17 Best Places to Visit in California

Humboldt County is an escape to the great outdoors, a remote area of redwood groves, secluded beaches, and rushing rivers. The combination of fragrant forests and salty ocean breezes gives the air an invigorating quality.

While the wide open spaces and towering trees may make visitors feel small, the incredible scenery instills a respect for nature. This unspoiled environment provides an inspiring backdrop for hiking, hunting, fishing, and outdoor adventures.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as an International Biosphere Reserve, the Redwood National and State Parks (which comprise four separate parks: Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park) contain the world’s oldest and tallest redwood trees, some reaching over 375 feet in height.

Many of the best hikes in the Redwood National and State Parks are found at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. This lush old-growth redwoods park features a scenic 10-mile drive, 75 miles of trails for hiking, picnic areas, plus a pristine beach.

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is most famous for Fern Canyon. This fern-covered canyon traversed by a fresh-water creek was the filming location for some scenes in The Lost World: Jurassic Park movie.

A little over an hour south of Redwood National and State Parks is Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California’s biggest redwood state park (covering 53,000 acres), which includes the world’s largest old-growth redwood forest (17,000 acres).

Tourists under a giant redwood in Redwood National Park

Not to be missed is the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Visitors should drive through at least part of this 32-mile-long route through the forest to admire the lofty redwood trees and get a sense of the forest’s enormity. The park also has 100 miles of hiking trails with plenty of variety for all fitness levels.

Amid the magnificent redwood forests along the Humboldt Bay is the historic seaport of Eureka, Humboldt County’s main urban center. Among the top attractions of Eureka, the Historic Old Town boasts hundreds of ornate Victorian buildings. The most notable is the Carson Mansion built in the 1880s for lumber baron William Carson.

Several of the old Victorians have been converted into bed and breakfasts, such as the luxurious Carter House Inns. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the English Tudor-style Eureka Inn (now part of the Trademark Collection by Wyndham) was built in 1922 for nature-loving vacationers.

For those who don’t care much about high thread-count sheets and prefer to sleep under the redwood trees and stars, Humboldt County is the ideal destination. The area has expansive camping sites in pristine locations.

Among the best campgrounds in the Redwood National and State Parks are Mill Creek Campground in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, the Elk Prairie Campground in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, and the Jedediah Smith Campgrounds at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

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