Things to Do in Eureka, California

Places to visit in Eureka, CA.

There are a variety of things to do in Eureka, California. With all the sites you can visit, sights you can view, and things to do, Eureka is one of the top destinations in California. So Eureka has everything you need if you’re looking for something exciting in terms of landmarks, want to catch a show or concert, or want to relax and enjoy a hike or picnic.

What to do in Eureka, California

Sequoia Park and Zoo

Founded in 1907, Sequoia Park and Zoo is the oldest accredited zoo in the country. It’s also one of the largest zoos north of San Francisco. In addition to having an impressive array of animals, it is a popular destination for family outings, weddings, and birthday parties.

The 67-acre park offers two playgrounds, picnic tables, a duck pond, and an expansive lawn. Visitors can also explore the redwood forest on several trails. One of these trails, the Sequoia Creek Trail, heads west from Duck Pond and loops back along a forested creek.

Places to go in Eureka - Red Panda at the Sequoia Park Zoo
Places to go in Eureka – Red Panda at the Sequoia Park Zoo

The park also includes several informal hiking and biking trails. The trails cross watercourses, wetlands, and meadows. They show the shortcomings of democratic trail development but also indicate the desire for more access.

Visitors can view an aviary, insect collection, and barnyard among the many exhibit areas. Animals include red jungle fowl, rabbits, grey parrots, and llamas.

Carson Mansion

Carson Mansion is one of Eureka, California’s most famous Victorian structures. Designed by the Newsom Brothers, this structure is an example of the Victorian style.

Carson Mansion is a three-story structure that houses 18 rooms. The interior is decorated with exotic wood from around the world. In addition, it is lined with plasterwork and stained glass windows.

William Carson, a lumber baron, commissioned the Newsoms to design the house. It took a team of over 100 men two years to complete the project.

Best places to visit in Eureka - Carson Mansion
Best places to visit in Eureka – Carson Mansion

Today, the Carson Mansion is a private club. A group of local community leaders purchased the mansion in 1950. They built a significant addition to the north elevation, which includes a meeting room and a large bar.

The mansion sported a roof made of horizontal red swaths during its construction. But over the next decade, the house began to fall into disrepair.

Madaket Harbor Cruise

If you want to see Humboldt Bay, you can take the Madaket Harbor Cruise. It is a 75-minute history tour of the bay. The tour takes place on the MV Madaket, the oldest passenger-carrying vessel in continuous service in the United States.

As you might imagine, the narrated history cruise includes all standard maritime trivia. This has Humboldt Bay’s history, the timber industry, and even the discovery of the bay itself.

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Best tourist attractions in Eureka - Madaket Cruise on Humboldt Bay
Best tourist attractions in Eureka – Madaket Cruise on Humboldt Bay

Madaket is a historic California vessel dating back to 1910. She was part of six ships owned by Capt. Henry H. Cousins, who settled in Eureka, California. He launched her on June 6, 1910.

She became a ferry, then a cargo vessel, and finally a passenger ship. Then, in 1945, her ownership changed, as two Hoffman brothers purchased her from the Coggeshall Launch Company.

Clarke Historical Museum

The Clarke Historical Museum (CHM) is located in Old Town Eureka, California. It features a variety of displays and exhibits that tell the story of the Gold Rush, Native American culture, and the lumber trade, to name a few. In addition to being an exciting place to visit, CHM is also a great place to learn about the local history and heritage of the City of Eureka and Humboldt County.

As one would expect from the name, the CHM has a small staff and limited hours. Luckily, the Eureka Visitors Bureau has relieved the CHM of its duties, allowing the museum to be open longer and on more days of the week.

Places to visit in Eureka - Clarke Historical Museum
Places to visit in Eureka – Clarke Historical Museum

The Clarke Historical Museum’s main draw is its collection of Northwest Native Indian artifacts. While the collection is a small local population sample, it’s impressive. In addition, these relics from the pre-contact era boast pretty snazzy adornments. One of the museum’s most notable collections features baskets from master basket maker Nettie Ruben.

Samoa Dunes Recreation Area

The Samoa Dunes Recreation Area in Eureka, California, is a multi-recreational park owned and operated by the Bureau of Land Management. Visitors can enjoy various recreational activities, including camping, hiking, off-highway vehicle riding, birdwatching, and picnicking.

Off-highway vehicle use is expected to increase to nearly 50% of the total service at the site. This will create a substantial negative impact on non-OHV visitors, as well as other users. To mitigate these impacts, BLM has proposed a Visitor Services Plan.

Things to do in Eureka - Samoa Dunes Recreation Area
Things to do in Eureka – Samoa Dunes Recreation Area

Non-OHV users will be encouraged to reduce their use of the area. In addition, several agencies will work to develop roadside parking and kiosks along New Navy Base Road. These will help alleviate safety issues.

Although Samoa Dunes will remain closed to vehicular traffic, off-highway vehicles will continue to be allowed in 140 acres of the park. These areas are considered the “Visitor Management Zone III” and are designated as open to OHV use.

Best Things to Do in Eureka, California

Places to visit in Eureka, CA:

  1. Sequoia Park and Zoo
  2. Carson Mansion
  3. Madaket Harbor Cruise
  4. Clarke Historical Museum
  5. Samoa Dunes Recreation Area

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