Welcome to Eureka
One hour north of Garberville, on the edge of the giant Humboldt Bay, lies Eureka, the largest bay north of San Francisco. With a 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 Jazz Festival has 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 historic district with good shopping and a revitalized waterfront. For nightlife, head to Eureka’s livelier sister up the road, Arcata.
Eureka was a major logging town in the late 19th century, and Victorian lumber-baron mansions dot the town; an impressive 16% or so of the city's Old Town buildings have been catalogued as important historical structures.