Southern Humboldt: A Guide for Tourists

Touristing in Southern Humboldt?  What is there to do?  My inbox today had that question from some Canadian folk. With your help, I thought I’d answer. Hopefully,  I’ll learn something new, too.

Humboldt is a very unique area no matter when you are here.  There are always things to do but not everybody enjoys those quiet nature adventures I prefer (more on nature activities later.)

Events:

Events  happen all year round.  There are often small town parties like Hot August Days in Phillipsville which can be fun way to see a slice of small town life.  There is also a world renown Reggae event and other concerts, as well as a plethora of fairs, festivals, and rodeos. The best way to keep up with your favorite  activities is The North Coast Journal’s Calander of Events. It is heavy on northern Humboldt action but still carries a large amount of Southern Humboldt fun stuff to do. And Northern Humboldt is only about an hour away. You can also search this Southern Humboldt Calendar which I just discovered and it is good, too.

For a good look at our local events see Kim Sallaway’s photography.

Places to get Great Food:
Eat at Cecil’s–upscale and delicious in Garberville proper.

Eat at the Benbow Inn--lovely old inn, good food/great atmosphere.  The King of Jordan stayed here when he was in town.

Coffee at the Getti-up–especially if you are a single guy.  The servers or “chicks in a box” as they are known locally are  reputedly stunning looking and very sweet.

Paradise Grill is another good food spot–I love their Cobb salads.

The Woodrose –Excellent breakfast and lunch.  Their Lox and onion bagel–mmmmm.

Traditional fare and atmosphere at the Eel River Cafe can be fun, too.

The Riverwood in just a couple miles north in Phillipsville has great Mexican food and a full bar.

More local food links

Places to Stay:

There are plenty of motels but you might want to reserve one if you plan on coming in late as sometimes they do book up.

The Humboldt House Inn is a fine example of a roadside motel–lots of locals stay there when they come out of the hills and want to relax with TV and a tub.  The Sherwood Forest Motel in Garberville is a little less corporate and very charming.  My personal recommendation though is to go to the Miranda Gardens Resort (20 min north of Garberville) and there is a lovely little hotel that is out of the ordinary and the food at the Miranda Cafe across the street is delicious.  The town is tiny and exquisitely situated in the Redwoods.  There is also the lovely Benbow Inn mentioned above.

Camping is amazing here.  Are you looking for a very rural experience?  Or a more convenient one with electric hookups?

My recommendation is that this is a beautiful area– revel in it and camp as rural as you dare.

Just south of the tiny town of Myers Flat is a lovely  area.  Just north of Myers Flat is Burlingame–wonderful redwood camping, long hiking trails, and a tiny little exhibit hall worth an hour or two.   Descriptions of these two places can be found here. If you are in an RV, there is an RV campground in Benbow south of Garberville about a mile.  Richardson Grove State Park also south of Garberville is amazing with great hikes and swim holes.  French’s Camp about 2 miles further south is a quaint private campground–though I haven’t been there in years.  If you want to really camp, try these places out.

What to Do:

Go to the Redwoods. The Avenue of the Giants is world renown.  Don’t miss it.  Take hours and drive awhile, then hike awhile.  Stop at Farmer’s stands and small towns.  Walk off the road and take pictures in places that look like dinosaurs still live here.

Hike some more.

Swim under the Miranda Bridge or at Womens Federation Park.

Walk around Garberville late in the evening and marvel at the quiet and the friendliness of the folk.  Watch a movie at The Garberville theater (scroll down to see current movies).  It is about 100 years old and being restored.  Have an Ice Cream at Treats and check your email at this WiFi spot. There are several cute gift shops including some with work by local artists and craftspeople.

Drive the curving roads that radiate out from Garberville and surrounding areas.  Just remember stop when you see no Trespassing signs.  Locals are friendly until you trespass.

Watch for wildlife.  Deer are common in twilight hours.  Hawks and other birds abound.  Coyotes, bears, bobcats and Mountain lions are rare but there.  If you drive to the coast, you can see whales, seals and tide-pool life.

Farmers Market in Garberville on Friday has the most delicious strawberries ever.

There is a winery in Myers Flat that I haven’t been to yet but have heard good things about.

Looking for a bar–try the Riverwood Inn in Phillipsville.  They have a ghost. (they have some great Mexican food, too.  My husband and sons love the burritos.)  Cecil’s in Garberville is small and friendly.

Drive out the beautiful road to Shelter Cove and play on the beach.
If you are into the marijuana experience, most people are pretty shy (though not all) and won’t cozy up to strangers but some unique stores exist because of the culture–The Hemp Connection sells wonderful hemp clothing.  And Roberto’s Tshirts has great Humboldt clothing and gifts.  There is a glass store in town too but I don’t remember the name.

RADIO:

For community radio at its best turn to KMUD or for NPR and other wonderful radio experiences go to KHSU. For music to rock your socks check out KSLG

If you have specific questions send them to me. I’ll try and answer.

More Links:

Another look at Southern Humboldt

Links from the California Welcome Center on places to see coming or going to So Hum.

Have a blast!

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51 comments

  • One great resource for tourists to Southern or Northern Humboldt is the county visitors bureau website. There’s oodles of information, cool pictures and one of the best calendars of events: http://redwoods.info. Yours, the friendly visitors bureau

  • It is a great site and I linked to your lists of hikes. I’m going to take my kids on some of those that I had forgotten about

  • It is a great site and I linked to your lists of hikes. I’m going to take my kids on some of those that I had forgotten about

  • When the south fork of the Eel River gets to low and mossy for good swimming I like to travel south to the High Rock Swimmng hole. Of course, we have our own wonderful spot that we use most of the time! The restaurant in Shelter Cove is really good with a wonderful view. I can’t remember its name right now, but it is the one under the hotel and it is full of wonderful mermaids. We aren’t golfers, but we have met many people who come here to stay at Benbow and golf. Also, on another note, Phillipsville Bar has an impressive supply of different types of tequila, for those who might enjoy a tequila tasting!

  • When the south fork of the Eel River gets to low and mossy for good swimming I like to travel south to the High Rock Swimmng hole. Of course, we have our own wonderful spot that we use most of the time! The restaurant in Shelter Cove is really good with a wonderful view. I can’t remember its name right now, but it is the one under the hotel and it is full of wonderful mermaids. We aren’t golfers, but we have met many people who come here to stay at Benbow and golf. Also, on another note, Phillipsville Bar has an impressive supply of different types of tequila, for those who might enjoy a tequila tasting!

  • Alhough technically not Southern Humboldt, Ferndale is also a nice place for a quaint and beautiful experience and they have great places
    for lunch. If I have out of town guests, I like to take Bull Creek road
    across to HoneyDew/Petrolia and then drive on in to Ferndale. That can take
    a good portion of the day, but if the weather is nice it is a beautiful
    drive. The first part of the drive gives a nice close up view of the
    Redwoods.

  • Alhough technically not Southern Humboldt, Ferndale is also a nice place for a quaint and beautiful experience and they have great places
    for lunch. If I have out of town guests, I like to take Bull Creek road
    across to HoneyDew/Petrolia and then drive on in to Ferndale. That can take
    a good portion of the day, but if the weather is nice it is a beautiful
    drive. The first part of the drive gives a nice close up view of the
    Redwoods.

  • This is great! I will send the link to my mom. She always stops in Garberville when she visits. When we were waiting for North to arrive, she wanted to stay in Garberville for a few days before continuing up into our area. As is was late fall I teased her that if she lingered too long, she would be snatched up to work in the hills! But really, I should make a weekend trip to check out some of these places. One place that I do make time to visit when I travel through is Organic Grace. I think it might be meaningful to many people are wanting to see the many components of South Humboldt.

  • This is great! I will send the link to my mom. She always stops in Garberville when she visits. When we were waiting for North to arrive, she wanted to stay in Garberville for a few days before continuing up into our area. As is was late fall I teased her that if she lingered too long, she would be snatched up to work in the hills! But really, I should make a weekend trip to check out some of these places. One place that I do make time to visit when I travel through is Organic Grace. I think it might be meaningful to many people are wanting to see the many components of South Humboldt.

  • I must put a plug in for the trails in the community park, whether your visitors are walkers, bikers, families with babies in strollers, dog-walkers, frisbee-golfers or bird-watchers. The farm itself is visitor-friendly and inspiring. The full trail with all the “extras” is a great workout for runners or mountain bikers, but it’s a good destination for a quiet picnic, or exploring big old madrones, bays and oaks if you want to stay around Garb but need a respite from “the friendliness of the folk”!

    Cecil’s is also a good bet for live music in town. And don’t forget ArtsAlive! Persimmons is the place if you’re in Redway: wine, fab food, live music, local art and a garden oasis.

  • I must put a plug in for the trails in the community park, whether your visitors are walkers, bikers, families with babies in strollers, dog-walkers, frisbee-golfers or bird-watchers. The farm itself is visitor-friendly and inspiring. The full trail with all the “extras” is a great workout for runners or mountain bikers, but it’s a good destination for a quiet picnic, or exploring big old madrones, bays and oaks if you want to stay around Garb but need a respite from “the friendliness of the folk”!

    Cecil’s is also a good bet for live music in town. And don’t forget ArtsAlive! Persimmons is the place if you’re in Redway: wine, fab food, live music, local art and a garden oasis.

  • I have not spent as much time as I would like at the community Park but it is lovely and the old barn is worth the visit alone.

  • I have not spent as much time as I would like at the community Park but it is lovely and the old barn is worth the visit alone.

  • Heading out to Shelter Cove, stop at Whitethorn Construction for itialian sandwhiches,coffee and itialian soda. The best place for dinner is the shelter cove resturant,the view is spectacular. The tea room is a nice afternoon treat with sandwhiches,scone and lots of special teas. And of course the ocean speaks for itself.

  • Heading out to Shelter Cove, stop at Whitethorn Construction for itialian sandwhiches,coffee and itialian soda. The best place for dinner is the shelter cove resturant,the view is spectacular. The tea room is a nice afternoon treat with sandwhiches,scone and lots of special teas. And of course the ocean speaks for itself.

  • It is so beautiful there, Kym. Your photos are fantastic – such exquisite light coming through the trees. Love the shot of your son running in the surf.

  • It is so beautiful there, Kym. Your photos are fantastic – such exquisite light coming through the trees. Love the shot of your son running in the surf.

  • Okay Kym, I’m now officially jealous of your amazing photography skills. Unbelievably good photo!

  • Okay Kym, I’m now officially jealous of your amazing photography skills. Unbelievably good photo!

  • For years before moving here we came up through Avenue of the Giants but never stopped at Founders Grove. When our daughter was visiting we drove to Benbow Inn and stopped at Founders Grove and found it very interesting. There are brochures that list what a lot of the plants are that are growing and gives a lot of information that a lot of visitors would probably not know and it is an easy walk as it is pretty flat with a large even path.

    With the Dyerville Giant lying on the ground it gives perspective to what a tall tree actually is and how large the Redwood can be. A photo next to the root area will dwarf very tall people but I didn’t get the same perspective standing next to an upright tree except that it was pretty big.

  • For years before moving here we came up through Avenue of the Giants but never stopped at Founders Grove. When our daughter was visiting we drove to Benbow Inn and stopped at Founders Grove and found it very interesting. There are brochures that list what a lot of the plants are that are growing and gives a lot of information that a lot of visitors would probably not know and it is an easy walk as it is pretty flat with a large even path.

    With the Dyerville Giant lying on the ground it gives perspective to what a tall tree actually is and how large the Redwood can be. A photo next to the root area will dwarf very tall people but I didn’t get the same perspective standing next to an upright tree except that it was pretty big.

  • Kathy at the bookstore

    I do admire your photos! (the one on the post previous of the young deer is amazing…oh there was the sweet hummingbird before that).
    Flavours (or, probably they spell it Flavors) in G’ville is where I get my morning cup of dark French these days. The lovely young women (and owner Zorra) who work there know precisely what I want (I pick up coffee for my partner, fresh squeezed orange juice for my youngest, and a blueberry scone as well as the French). They have some excellent salads and a nice menu; I keep intending to actually go eat there, but am usually too much on the run.
    And the food from Amelia’s (also probably spelled wrong) is quite good too.
    Gabe’s favorite is the little Chinese restaurant, because it is quiet and there are nice fish.
    Garberville/Redway are kind of unique in that we have such a range of restaurants in such small towns.

    Your Canadian visitors might like to check out the KMUD studios too (after stopping at Persimmon’s across the street). Block party tomorrow, but at any time it is neat to see a community run independent station in action. And the trees are pretty.

  • Kathy at the bookstore

    I do admire your photos! (the one on the post previous of the young deer is amazing…oh there was the sweet hummingbird before that).
    Flavours (or, probably they spell it Flavors) in G’ville is where I get my morning cup of dark French these days. The lovely young women (and owner Zorra) who work there know precisely what I want (I pick up coffee for my partner, fresh squeezed orange juice for my youngest, and a blueberry scone as well as the French). They have some excellent salads and a nice menu; I keep intending to actually go eat there, but am usually too much on the run.
    And the food from Amelia’s (also probably spelled wrong) is quite good too.
    Gabe’s favorite is the little Chinese restaurant, because it is quiet and there are nice fish.
    Garberville/Redway are kind of unique in that we have such a range of restaurants in such small towns.

    Your Canadian visitors might like to check out the KMUD studios too (after stopping at Persimmon’s across the street). Block party tomorrow, but at any time it is neat to see a community run independent station in action. And the trees are pretty.

  • suzy blah blah

    For word peeps –you dont wanna miss the used book store at the new spiffy location next to the the laundromat at the north end of Garberville, Suzy has found many good reads there for a reasonable price or trade, Real people, relaxing intimate atmosphere, bohemian culture, great eve dropping opportunities, rare treasures..

  • suzy blah blah

    For word peeps –you dont wanna miss the used book store at the new spiffy location next to the the laundromat at the north end of Garberville, Suzy has found many good reads there for a reasonable price or trade, Real people, relaxing intimate atmosphere, bohemian culture, great eve dropping opportunities, rare treasures..

  • suzy blah blah

    eeeeeep! i dropped an a and an s, it should be eavesdropping, but if yr lucky enough to be both cute and at the store when Suzy’s there –there might be a great Eve dropping (or falling) opportunity too, i’m the one in the garden area out front eating an apple ;o)

  • suzy blah blah

    eeeeeep! i dropped an a and an s, it should be eavesdropping, but if yr lucky enough to be both cute and at the store when Suzy’s there –there might be a great Eve dropping (or falling) opportunity too, i’m the one in the garden area out front eating an apple ;o)

  • Discouraged Democrat

    A guide to SoHum eateries should include the Mateel Cafe in Redway, serving up healthy, delicious food Monday thru Friday.
    And unfortunately, any guide to anywhere fun in the great State of California should now point out that almost ALL state parks, including 22 in Humboldt County alone, are slated for closure as yet another misguided and/or disingenuous way to balance the state budget.

  • Discouraged Democrat

    A guide to SoHum eateries should include the Mateel Cafe in Redway, serving up healthy, delicious food Monday thru Friday.
    And unfortunately, any guide to anywhere fun in the great State of California should now point out that almost ALL state parks, including 22 in Humboldt County alone, are slated for closure as yet another misguided and/or disingenuous way to balance the state budget.

  • Driving out to Harris yesterday, we passed two cars parked up at the junction with the Alderpoint road. Four or five young dreadlocked folks were holding up signs. One said: “WEED?” The other sign said: “WEED WORK WANTED” Only in Humboldt county can a tourist see something like that. We gave them big smiles both going and coming.

  • Driving out to Harris yesterday, we passed two cars parked up at the junction with the Alderpoint road. Four or five young dreadlocked folks were holding up signs. One said: “WEED?” The other sign said: “WEED WORK WANTED” Only in Humboldt county can a tourist see something like that. We gave them big smiles both going and coming.

  • suzy blah blah

    guess i’m paranoid but the crisscross pattern makes the clouds in the top picture look, to me, like chem-trails. Three vertical lines dissipating and floating off the page to the right, and two fresher horizontal lines one above and one behind the tree…

    http://wendyusuallywanders.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/chemtrails1.jpg
    http://www.relfe.com/07/chemtrails_contrails_what_are.html
    http://educate-yourself.org/ct/
    http://extraordinaryintelligence.com/files/2009/05/chemtrails.jpg
    http://scribblguy.50megs.com/chemtrails2.jpg

  • suzy blah blah

    guess i’m paranoid but the crisscross pattern makes the clouds in the top picture look, to me, like chem-trails. Three vertical lines dissipating and floating off the page to the right, and two fresher horizontal lines one above and one behind the tree…

    http://wendyusuallywanders.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/chemtrails1.jpg
    http://www.relfe.com/07/chemtrails_contrails_what_are.html
    http://educate-yourself.org/ct/
    http://extraordinaryintelligence.com/files/2009/05/chemtrails.jpg
    http://scribblguy.50megs.com/chemtrails2.jpg

  • cherokeebydesign

    I love a nice sunset/sunrise photo.

  • cherokeebydesign

    I love a nice sunset/sunrise photo.

  • I just wanted to thank you for your beautiful photographs. I fell in love with Humboldt while passing through in the 1990s and in the back of my mind I always wanted to live there in the forest and fog and Redwoods. Now as my 11 year marriage has crashed and burned and there is nothing left for me in the Midwest I have decided to spend the rest of my life out there in the Lost Coast area. I am not moving out for another year because I need to be able to save enough money to take 6 months or so off and just explore the beauty and hike and take photos.

    Every day I return to your webpage and remind myself why I fell in love with Lost Coast/Humboldt. As soon as my savings are adequate to float for a long period I am relocating, your photos are in my dreams.

  • I just wanted to thank you for your beautiful photographs. I fell in love with Humboldt while passing through in the 1990s and in the back of my mind I always wanted to live there in the forest and fog and Redwoods. Now as my 11 year marriage has crashed and burned and there is nothing left for me in the Midwest I have decided to spend the rest of my life out there in the Lost Coast area. I am not moving out for another year because I need to be able to save enough money to take 6 months or so off and just explore the beauty and hike and take photos.

    Every day I return to your webpage and remind myself why I fell in love with Lost Coast/Humboldt. As soon as my savings are adequate to float for a long period I am relocating, your photos are in my dreams.

  • Noiseburst,

    This place is magic. It captures people’s hearts and won’t let go. When you are ready to come out let me know and I’ll try and help you ease the transition.

  • Noiseburst,

    This place is magic. It captures people’s hearts and won’t let go. When you are ready to come out let me know and I’ll try and help you ease the transition.

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