Northcoast & the Giant Redwoods
Sometimes known as the Redwood Coast or the Lost Coast, the region between San Francisco and the Oregon border encompasses a wild and rugged region of the Golden State. Travelers will discover hidden beaches, mountainous terrain and, most notably, dense forests. From vineyards cascading down velvet-covered hillsides to the fog-cloaked timberlands of megalithic proportions, this gorgeous expanse of California conjures up a getaway dependent upon nature’s most bountiful gifts. And bountiful they are!
Sandcastles and Seals
Beach exploration is practically a sport in this region, as a variety of sandy escapes lie up and down the coastline. Bowling Ball Beach will have visitors scratching their heads at this bowling alley floor, but there are no pins to knock down! Get an out-of-this-world feeling on the black sands of Usal Beach, where the Mars Rover would feel right at home, or head to Pudding Creek and Ten Mile Beach, where the sand “squeaks” and seals romp in the surf.
Art of a Different Sort
As one of the very few museums dedicated to the history of skin ink art, the Triangle Tattoo & Museum in Fort Bragg pointedly covers the medium from circus tattoo men to tools of the trade. Stop by for a visit or some new ink, but don’t needle the clientele!
There is so much water around here that it would be a shame to miss out on some sea kayaking. Humboldt Bay has an entire association dedicated to the sport, and rentals are available, along with an aquatics center for freshwater swimming.
Land of the Giants
Redwood National Park, combined with several state parks, preserves 140,000 acres of the gentle giants inhabiting the temperate rainforests of coastal California. Wandering through the earth’s largest trees on Avenue of the Giants will certainly put things in perspective and reinforce just how small mankind is in the actual scheme of things.
A 3½-mile self-guided tour of murals in Eureka will take hikers past nearly two dozen public art paintings, and in doing so, pass by some of the best examples of Victorian architecture in the country. The tour is a terrific twofer!
Navigating 30 miles between Arcata to Ferndale, the Kinetic Grand Championship requires people-powered handmade vehicles to make the journey every Memorial Day. This self-named “Triathlon of the Art World” mixes scientific design with chaotic fun for a family-friendly event.
Timber and Tourism
Like the rest of California, the North Coast was explored by the Spanish and other Europeans after thousands of years of Native American habitation. The Russian American Company from Sitka created settlements in the early 1800s here. However, many of today’s towns came about during the California gold rush, when miners discovered a bit of the sparkly substance here and stayed when the gold ran out, redirecting their efforts to the timber industry.
When clear-cutting the statuesque redwoods for growing construction needs in San Francisco and beyond, the heralded forests went from covering over 2 million acres in Northern California to less than 10 percent of that area by 1910. Fortunately, early conservationists were successful at protecting the old-growth trees, and today, Redwood National Park and four adjacent state parks safely harbor 45 percent of all coastal redwoods left for today’s visitors to enjoy.
Most of the North Coast remains a rough-and-tumble wildland, with small hamlets scattered throughout, making each settlement a self-sufficient haven in a setting that looks like it was ripped out of the pages of a fairy tale. And when looking at Humboldt County’s colossal trees, Mendocino County’s picture-perfect communities, Del Norte’s magical beaches and Sonoma’s plentiful harvests, it would not take much to believe that this region is a 21st-century land of enchantment.
With so many vineyards and so little time, it is difficult to select where to start and end with wine tastings in this region. But Sonoma County has the most concentrated number of wineries, and a few even produce olive oil and honey, so don’t spend too much time fermenting on a decision. Budget your time wisely as you make the most of your trek down this famed wine trail.
For More Information
Humboldt County Convention and