9 Fantastic Things to Do in Eureka in the Fall


The highway to Eureka, one of California’s oldest seaports, is lined with towering trees and criss-crossed by wild rivers rushing to the Pacific. Millions of acres of redwood and evergreen forests surround Eureka. Most of these acres are wild land and public land.

However, conifers are not the only trees you will see. Oaks, maples and Pepperwood are common and likely to put on a colorful show in the fall.

Eureka of Humboldt County sits on Humboldt Bay. Wildlife fills the water, air and shore. The 14-mile-long bay is the only deep-water port between San Francisco Bay and Coos Bay, Oregon. The bay is protected from Pacific storms by sandbanks. The 16,000 acres of surface water are a combination of navigable water and wetlands.

Fall is the perfect time to visit Eureka. Temperatures in the mid-60s and low rainfall make it perfect for a stroll through the redwood forest, a boat trip through the harbor, a glimpse of Victorian masterpieces, or a tour of exceptional street art. Nature, history, art, food, and uncrowded, budget-friendly libations make Eureka a great place for a fall getaway.

Redwood Sky Walk platform 100 feet above the forest floor in Eureka

Photo credit: Kevin Scanlon

1. Redwood Sky Walk

Redwood Sky Walk is my top recommendation for things to do in Eureka. The experience of walking through an ancient redwood forest on a walkway one hundred feet above the forest floor is exciting, inspiring, educational, and beyond compare.

The fully ADA-accessible engineering marvel is a quarter-mile loop. Walkways, platforms and bridges wind through the trees, giving you a true bird’s eye view. Plus, a 369-foot rope bridge (not accessible by ADA) offers a delightful alternative route for adventurers.

Entrance to the Sky Walk is through the Sequoia Park Zoo. Sky Walk admission is included with your zoo ticket. For more information – Redwood Sky Walk.

Red Panda at Sequoia Park Zoo

Red Panda at Sequoia Park Zoo

Photo credit: Marie Charlebois

2. Sequoia Park Zoo

The Sequoia Park Zoo is the oldest zoological garden in California. Opened in 1907, it is one of the smallest accredited zoos in the United States

The collection is small and well organized. The zoo is in Sequoia Park, a 67-acre redwood forest in the middle of Eureka.

I particularly enjoyed the walk-through aviary. It was a great photo op for a brilliantly colored golden pheasant. However, for me and my camera, the star of the zoo was a red panda who seemed to be posing for the camera. Sequoia Park Zoo admission includes Redwood Sky Walk.

Sequoia Park, a 67-acre urban park in Eureka

Sequoia Park, a 67-acre urban park in Eureka

Photo credit: Marie Charlebois

3. Sequoia Park

Sequoia Park is 67 acres of walking and biking trails, redwood forests, meadows, streams, ponds, and playgrounds. Located next to the zoo and the Sky Walk, it’s a beautiful place to spend the day immersed in this urban redwood forest and the natural world.

Clarke Historical Museum;  Eureka, California

Clarke Historical Museum

Photo credit: Chris Haden / Shutterstock.com

4. Clarke Historical Museum

“The mission of Clarke Historical Museum is to celebrate the rich and varied history of Northwestern California by preserving, sharing, and interpreting that history in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the mind, engage the mind, and spark the imagination,” said the Clarke Historical Museum.

Located in the Old Town, the Clarke accomplishes its mission beautifully. The Native American collection offers a spectacular selection of woven baskets from the Hupa, Karuk, Wiyot and Yurok tribes. Plus, a museum gift shop is a great place for a Eureka souvenir.

Carson Mansion;  Eureka, California

Carson Mansion

Photo credit: Kevin Scanlon

5. Eureka Victorian Walk

Much of Eureka retains its Victorian-era architecture and Northern California’s Golden Age. Historic buildings are everywhere. This includes America’s most photographed Victorian mansion, Carson. All types of Victorian craftsmanship can be seen and photographed on this Victorian walk.

Old Town Eureka, California

Old Town Eureka has one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, galleries and museums.

Photo credit: Kevin Scanlon

6. Old Town

Old Town Eureka is a vibrant and beautiful area. Many of the Victorian commercial buildings have been lovingly maintained and remain in operation. Boutiques, galleries, restaurants, brasseries, bars, museums and entertainment venues inhabit this district. It’s made for walking. give it Old Town Eureka California Walking Tour a try for a walking history lesson.

Another way to see this historic neighborhood is by horse and carriage. A Carriage ride in the old town is a nice “slow tour”.

My heart jumped when I saw just my type. Seeing a typography in operation reminded me of the years I spent in the world of graphic arts. Stop by the shop and you might be lucky enough to see the mechanical device in use. There is a rhythmic dance between the operator, the paper and the machine. Inside are paper treasures of all kinds.

Waterfront tour boat in Eureka's Humboldt Bay

Waterfront tour boat in Eureka’s Humboldt Bay

Photo credit: Kevin Scanlon

7. Walk the waterfront

Eureka Waterfront Trail is urban nature at its best. Six and a half miles of trail winds through the Eureka waterfront, sand dunes, salt marshes and willows. Walkers, cyclists, rollerbladers and paddlers are welcome to immerse themselves in the natural world of Humboldt. Audubon bird walks are open to everyone. Meet at the foot of West Del Norte Street every third Sunday at 9am

boat trips

Tour boat ticket offices are located on the Old Town waterfront. There are nature viewing tours and cocktail cruises. Kayak rentals are available if you wish to paddle Humboldt Bay.

Eat in Humboldt Bay

An alfresco seafood lunch or dinner on the waterfront is the best way to sample Humboldt Bay and its abundant seafood. Fishing is part of Northern California’s economy. Fresh fish is available daily, weather permitting.

Check the waterfront menus for the catch of the day. These can be locally caught salmon, albacore, redfish, lingcod, halibut, plaice, oil sole or sand dabs. Crab is also fished in this area. Crab season generally runs from December to July. My favorite local seafood is sand dabs, especially seared and topped with lemony caper butter.

Mural in Old Town Eureka, California

Mural of a dancer in Old Town Eureka

Photo credit: Kevin Scanlon

8. Humboldt Arts

The arts are alive and thriving in Eureka, California. Considered by many to be an artists’ colony, you can create a full itinerary of artistic events when visiting Eureka.

Morris Graves Art Museum

Headquarters of the Humboldt Arts Council, the Morris Graves Art Museum is the Humboldt County Center for the Arts. The goal of bringing art to everyone is achieved through museum exhibitions, schools, tours, art camps and family art days. In addition, temporary and permanent exhibitions show local and global artists.

Carnegie Library

The Morris Graves Museum is housed in a Carnegie Library building. Like 2,508 other Carnegie libraries around the world, this library was built with a $20,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1901. I love these buildings and the one in Eureka is one of my favorites. The restored structure still has its two-story solid redwood columns.

Living arts

From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. the first Saturday of each month, Living arts hosts a live musical performance and art exhibit at the Morris Graves Museum. Free entry. Everyone is welcome.

Opera Alley mural;  Eureka, California

Opera Aisle Mural

Photo credit: Kevin Scanlon

Eureka Mural Tour

I love street art and Eureka too. New pieces are always added to the collection. Eureka loves its street art so much they have an annual celebration – Eureka Street Art Festival. If you can’t attend the August festival, try the Eureka Mural Tour.

Main Street;  Ferndale, California

Main Street, Ferndale

Photo credit: Kevin Scanlon

9. Sidetrip to Ferndale

Ferndale, California is called “Cream City”. Surrounded by pastures and dairies as far as the eye can see, the nickname takes on its full meaning.

Dairies began to flourish around Ferndale in the 1860s. Fortunes were amassed by dairies owners. Many of the Victorian houses built are locally known as “Butterfat Palaces”. Today Ferndale has one of the best preserved collections of Victorian architecture in California. Best of all, it’s only 20 miles from Eureka.

Ferndale is an intact Victorian village. This small town is Americana at its best. Main Street has Victorian buildings housing hotels, shops, restaurants and watering holes. Spend an afternoon or weekend discovering the treasure chest of Victorian buildings. Stop in the Ferndale Museum to see how the cows built an empire. Then go to Main Street and eat a hot dog at store front red.

Pro tip: Bring your hot dog to the bench in front of the store. It’s a perfect place to watch the world go by.

Getting There


27 km from Eureka, the nearest domestic airport is Arcata-Eureka — California Redwood Coast Humboldt County Airport (VAC). ACV is served by United, American and Avelo airlines.

Three international airports are within 300 miles of Eureka. Sacramento (SAC) 281 miles, Oakland (OAK) 285 miles and San Francisco (SFO) 292 miles.


Eureka is located on US Highway 101. The drive is one you’ll want to repeat several times. Evergreen forests are the main landscape once you enter Mendocino and Humboldt counties. You will have plenty of opportunities to stop and visit the state and national forest where the tallest trees in the world live – Coastal Redwoods.

Why Eureka?

This historic seaport played an important role in the settlement and rise of California. People from all over the world came to California during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. Many came to Eureka. The protected deep harbor has made Eureka a thriving seaport that ships lumber, fish, and agricultural products to San Francisco.

Today, Eureka is surrounded by conservation lands and wildlife preserves. In fact, there is a protected redwood forest in the middle of town. Visual and performing artists settle in the area, providing visitors with beauty for the eyes and ears. The community is brimming with pride in Victorian buildings and history.

To learn more about Eureka, visit Visit Eureka. For more on fall travel in Northern California, see:


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