One hour north of Garberville, on the edge of the giant Humboldt Bay, lies Eureka, the largest bay north of San Francisco. With strip-mall sprawl surrounding a lovely historic downtown, it wears its role as the county seat a bit clumsily. Despite a diverse and interesting community of artists, writers, pagans and other free-thinkers, Eureka’s wild side slips out only occasionally – the Redwood Coast Dixieland Jazz Festival (www.redwoodcoastmusicfestivals.org) is a rollicking festival with events all over town, and summer concerts rock out the F Street Pier – but mostly, Eureka goes to bed early. Make for Old Town, a small district with colorful Victorians, good shopping and a revitalized waterfront. For night life, head to Eureka’s trippy sister up the road, Arcata.