About 200 miles north of San Francisco, Humboldt County on the Northern California Coast is a natural paradise. It boasts the world's tallest trees in Redwood National Park, the continental United States' longest stretch of wild beachfront along the Lost Coast, the state's second largest natural bay, as well as a variety of historic towns and seaports.
In addition to the giant redwoods, you'll find outdoor adventures like hiking, kayaking, biking and scenic drives. Humboldt Bay, for example, easily accessible from Old Town Eureka, offers paddlers a chance to see harbor seals, thousands of coastal birds, and schools of flapping bat rays. And the Avenue of the Giants offers by far the most remarkable auto tour among the massive old growth redwoods.
Combine the natural beauty with the area's commitment to agricultural quality -- the county has some of the state's oldest organic vineyards and farmers markets -- and visitors here find some excellent culinary discoveries.
The eclectic dining choices range from Old West lumber camp-style diners to Wine Spectator award-winning white-tablecloth restaurants. And the seafood? Fresh crab, salmon and clam are amply available at local markets and restaurants, as well as to visiting anglers and beachcombers.
Moreover, Humboldt oysters rank as the most popular in the state. Seventy percent of all oysters consumed in California originate from Humboldt Bay. And its Cypress Grove goat cheeses are found in fine restaurants and markets across the country. As an extra touch, many local markets, wine shops and restaurants offer Humboldt wines, pairing their best with the best from Humboldt farmers and fishermen.
The Redwood Coast also offers a variety of lodging choices, many of them intimate B&Bs that showcase the region's heritage. Many are in Eureka, or the Victorian Seaport, which has a restored 19th Century Old Town business district on the waterfront; and in Ferndale, which has been called the state's best preserved Victorian village. Familiar national motel chains along with RV parks are easily accessible along Hwy 101, often overlooking redwoods, farmlands, and the rugged coast.