Humboldt Bay Travel Planner

Lora J. Finnegan

Eureka is off U.S. 101, about a 5 1/2-hour drive north of San Francisco. For additional travel information, contact the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau (800/346-3482 or www.redwoodvisitor.org).

Outdoor activities

Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. Hike the trails for excellent birding in 307-acre Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. Interpretive center at the south end of G St., Arcata; (707) 826-2359.

Hum-Boats. Rent a sailboat or kayak, or join a guided tour with Jay Dottle. Boats from $15, tours from $30. In the Woodley Island Marina; (707) 444-3048 or www.humboats.com.

Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. A visitor center just opened; good hiking trails and bird-watching. Off Hookton Rd. south of Eureka; (707) 733-5406.

Samoa Dunes Recreation Area. Hike, beachcomb, surf cast, or bird-watch. One area is open to all-terrain vehicles. At the south end of State 255; (707) 825-2300.

Around town

Arcata doings. Pick up brochures for the self-guided walking tour (707/822-4500) from the Arcata Main Street office. A farmers' market (9-1 Apr-Nov; 707/441-9999) enlivens the Arcata Plaza Saturday mornings. On September 21 and 22, the North Country Fair (707/822-5320) takes place in the plaza.

Clarke Historical Museum. The collection of basketry by Northern California tribes is the country's best. 240 E St.; (707) 443-1947.

Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum. Exhibits bring nautical history to life; also offers bay cruises aboard the M. V. Madaket. 12-4 Tue-Sat; $3 donation for museum entry, $10.50 tours. 423 First St.; (707) 444-9440.

Morris Graves Museum of Art. New museum of contemporary art. 636 F St.; (707) 442-0278.

Visiting Victorians. Pick up free self-guided walking tours of Eureka's Victorians from the Convention & Visitors Bureau (see above). Historian Ray Hillman offers three- to six-hour guided tours (from $60; 800/400-1849) of Victorian Eureka or nearby redwood parks; lunch provided.

Dining

Avalon. San Francisco style without the big-city prices; try lamb chops or planked salmon brought flaming to the table. Third and G Streets; (707) 445-0500.

Hurricane Kate's. Great wood-fired pizzas and salads with industrial-chic decor. 511 Second St.; (707) 444-1405.

Restaurant 301 at Hotel Carter. Elegant California cuisine, like fresh Humboldt Bay oysters, pecan-crusted Pacific salmon, and chèvre and potato wontons. 301 L St.; (800) 404-1390, (707) 444-8062, or www.carterhouse.com.

Samoa Cookhouse. Open since 1893, it's one of the West's last lumber-mill cookhouses, still serving three meals daily. Breakfast is best. On Humboldt Bay across the Samoa Bridge off Samoa Rd.; (707) 442-1659.

Lodging

Carter House Inns. The Carter House Inn is a redwood re-creation of a 19th-century mansion; five elegant rooms. The 23-room Hotel Carter is styled after a historic hotel. Ask about packages. Carter House Inn from $185, Hotel Carter from $105. See "Dining."

Cornelius Daly Inn. A 1905 colonial revival-style home with an airy, contemporary feel. Five rooms from $80. 1125 H St.; (800) 321-9656, (707) 445-3638, or www.dalyinn.com.

Eureka Inn. Once hosted Sir Winston Churchill. Recent owners have begun renovations. Don't miss dinner in the Rib Room. 104 rooms from $109. 518 Seventh St.; (800) 862-4906, (707) 442-6441, or www.eurekainn.com.