfront District and is a great place to relax and people-watch.
After exploring the Waterfront District, be sure to check out The Old Town Art Gallery District. This area is home to a number of art galleries, each with its own unique style. You’ll also find a number of boutiques and specialty shops in this area.
Numerous celebrations and events are also held in Old Town throughout the year. The Eureka Street Art Festival is a great event to check out if you are visiting in the summer. This festival features a variety of artists who create murals and other works of art throughout Old Town.
Old Town is also home to a number of museums, including the Clarke Historical Museum and Morris Graves Museum of Art. The Clarke Historical Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Eureka and the surrounding area. The Morris Graves Museum of Art is a great place to see a variety of artwork, both temporary and permanent exhibits.
A visit to Old Town Eureka is a must for anyone interested in learning about the city’s history and culture. There are a variety of things to see and do in this area, making it one of the top tourist attractions in Eureka.
3. Redwood Highway
Redwood Highway is a scenic drive that takes you through some of the most beautiful redwood forests in California. This 230-mile stretch of road is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of the redwoods.
The drive starts from the community of Legget in Mendocino County and winds its way through the redwoods to Eureka. Along the way, you’ll find a number of pull-offs and overlooks where you can stop and enjoy the views. There are also a number of hiking trails that you can explore if you want to get out and stretch your legs.
The famous 32-mile Avenue of the Giants runs parallel to Redwood Highway in Humboldt Redwood State Park. This stretch of road is lined with towering redwoods, making it one of the most scenic drives in California. Be sure to stop at the Redwood National and State Parks, where you can take a short hike through the redwoods and see some of the tallest trees in the world.
I suggest starting your drive early in the day so that you have plenty of time to enjoy all that Redwood Highway has to offer. You can easily spend a day or two exploring all of the different pull-offs, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks. Just be careful not to get too caught up in the beauty of the redwoods and miss your exit!
Redwood Highway 101 is a great way to experience the beauty of the redwoods. This scenic drive is one of the top things to do in Eureka and is a must for anyone interested in nature.
4. Humboldt Redwoods State Park
No list of top tourist attractions in Eureka would be complete without mentioning Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The park is located just outside of Eureka and is home to the world’s tallest living things, the coast redwoods. These towering trees can reach heights of over 350 feet and are simply awe-inspiring.
The park encompasses over 53,000 acres of land and features a number of hiking trails, as well as a number of camping sites. The Visitor Center is a great place to start your visit to get a map of the park and learn about the different trails.
The park features a number of different hiking trails, as well as a scenic drive. The drive takes you through the heart of the redwood forest and offers a number of pull-offs where you can enjoy the views. Popular trails in the park include the Avenue of the Giants, which is a 32-mile long scenic drive. Notable attractions along the drive include the Founders Grove and Gould Grove Nature Trail, home to some of the oldest coast redwoods in the park.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a must-visit for anyone who wants to see the world’s tallest living things. The park is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with hiking trails, camping, and picnicking.
5. Sequoia Park Forest & Garden
If you love nature, then Sequoia Park is a must-see tourist attraction in Eureka. This beautiful urban park features 67 acres of old-growth redwood forest, streams, ponds, and much more.
The central attraction of Sequoia Park is the stunning old-growth redwood forest. These massive trees are some of the tallest living things on Earth and are worth the visit alone. Hiking and biking trails meander through the forest, providing ample opportunity to take in the beauty of these natural giants.
The Sequoia Park Garden is another must-see attraction in the park. This beautiful garden features a variety of flowers, plants, and trees. The tranquil setting is perfect for a picnic lunch or a leisurely stroll.
The Sequoia Zoo is also located next to the park and is a great place to learn about the local animals of Humboldt County. The zoo features over 50 different species of animals, many of which are native to the area. After your visit to the zoo, be sure to check out the on-site zoo cafe for a bite to eat.
6. Carson Mansion
The Carson Mansion is a stunning example of Victorian architecture and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Eureka. Completed in 1884, the home was built by William Carson, a pioneer in the timber industry who made his fortune in the redwood forests of Northern California.
The three-story Carson Mansion features 18 rooms, 7 fireplaces, intricate woodwork, and stained glass throughout. The home is furnished with period furniture and Carson family belongings, providing a glimpse into the life of a wealthy 19th-century family.
Today, the Carson Mansion is owned by the Ingomar Club, a private club that operates as a museum and event venue. To tour the home, you must be a member of the club or join as a guest of a member. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday, and reservations are required.
If you are interested in Victorian architecture or local history, a visit to the Carson Mansion should be on your list of top tourist attractions in Eureka. Even if you are not able to take a tour of the home, it is worth admiring from the outside.
7. Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge
The Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge is one of the top things to do in Eureka if you love spending time outdoors. The refuge was established in 1971 and encompasses over 4,000 acres of land and water, providing habitat for a multitude of wildlife species.
The refuge is a great place to bird watch, with over 300 species of birds that have been observed in the area. Humboldt national wildlife refuge is also a stop on the Pacific Flyway, a major migration route for birds traveling between Alaska and South America. I recommend taking the 1.7-mile Shorebird loop Trail to try and spot some of these migrating birds.
In addition to being a great place to bird-watch, the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge is also a popular spot for hiking, biking, and fishing. The refuge has over 15 miles of trails that wind through a variety of habitats, including salt marshes, grasslands, and forests.
Overall, Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see a variety of different wildlife species. The refuge is also a great place to enjoy the outdoors, with hiking trails, bird watching, and wildlife viewing.
8. Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park is another great place to visit in Eureka. The park is located on a bluff overlooking Humboldt Bay and features a number of restored buildings from the original fort.
The fort was built in 1853 and was used as a military outpost to diffuse tensions between settlers and Native Americans in the area. Humboldt fort was also an important supply point during the Civil War. The fort eventually fell into disrepair and was abandoned in 1870.
Today, the park is a great place to learn about the history of Eureka and the surrounding area. The Visitor Center features a number of exhibits on the fort and its history. There are a number of hiking trails located within the park, as well as a number of picnic areas. The trails wind through the forests and offer views of the surrounding area.
So if you are looking for top attractions in Eureka, I definitely recommend a visit to Fort Humboldt State Historic Park. It’s a great place to learn about the history of the area and also offers some great views.
9. Headwaters Forest Reserve
The Headwaters Forest Reserve is a 7,472-acre property that was purchased by The Nature Conservancy and the State of California in 1999. This purchase was made in an effort to protect the last intact ancient redwood forest in the world. The reserve is home to a number of old-growth redwood forests, as well as a variety of other plant and animal life.
The Headwaters Forest Reserve is located about 39 miles south of Eureka and is only accessible by guided tour. There are only two trails that navigate through the forest, and both are short. The Elk River Trail is a 3-mile loop that leads to an overlook of the Elk River. It is followed by a 2-mile short loop that circles an old-growth redwood. Tours are offered daily and must be reserved in advance.
The Headwaters Forest Reserve is a great place to learn about the ancient redwoods and the efforts to protect them. The guided tour is informative and allows you to see these magnificent trees up close. I highly recommend this tour if you are interested in things to do in Eureka that focus on nature and conservation.
10. Blue Ox Millworks Historic Park
The Blue Ox Millworks is a living history museum that was once a bustling lumber mill town in the late 1800s. The millworks now offer tours of the restored buildings, blacksmithing demonstrations, and a variety of hands-on activities.
The museum offers a variety of things to do, including guided tours of the millworks, blacksmithing demonstrations, woodworking classes, and more. There is also a museum on site with exhibits about the history of the town and the millworks. The tour of the sawmill was my favorite part of the visit. I was able to see how lumber was processed in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The park also features a collection of restored buildings that were once part of the millworks. These include a blacksmith shop, a carpenter shop, a working print shop, a ceramics studio, and more. The buildings are open to the public and offer a glimpse into what life was like in the millworks.
All in all, the Blue Ox is one of the top tourist attractions in Eureka as it offers a glimpse into the past. So if you’re interested in history or just want to see something different, the Blue Ox is worth a visit.
11. Tour the Redwood Discovery Museum
If you are looking for things to do in Eureka with kids, the Redwood Discovery Museum is a great option. The museum is geared towards children and their families, with interactive exhibits and educational programs.
Subjects covered at the museum include technology, science, culture and health living, art, and other topics geared towards kids. The museum features a number of interactive exhibits, as well as a hands-on Discovery Room for kids. The Discovery Room is a great place for kids to learn about the redwood forest through play.
In addition to the regular exhibits, the museum also offers special events and workshops throughout the year. So if you have kids, you can register them for a day of learning while you enjoy some of the other things. Allocate at least 2 hours for your visit to this museum. Your kids will have a great time, and you may even learn a thing or two.
12. Visit the Kinetic Museum Eureka
A visit to the Kinetic Museum is a must for anyone interested in the history and art of Kinetic Sculpture Racing. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of this quirky and eccentric sport, which has its roots in Eureka.
The museum offers a variety of exhibits on several topics related to Kinetic Sculpture, the engineering behind the sculptures, and the people who make them. You’ll even see a few actual Kinetic Sculptures on display. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year.
However, the main event organized by the museum is the unique Kinetic Grand Championship dubbed the “The Triathlon of the Art World.” This is a three-day event that takes place on Memorial Day weekend. The competition includes a 50-mile race with over 100 sculptures competing for the coveted award. The event is free to spectate and is a great way to experience the unique culture of Eureka. Plus, there are plenty of fun things to see and do during the competition.
All in all, the Kinetic Museum is a great place to learn about the history of this quirky and eccentric sport. It is located in the old town and is definitely worth a visit if you are looking for the top tourist attractions in Eureka.
13. Hike the Lost Coast Trail
The Lost Coast Trail is a remote and rugged 25-mile backpacking trail that follows the coastline of Humboldt County. The trail is only accessible by foot, making it a true wilderness experience. The hike can be done as an overnight backpacking trip or a series of day hikes.
The trailhead for this trail is located at Mattole Beach. From here, the trail winds its way along the coast, offering stunning views of the ocean and coastline. The trail is rated as difficult due to its steep and rocky terrain. However, the scenery and wildlife you’ll see along the way make the hike well worth the effort.
That being said, the Lost Coast Trail is an absolutely incredible place to backpack. The scenery is breathtaking, and the sense of isolation is unparalleled. The trail offers stunning views of the coastline, as well as a number of interesting geological features. The trail is also home to a variety of plant and animal life. So if you are looking for things to do in Eureka that are off the beaten path, then this is the hike for you.
14. Tour the Clarke Historical Museum
The Clarke Historical Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Humboldt County and the redwood industry.
Museum was founded by Cecile Clarke and has been housed in the landmark Bank of Eureka building since 1960.
The museum features a variety of permanent and rotating exhibits on topics such as the gold rush, Native American culture, and the lumber industry. Clarke museum is also home to an extensive collection of photographs, documents, and objects from the area.
You can either take a self-guided tour or join one of the regularly scheduled guided tours. I recommend doing a guided tour so that you can learn more about the history of the area. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs for all ages that allows you to learn even more about the history and culture of Humboldt County.
Allocate at least an hour or two to explore the Clarke Historical Museum. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.
15. Morris Graves Museum of Art
Last on this on this list of top tourist attractions in Eureka is the Morris Graves Museum of Art. The museum is dedicated to the work of American painter Morris Graves who resided the last 40 years of his life in Humboldt County. Today, this is the only museum in the world that is devoted exclusively to his work.
In addition to Morris Graves, the museum features rotating exhibitions of contemporary artists with a connection to the Pacific Northwest. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, including docent-led tours, family days, and art classes.
The museum is operated by the Humboldt Arts Council and is located in the Old Town district of Eureka. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for seniors/students, and free for children under 18. This makes it a great activity for budget-minded travelers.
Overall, the Morris Graves Museum of Art is a great place to learn about the work of one of America’s most important painters. If you are interested in art, I highly recommend a visit to this museum.
It’s always fun to explore new places, and Eureka is no exception. This city has a lot to offer tourists, from the world’s largest expanse of coastal redwoods to the charming Victorian-era buildings in Old Town. So be sure to add these top attractions to your list of things to do in Eureka!