20 Things To Do In Eureka

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Eureka is the largest city on the west coast between Portland and San Francisco and the county seat of Humboldt County. It’s the most western city in the lower 48 states and has more than 25,000 permanent residents, but it is still one of the smallest cities in California. Throw in the fact that it is in a relatively remote part of northern California, often overlooked by tourists, and Eureka is a city that doesn’t receive many visitors.

Eureka, the Greek word for ‘I have found it’, was named after the California Gold Rush attracted thousands of settlers during the 1850s. While it doesn’t offer the range of sights and attractions as California’s major cities, it is home to several fabulous natural, cultural, and historical attractions. Here are some things to do in Eureka.

Eureka, California

20 Things To Do In Eureka (CA)

1- Uncover History At The Clarke Historical Museum

Built in 1911 in the Renaissance style, the Clarke Historical Museum has one of northwest California’s most comprehensive cultural and regional history collections.

The building is on the United States National Register Of Historic Places list (since April 1982).

Its collection includes a variety of enlightening artefacts, including utensils, stoneware, and various pieces of art and ceramics.

An entire wing is dedicated to the history and culture of the region’s Native American tribes.

The Wiyot people lived in the Humboldt Bay for thousands of years before prospectors outnumbered them during the Gold Rush.

The U.S. Army established Fort Humboldt to assist in conflict resolution, which was not resolved peacefully, resulting in the Wiyot Massacre in 1860 when most of the Wiyot tribe was murdered.

Clarke Historical Museum is at 240 East Street, Eureka, 95501.

2- Appreciate The Architecture Of The Carson Mansion

things to do eureka carson mansion eclectic architecture
There are 20 beautiful historic buildings to admire but none as eclectic as the Carson Mansion, making a visit to the mansion one of the top things to do in Eureka.

Built between 1884 and 1886 for gold miner and entrepreneur William Carson, the Carson Mansion is a stunning building that boasts a collection of different architectural styles, including Eastlake, Stick, Italianate, Queen Anne and Victorian.

Considered the most iconic and photographed Victorian house in the United States, it has been used in art pieces since it was built and is a sight you must see with your own eyes on any trip to Eureka.

Carson Mansion is at 143 M Street, Eureka, 95501.

3- Stroll Around Sequoia Park

things to do in eureka ca today
Seeing Redwood trees is one of the top things to do in Eureka in Northern California.

Sequoia Park is a stunning urban park filled with the towering giant sequoia trees that central and northern California are famed for.

With hiking trails, ponds and nature preserves, you can spend hours roaming this incredible natural site, making yourself feel like you are exploring a national park without leaving the city.

Sequoia Park, Eureka, 95503.

4- Embrace Nature At The Sequoia Park Zoo

Located in Sequoia Park, the Sequoia Park Zoo is the oldest zoo in California (founded in 1907).

Spread across seven acres and home to 1,895 animals (195 vertebrates and 1,700 invertebrates) covering 54 different species, it is a fabulous place to learn about the region’s wildlife.

It has an attraction called the Redwood Sky Walk, where you can explore the canopy of the rest of the park on suspended walkways that offer some truly stunning views.

Sequoia Park Zoo is at 3414 West Street, Eureka, 95503.

5- See Exhibits At Humboldt County Historical Society

Located inside a house built in 1902 in the Colonial Revival style, the Humboldt County Historical Society is focused on preserving and educating people on the region’s history.

With a collection of over 100 historical publications, historical archives, a research centre, iconic maps, photographs, materials and other artefacts.

With highly knowledgeable staff, it is a must-visit location for anyone interested in the history of the town of Eureka and its surrounding region.

Humboldt County Historical Society is at 703 8th Street, Eureka, 95501.

6- Explore The Old Town Historic District

The Eureka Old Town Historic District covers 350 acres (141 ha) and contains 154 historic buildings boasting beautiful Victorian architecture.

It has been listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places since 1991 and famously hosts music festivals in late summer and on the 4th of July.

Many of the buildings now contain bookstores, museums, markets and restaurants, allowing you to soak in the style of the area while eating, shopping and learning.

Once a month, 80 of the buildings display works by local artists while street performers entertain the crowds outside.

Old Town, Eureka, 95501.

7- Admire The Vance Hotel Marker

The Vance Hotel is an iconic building built in 1872 by pioneer John Vance in the Modern Italianate style.

While the hotel was converted into an office and retail complex in 1998, you can still enjoy its beautiful architecture and décor.

The Vance Hotel Marker across the street details the history of the building and you can learn about its past while basking in its grandeur.

Vance Hotel is at 525 2nd Street, Eureka, 95501.

8- Go Hiking Along The Eureka Waterfront Trail

The Eureka Waterfront Trail is a wonderful, paved hiking trail running along the town’s north and west borders.

Beginning under U.S. Route 101 and following the road around the outskirts of Eureka, it’s a perfect choice to take a walk and soak in both the city and water views.

Eureka Waterfront Trail is at Pound Road, Eureka, 95503.

9- Take The Kids To The Redwood Discovery Museum

The Redwood Discovery Museum is a children’s museum filled with interactive exhibits and activities to help younger children learn and have fun at the same time.

It is ideal for families with small kids to ensure every family member comes away from their trip having learned something.

Redwood Discovery Museum is at 612 G Street STE 102, Eureka, 95501.

10- Follow The Arcata To Eureka Bike Trail

Eureka Arcata Bay glassy water at sunset
Going on a cruise on Arcata Bay is one of the relaxing things to do in Eureka, ca.

The Arcata To Eureka Bike Trail is a bike trail that runs from the northeast corner of Eureka, around Arcata Bay to the southwest corner of Arcata.

With beautiful views across the water and a stunning array of wildlife surrounding the water’s edge, the trail is great for those who want to get out and exercise while enjoying the region’s beauty.

It offers the chance to see a second town while you’re at it.

The Arcata To Eureka Bike Trail is at Hauser Marsh, Arcata, 95521.

Located in Eureka’s Historic District, the Old Town Art Gallery is filled with a collection of jewellery, paintings, sculptures and various other pieces of art made by local artists through the years.

It gives you the chance to appreciate some of the best up and coming artists and demonstrates how the artistic styles in the region have changed over the years.

The Old Town Art Gallery is at 417 2nd Street STE102, Eureka, 95501.

12- Enjoy Local Art At The Redwood Art Association

The Redwood Art Association is a small storefront art gallery designed to host pieces by members of the Redwood Art Association.

Spread over two floors, it displays works in a range of different media, allowing the group’s members to shine and visitors to see some fabulous works of art from the region that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Redwood Art Association is at 603 F Street, Eureka, 95501.

13- Embrace Military History In Fort Humboldt State Historic Park

Fort Humboldt State Historic Park is a living museum dedicated to the mid-19th century fort once home to former United States President Ulysses S. Grant.

It details everything from the logging and rail industries in the area to the history of interactions with the region’s Native Americans.

In the park, you will find restored buildings and a cemetery and a collection of artifacts.

These include a functional steam donkey engine, logging equipment, historical trains and a traditional Native American dugout canoe, all set to the backdrop of stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

The fort itself was established in 1853, while the state park was founded in 1955.

The site was listed as a California Historical Landmark in 1963.

Fort Humboldt State Historic Park is at 3431 Fort Avenue, Eureka, 95503.

14- Relax On Samoa Beach

On the western side of Samoa peninsula, Samoa Beach is a beautiful stretch of soft golden sand that offers incredible views of the North Pacific Ocean.

Whether you want to spend a day swimming or playing in the water, walking along the beach, or just relaxing on the sand, topping up your tan, there isn’t a better place in Eureka to do so.

Stop at the USS Milwaukee Memorial at the north end of the beach if you’re interested in naval history.

Samoa Beach is on New Navy Base Road, Samoa, California, 95564.

15- Cruise Madaket Harbor

A Madaket Harbor Cruise is a wonderful water tour that sets off from Madaket Square and takes you on a cruise around either the Arcata or Humboldt bays.

Lasting up to an hour and a half, you can take a narrated cruise to learn more about the area or a birdwatching tour to see some of the region’s wildlife.

Another option is a relaxing cocktail cruise, where you can sit back and sip a drink while enjoying the view across the water.

16- Embrace The Californian Landscape At The Friends Of The Dunes

things to do in eureka ca at night
One of the things to do in Eureka CA is to admire the sunset at Humboldt Bay.

Located near the Manila Dunes, on the northern part of the Humboldt Bay peninsula, Friends Of The Dunes is a non-profit organisation that houses displays and artefacts dedicated to the nearby dunes.

Have a chat with some of the friendly, knowledgeable staff and enjoy some of the hands-on exhibits before you head out onto the sand to explore the dunes and enjoy the views.

Friends Of The Dunes is at 220 Stamps Lane, Arcata, 95521.

17- Soak In The Sight Of The Table Bluff Lighthouse

things to do in eureka ca lighthouse Table Bluff Lighthouse at sunset
Admiring Table Bluff Lighthouse is one of the things to do in Eureka, ca.

The Table Bluff Lighthouse was constructed in 1892, and the light that was installed in 1953 made it among the first automated lighthouses in the world.

Designed to protect a dangerous stretch of coastline in Table Bluff to the south of Eureka, the lighthouse was replaced in 1971, taken apart and moved to its current location on Woodley Island.

This gives visitors to the town the perfect opportunity to see one of the region’s most important historical and architectural sites without going too far.

Table Bluff Lighthouse, Eureka, 95501

18- Discover Art History At Morris Graves Museum Of Art

The Morris Graves Museum Of Art is an art museum named after and dedicated to Morris Graves, one of the first prominent artists from the Pacific Northwest.

Established in 2001, the museum displays his extensive personal art collection and many of his own pieces.

Set in the 1904 Eureka Carnegie Library building, which has stunning Classical Revival architecture, it’s listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places.

It’s the spot to admire displays of stunning historical artworks, both inside and out.

Morris Graves Museum Of Art is at 636 F Street, Eureka, 95501.

19- Enjoy The Views On The North Jetty

Found at the south end of the Samoa peninsula, North Jetty is a scenic point that stretches way out into the North Pacific Ocean.

Visitors can take a calm stroll out to the very end of the jetty to relax and admire unobscured, panoramic ocean vistas.

North Jetty is on Lincoln Road, Samoa, California, 95564.

20- Enjoy The Great Outdoors In Redwood National And State Parks

things to do in eureka ca this weekend
Admiring Sequoias in the forest is one of the things to do in Eureka and nearby.

Redwood National Park is an iconic landscape boasting forests of massive, old-growth coastal redwoods, surrounded by prairies, rivers, and streams, stretching up 40 miles (64 km) of California’s coast.

Redwood National Park is filled with opportunities, from enjoying the ocean views to doing a relaxing spot of fishing or hiking through canyons and tidal pools.

Its wildlife includes bears, deer, elk, and nearly 300 species of birds.

For more California ideas, see:

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Steve Burden is an avid traveller and experienced writer. As a former pro wrestler, Steve used to travel frequently for work throughout the USA and Europe. Having spent the last decade travelling all over the world in search of new sights and experiences, he has turned his love for travel into a new career helping others decide on the best places to visit, as well as what to see when they get there.