When considering the best place to live in Humboldt County, it’s essential to consider the unique charm, amenities, and characteristics that each city, town, and community has to offer. Several factors, including lifestyle, employment opportunities, educational facilities, safety, healthcare, and natural beauty, can significantly influence one’s decision. Let’s explore some of the best places to live in Humboldt County.
Arcata, located on Humboldt Bay’s northern shore, is a vibrant college town. Humboldt State University (HSU), based here, infuses the city with youthful energy and an intellectual vibe. Known for its commitment to sustainability, Arcata features several city parks, an extensive trail network, and the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. The town’s Plaza is a social hub, hosting a weekly farmers market and annual festivals. Arcata is also home to an array of local shops, art galleries, and eateries, contributing to a robust local economy and a thriving arts scene. It’s a fantastic place for those who appreciate an eco-friendly lifestyle, an active cultural scene, and the dynamic atmosphere of a college town.
As the county seat and the largest city in Humboldt County, Eureka offers a blend of historical charm and modern amenities. Known for its beautifully preserved Victorian architecture, notably the Carson Mansion, Eureka boasts an attractive historic downtown area teeming with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. The city has a bustling waterfront with a boardwalk and marina, while Sequoia Park and Zoo provide abundant opportunities for recreation and family fun. Eureka also has a more diverse range of job opportunities compared to other areas in the county, especially in healthcare, education, and retail. With more urban amenities yet access to natural beauty, Eureka is an excellent place for families and professionals.
Known as the “Friendly City,” Fortuna is located in the Eel River Valley, a region known for its agricultural richness. The city is quieter than Eureka and Arcata and is surrounded by natural beauty, including the nearby Avenue of the Giants, a stunning redwood tree drive. Fortuna’s Riverwalk offers a beautiful trail for walking or biking with excellent views of the Eel River. It has a tight-knit community that hosts several festivals, including the famous Fortuna Rodeo. Fortuna also offers convenient access to healthcare facilities and a range of shopping and dining options. For those seeking a small-town atmosphere with plenty of outdoor activities, Fortuna might be the best fit.
This tiny coastal town provides a peaceful, scenic living environment. Trinidad is known for its stunning coastline featuring offshore rocks and a picturesque lighthouse. The town is surrounded by several state parks and beaches, offering opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing. Trinidad’s small community has a quiet, laid-back lifestyle, making it an ideal place for retirees and those looking for a tranquil seaside retreat.
Located between Arcata and Trinidad, McKinleyville is a growing community known for its beautiful location along the Pacific Ocean and a panoramic view of the Mad River Valley. The town has a mix of residential, commercial, and light industrial areas and offers a suburban living environment. McKinleyville’s Clam Beach County Park is a favorite spot for picnicking and beachcombing. The town also has a strong community spirit, showcased during the yearly Pony Express Days festival. With easy access to both Arcata and Eureka, McKinleyville is a good option for families and commuters.
While these towns and cities are some of the most popular places to live in Humboldt County, it’s worth remembering that the “best” place to live can be highly subjective. The right place for you will depend on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and circumstances. Whether you prefer the bustling energy of a college town like Arcata, the historic charm and urban amenities of Eureka, the friendly small-town atmosphere of Fortuna, the serene coastal beauty of Trinidad, or the convenient suburban lifestyle of McKinleyville, Humboldt County has a community to suit your taste. Each place offers its unique charm, community feel, and access to the county’s stunning natural landscapes, from the awe-inspiring redwood forests to the ruggedly beautiful Pacific coastline.
Nestled between the California Redwoods and lost coast, Ferndale is a quaint Victorian village. The entire city is an officially designated California Historic Landmark, with numerous well-preserved Victorian storefronts and homes. Ferndale is also the gateway to the Lost Coast, California’s most remote stretch of coastline. It’s a perfect place for those looking for a small, close-knit community with historical charm and picturesque natural surroundings.
Garberville is a small town in the heart of the world-famous Redwoods. It’s often used as a base for exploring the surrounding natural attractions, including Humboldt Redwoods State Park, King Range National Conservation Area, and Shelter Cove. The town has a vibrant arts scene, hosting several music festivals and art events throughout the year. While the town is relatively remote, it provides a relaxed lifestyle with a community-oriented spirit.
- Blue Lake
Named after the nearby freshwater lagoon, Blue Lake is a small town tucked away among the redwoods. It’s known for its arts and culture scene, particularly the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, which attracts students and artists from around the world. The school hosts the annual Mad River Festival, showcasing a variety of theatre, music, and dance performances. The city is also home to the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel, owned and operated by the local Native American tribe, offering dining, entertainment, and employment opportunities. This small town with a dynamic arts scene could be an excellent fit for creatives and those seeking a close-knit community.
- Willow Creek
Located in the eastern part of Humboldt County, Willow Creek is known as the Gateway to Bigfoot Country due to the numerous reported sightings of the mythical creature in the area. The Bigfoot Museum in town attracts enthusiasts from far and wide. It’s also a gateway to the Trinity Alps wilderness area, offering ample opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and whitewater rafting. Willow Creek has a warm, Mediterranean-like climate, contrasting with the coastal weather, making it an appealing choice for those seeking more sun and warmth.
Loleta is a small community known for its dairy farms and the famous Loleta Cheese Factory, where visitors can watch cheese being made. The town is located near the Eel River and the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Loleta’s tight-knit community and rural charm make it an appealing choice for those who prefer a slow-paced, country lifestyle.
In conclusion, Humboldt County’s diverse communities offer a wide range of living environments, from bustling cities to quiet, rural towns, and everything in between. Whether you prefer a lively college town like Arcata, a historic city like Eureka, a charming Victorian village like Ferndale, a community with a strong arts scene like Blue Lake, or a quiet, rural town like Loleta, you can find your perfect home in Humboldt County. These communities all share a love for the county’s stunning natural beauty and a commitment to preserving it, providing a unique and fulfilling lifestyle for their residents. When choosing the best place to live, it’s important to visit, explore, and get a feel for the community to ensure it aligns with your lifestyle and aspirations.