Humboldt County is pretty big and has a lot of attractions and things to do. How big is it you ask? Well, it's 3567.99 square acres (Rhode Island is 1033.81 square acres). Even if you are staying a week or two, you can't see it all in one visit. So we have made a list of some of the "highlights" of the county and explained roughly how far each one is from your lodging in Fortuna.
Highway 36 Parks for Hiking and Swimming •
Van Duzen County Park / Swimmer's Delight
From Fortuna: approx. 12 miles east on Highway 36, Carlotta, there is a fee but great family place to swim.
Cheatham Grove •
From Fortuna: approx. 13 miles east on Highway 36, Carlotta, Immediately after crossing the J. Dwight Odell bridge take a left into the parking lot.
This is also where the speeder chase with Princess Leia on the Ewok planet was filmed. Easy hiking trails in the grove and spectacular trees. ( No fee )
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park •
From Fortuna: approx. 15 miles east on Highway 36, Carlotta, CA 707-777-3683
East of Hwy. 101 on Highway 36, 393 densely forested acres. Swim and fish in the Van Duzen River. Camping. Wheelchair accessible.
Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary Walking Tour •
From Fortuna: approx. 30 miles north off Highway 101, Arcata, CA 707-826-2359
In Arcata, approximately 30 miles north of Fortuna, take a guided nature walk (Saturdays only) to watch and photograph birds, enjoy the bay and foothill views and learn about this nationally recognized habitat. Encompassing 75 acres of former landfill, the area is now a series of marshes which naturally treat Arcata's wastewater before it is released into Humboldt Bay. Visit the Interpretive Center to learn about the methods and history of this sanctuary. Located at 600 G Street in Arcata.
Avenue of the Giants •
Scenic Route 254 From Fortuna: approx. 12 miles south on U.S. 101 , Redcrest, CA
A 33-mile stretch of of two-lane highway that runs parallel to U.S. Highway 101, The Avenue of the Giants is an outstanding display of virgin redwood trees and numerous dedicated groves that you can bicycle, drive or hike through. This scenic highway is a must see while visiting Fortuna and lots of picnic spots!
Blue Ox Millworks & Historic Park *
Self guided tours watching Victorian craftsmanship and techniques. Visit a skid camp, learn about traditional boat building, and greet the blue oxen, Babe and Blue. 800-248-4259 1 X Street, Eureka, CA there is an entrance fee.
Agate Beach, at Patrick's Point State Park •
From Fortuna: approx. 45 miles north via highway 101, just north of Trinidad, CA
Roosevelt Elk are enormous animals and there is a whole herd of them roaming free in Humboldt County. Best time to see them is early morning or just at dusk when they come into the reserve to feed.
Cannibal Beach/Hookton Beach •
From Fortuna: approx. 20 miles northwest via Loleta, Loleta, CA
Two popular beaches in Loleta, a short drive northwest of Fortuna, are Cannibal and Hookton Beaches. Cannibal Beach is a good launching spot for kayakers where the Eel River forms an estuary and the water is mellow and flat. A popular fishing spot is the public pier on the South Jetty at the end of Hookton Beach. The jetty is a good spot to catch kelp bass, snapper, ling cod and perch.
From Fortuna: approx. 6 miles east off Highway 36, Carlotta, CA
Just east of Fortuna on Highway 36, in Carlotta at the 6.3 mile marker, is a popular swimming hole. Park at the turnout and walk down to the river. This sweet little swimming hole is a "locals" secret, you won't find many tourists here.
Carson Mansion •
From Fortuna: approx. 22 miles north off U.S. 101 in Eureka 143 M Street, Eureka, CA
Grand Victorian architecture built between 1884 and 1886 for pioneer lumberman William Carson, his wife and four children. Said to be the most photographed Victorian home in America. Drive-by touring only; building not open to the public — Second and M Streets, Eureka. Many stop for a photo out front.
Centerville Beach •
From Fortuna: approx. 8 miles West on Highway 211 to Ferndale, CA then west on Centerville Road.
Flanked by spectacular cliffs of gray sandstone carved into unique formations by the ocean, hikers will see a variety of birds and sea life while enjoying the quiet (nearly deserted) beach. Exit Ferndale/Fernbridge to Ferndale, turn right at Shaw Ave, then left to Centerville Rd.(approx 3mi).
Drive Thru Tree •
From Fortuna: approx. 30 miles south on The Avenue of the Giants, in Myers Flat, Myers Flat, CA (707) 943-1658
Famous Drive-thru tree and Drive-on log visitor attractions. Cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner (wonderful ice cream cones!). Redwood gift shop. Open all year. (707) 943-1658
Ferndale Walking Tour •
From Fortuna: approx. 8 miles west on Highway 211, Ferndale, CA 707-786-4477
Take a self-guided walking tour of this historic and architecturally authentic Victorian Village. Beautifully restored homes and buildings have made Ferndale a popular destination spot for those travelling the north coast. Maps for the walking tour are available in most of the shops in Ferndale. (Hollywood came and filmed Outbreak and The Majestic in this town). Unique shopping!
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park •
From Fortuna: approx. 20 miles north on U.S. 101 in Eureka 3431 Fort Avenue, Eureka, CA 95503 707-445-6567
Add a history lesson to your visit! Partially restored 1850's U.S. Military Post, this was General Grant's station prior to the Civil War and features a museum of logging history and fort history along with Native American sections. Monthly steam-ups of logging equipment are held May - September.
Grandfather Tree •
From Fortuna: approx. 50 miles south on U.S. 101, next to RICHARDSON GROVE STATE PARK, Benbow, CA 95540
The Grandfather tree is world famous for its picturesque qualities. It stretches 245 feet tall with one of the largest tree trunks, 55 feet in circumference, on the Redwood Highway. Browse seven days a week in the redwood factory and gift shop. Nearby, watch chainsaw carving or enjoy picnicking under the redwoods in the garden area surrounding the tree.
Humboldt Bay •
From Fortuna: approx. 20 miles north via Eureka, Eureka/Arcata, CA
Sailing and windsurfing are popular sports in Humboldt Bay. 20 miles north of Fortuna, take Highway 255 at R Street in downtown Eureka to the Woodley Island Marina. Sailboats and other small craft also use the various boat ramps and launches available around the Bay. Further out Highway 255, the North Jetty and other ocean-side beaches are excellent surfing spots. Make reservations on the Madaket for a boat tour of the bay 707-445-1910 (another interesting history lesson).
Humboldt Botanical Gardens •
From Fortuna: approx. 10 miles north via highway 101 ( near College of the Redwoods)
Humboldt Botanical Gardens is a 44.5 acre site that currently has 5 biomes/ botanical gardens for your enjoyment and many trails and an education center. Completed gardens include a native plant garden, an All Happy Now earth sculpture, a natural riparian area, a greenhouse, a temperate woodland garden and an ornamental terrace garden. Call 707-442-5139 or see their website hbgf.org
Humboldt Lagoons State Park •
From Fortuna: approx. 58 miles north off U.S. 101, Trinidad, CA 707-677-3570
In this 1,036 acres of sandy marshland on the Pacific Flyway, more than 200 species of birds have been sighted among the wild flowers and tules. Fishing, boating, and camping. Be sure to be able to say you saw both Big and Little Lagoon!
Humboldt Redwoods State Park •
From Fortuna: approx. 12 miles south off U.S. 101, Weott, CA 95571 707-946-2409
51,222 acres, over 100 memorial and picnic groves, riding, hiking, nature trails, Eel River swimming, fishing, rafting and camping. The Visitor Center just south of Weott on the Avenue of the Giants features a natural history museum, maps, hiking and camping information. (707) 946-2263 or visit the website.
Immortal Tree •
From Fortuna: approx. 20 miles south on The Avenue of the Giants, in Redcrest 28101 Avenue of the Giants, Redcrest, CA 95540 (707) 722-4396
Family owned and operated visitor attraction features a 950-year old ancient redwood that has survived fire and flood. Free picnic area and restrooms. (707) 722-4396
Fern Canyon •
From Fortuna: approx. 65 miles to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park on Hwy 101 turn off on Davison Road.
There is a small amount of "off road" driving but a car can make it. Fern Canyon is the former location of a mining camp, now grown over. The walls of canyon are covered with ferns. A creek runs through and you are just sure a dinosaur is going to be rounding the corner! It's pimeval spot with an unearthly hue - a rare beauty seen by few. Not wheelchair accessible, must be able to hike a mile or so beyond where you park.
Little River State Beach/ Clam Beach (and County Park) •
From Fortuna: approx. 34 miles north off U.S. 101, McKinleyville, CA
These two beaches run into each other and parallel U.S. 101 for many miles — together they make one great open beach ideal for off-road vehicle fun, horse riding, long walks, clam digging and to let your dog run wild.
Loleta Cheese Company •
From Fortuna: approx. 10 miles north off U.S. 101 in Loleta, Loleta, CA 95551 (707) 733-1871
How is cheese made -- watch through a large viewing window and find out right here. Tasting room, gift shop, picnic area, Family owned and operated. Visitors welcome Monday - Friday, 9 am to 5 pm and Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm.
Moonstone Beach •
From Fortuna: approx. 48 miles north off U.S. 101, Trinidad, CA 707-677-3570
Northern Humboldt features many small, secluded beaches and this small cove just south of Trinidad is a favorite with the locals. Large rocks and cliffs create an atmosphere of intimacy and seclusion — a great spot for picnicking and swimming for the family -- or a romantic picnic for two.
Patricks Point State Park •
From Fortuna: approx. 48 miles north off U.S. 101, Trinidad, CA 707-677-3570
This park is 24 miles north of Eureka, covering 632 acres and has a woodsy plateau 200 feet above the beach. Featuring hiking, nature trail, camping, picnic areas, outdoor museum of natural and area history and a sea lion lookout. Agate and jade hunting on the beach as well as fishing and tidepools. Bring a camera!
Pilot Point •
From Fortuna Pilot Point is approximately 50 miles north near Moonstone Beach.
Another popular fossil hunting spot is Pilot Point approximately 50 miles north of Fortuna, near Moonstone Beach. An exposure of fossil coquina on a steep and eroding cliff is productive of intact gastropods, other mollusks, sand dollars, huge barnacles, and the occasional mammal fossils including seal teeth. You can find fossils in the sand below the cliff and in the cliff face itself.
Redwood Groves •
Off the Van Duzen River Just SE of Fortuna on Highway 36, Fortuna, CA.
A few miles southeast of Fortuna (along Highway 36) are 6 short hiking trails and nature walks along the Van Duzen River and through the redwood groves. Each one is easy and less than a mile long. Many spots for a family picnic!
Richardson Grove State Park •
From Fortuna: approx. 52 miles south on U.S. 101, Garberville, CA 95540 707-247-3318
1,000 acre day-use park with picnic areas, swimming, fishing, nature trails, a visitor center, summer campfire programs, food concession, and camping.
Samoa Dunes •
From Fortuna: approx. 30 miles north off Highway 255, Arcata/Eureka, CA 95521-4573 (707) 825-2300
A true multi-recreation area, the Samoa Dunes offers 300 acres of public land for hiking, surfing, fishing, off-roading, birdwatching, and picnicking. The area includes a staging area and 125 acres of "open" riding area for off-road vehicle enthusiasts.
Tish Tang and Gray Falls Campgrounds •
From Fortuna: approx. 60 miles northeast off Highway 299, Willow Creek, CA
The Trinity River in northern Humboldt County is another popular swimming destination — these two campgrounds in the Six Rivers National Park are well known for swimming. Located near Willow Creek on Highway 299.
Tour of the Unknown Coast •
From Fortuna: approx. 8 miles west on Highway 211, Ferndale, CA 707-269-0235
This non-profit, fund raising event starts and finishes in the Victorian village of Ferndale and takes place in May. It features multiple bike tours — a 10-mile Farm Tour, 20-mile Family Fun Ride, 50-mile Challenge, a new 100-kilometer (62-mile) ride and the big kahuna 100-mile Tour. You will be cycling through some of the most beautiful country in the United States! It's extreme to be in the race, but fun for the whole family to watch and cheer their favorite entrant.
Van Duzen County Park •
From Fortuna: approx. 12 miles east on Highway 36, CA
Twelve miles east of Highway 101 on the Van Duzen River; old-growth redwoods, two drive-in campgrounds, picnic sites and group camping. Swimmers Delight offers year-round facilities.