Boaters will "find themselves" in this beautiful natural bay on the rugged northern California coast.

For many centuries, mariners struggled with simply finding, let alone getting into Humboldt Bay. The natural entrance to the bay went undiscovered for so long because the opening was hidden and storms and fog concealed it. It was not until 1806 that Capt. Jonathan Winship first recorded entry into Humboldt Bay by sea. Eventually the mouth of the bay was protected and reinforced by sand spits and jetties.

The Humbolt Bay Bar is considered by boaters to be the second most dangerous bar crossing on the West Coast, the first being the Columbia River Bar. Visiting boaters who are unfamiliar with this crossing should check the tide tables and swell conditions before attempting passage.

Humboldt Bay Harbor has a two-hour Courtesy Tie-Up and the marina operates on VHF Channel 14. Guest boats can moor at Woodley Island Marina, the largest marina in Humboldt Bay, featuring a café and bar, laundry and shower facilities, ships chandlery and boat sales, as well as rentals and boat lessons.

Today, Eureka is a vibrant seaport city with a close proximity to numerous renowned attractions. The Aqua Rodeo Farms, located in the Woodley Island Marina, is a curious “farm” that is a must-stop if you love raw oysters. Take a tour of the facilities, and then enjoy some of Humboldt’s finest beers, wines, cheeses, breads, chocolates and of course fresh oysters in the Local Tasting Room. Nearby Old Town Eureka is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places, and its main street has an abundance of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and craft cocktails.

The Ma-le’l Dunes have a labyrinth of hiking trails to explore the beautiful views of the beaches and get some light cardio work in. For the urbanites, there are hundreds of Victorian-style structures in Eureka. Take a walking tour and marvel at the many wonderfully preserved Victorian homes, most of which were built in the 1800s. The most famous of the historical Victorian buildings is The Carson Mansion. Although it is not open to the public, you can marvel at the unique architecture of this Eureka landmark. With a bustling art scene with murals, sculpture, galleries, museums, art nights and performances, Eureka is a great place to soak in some art and culture.

The Table Bluff Lighthouse, also on Woodley Island, was the first lighthouse to mark Humboldt Bay in 1856. The lighthouse is located on the southwest end of the marina, and can be seen from the Don Calusen Embarcadero. It’s also visible from the Eureka boardwalk. To the north of Woodley Island, past Indian Island, is the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum. To get to the museum, boaters would need to take a car to cross the 255 Highway. For historical boat aficionados, the drive will be well worth it. You can spot the red barn-like structure surrounded by large boat artifacts from the highway. There is also an adjacent café called Samoa Cookhouse if you would like to try a historical familystyle meal in an old logging mill.

For more dining options, award-winning Lost Coast Brewery and Café is located just a few blocks from the marina. Lost Coast Brewery brews both year-round and seasonal beers, and is one of only two breweries in Humboldt County to be female owned. It also has a fantastic café where you can pair a unique brew with a burger or some “chicken lips.” Right off the marina on Woodley Island, Café Marina & Woodley’s Bar serves fresh, local seafood for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For a waterfront dining experience in walking distance from Old Town Eureka, Bayfront Restaurant has the traditional Japanese teppanyaki dining experience. Farther down the boardwalk, Jack’s Seafood 10 has more local seafood classics, and a great happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Eureka is not your cookie-cutter coastal town. It’s an eclectic working port that is directly in the middle of the stunning Redwood Coast that is definitely worth a visit.

Ingomar.org (Carson Mansion)