Eureka, California, just 272 miles north of San Francisco on Hwy 101 and just south of the Redwood National Park, is an affordable (for California) coastal town with plenty to offer. Humbolt Bay is a major fishing, boating and shipping port for the area providing jobs and tourism to the area. The area is considered forested coastal mountains with a maritime climate.
On a recent 5-day visit (in January!), we found plenty of things to do and interesting spots to visit in this lovely 19th century town with many historic homes and buildings. The city was founded in 1850 when settlers came for the lumber and the gold rush. The word “Eureka” is a Greek word meaning “I have found it” and those who live in Eureka have indeed found it. The charming downtown is bustling with activity and we spent hours wandering the shops and seeing historic sites. The bookstore was a welcoming refuge from the early morning mist. There were several outfitting stores for summer hikers and the marina was quiet in the winter. Hundreds of boats lined the docks – both fishing and pleasure craft waiting for warmer weather.
Weather: This is northern, mountainous California – the most westerly city in the continental US. The winters see a high of 55 degrees and in August it is around 64 degrees F. It gets 40 inches of rain per year, mostly in a fine cloudy mist, and rarely has snow.
Population: Eureka is a town of about 30,000 year-round residents, but the population soars in the summertime. 11.6% of the population is over 65.
Housing: The median selling price of a home in Eureka is $225,000 – which is extremely low for California. You can find apartments for rent in the $800+ range.
Eureka is a great home-base for northern California. The Amazing Redwood Forest is in the neighborhood. Be sure to visit Fort Humbolt Park up on the ridge to learn about the pioneer foresting industry. Take a drive out to the beaches, through Arcata and the tiny town of Samoa. The north California coast is wild and wonderful with miles and miles of beaches, driftwood, shells and exploration.
Zoom in and out on the map below to see Eureka and local attractions!