Humboldt County is a predominantly rural area, and as result has pockets of community scattered throughout. Many small towns or cities offer residents and visitors unique experiences.
About 10 miles inland from Arcata, Blue Lake offers warmer weather, Mad River access, a small town center, Native-owned Brewery, Bowling Alley and home to an international theater school. Population is 902 (2019).
From Fortuna, Hwy 36 extends East and several small communities populate the area. The Van Duzen River runs along the road, and the areas of Hydesville and Carlotta are marked by riverfront lots and pastures lead uphill to the woods. A popular county park is tucked in the redwoods along the river and this an elementary school serving the area along with small shops and farm stands.
Sitting 20 miles south of Eureka, Ferndale is known as “The Victorian Village.” This town prides itself on its small-but-mighty victorian era presence, where mainstreet is kept up neatly and features many quality locally owned shops and eateries. The town is also well known for its expansive pastures, dairy farming and is home to the County Fair each year. Population is 1,377 (2019).
Fieldbrook is rural residential area that sits about 6 miles east of McKinleyville. Featuring large and wooded parcels, this area has an elementary school and small market/eatery. While only minutes from ‘town,’ Fieldbrook feels like a true rural community, tucked away in the redwoods. Population is 880 (2019).
Freshwater sits slightly inland about halfway between Eureka and Arcata. It’s a small residential community, bordered on one side by Freshwater Creek. There is an elementary school and a county park with a swimming hole. Population is part of Eureka City.
12 miles from Eureka, up a winding, wooded road is the rural residential area of Kneeland, known for larger, forested parcels and privacy. Because Kneeland sits inland, and is higher in elevation, the weather is slightly warmer, the roar of the ocean is harder to hear, if at all, and rural lifestyle is the rule. Population is approx 883.
ing 13 miles south of Eureka, about midway between Eureka and Fortuna. The Loleta area is home to two county parks and two First Nations Reservations, The Wiyot and Bear River Band. There are dairy pastures, scenic views, and an elementary school. Population of Loleta is 632 (2019).
The small community of Petrolia sits just inland from the ocean along the Mattole River, flanked by tall hills and mountains. The weather is not as hot as other inland ares, but stays temperate due to the coastal influence. The community is centered around a small store, elementary school, rural lifestyle. The population of Petrolia is 435 (2019). It sits 29 miles south of Ferndale, but the road to get there is narrow, winding and wild.
The Rio Dell and Scotia area is 9 miles south of Fortuna and 26 miles south of Eureka. It has a notable rock face causing a large bend in the river to the east of the two small communities. Both areas have a small town center with outlying rural properties. Until recently, the entire town of Scotia was owned by a lumber company, and it is currently evolving to become a town in its own right. Population of Rio Dell is 3,357 (2019) and Scotia is 546 (2019).
Southern Humboldt is an inland area of the county sitting between the King’s Range to the west (also known as the Lost Coast) and rolling, rural hills to the east. Most of the community is spread along the 101 corridor, focused primarily in the town of Garberville. Many large rural parcels dot the hills and areas surrounding the town, and extend for miles in all directions. The weather in Southern Humboldt is not coastal, and gets much hotter in the Summer. Rivers and creeks run throughout the area, and a few roads take you out to the beach. Smaller communities in the area include Benbow, Myers Flat, and Redway. The population of Garberville is 913 (2019).
On the coast, at Arcata, Hwy 299 takes you inland, eventually meeting up with the Trinity River, and Willow Creek, where the community of 1,513 (census 2019) live in a town center and spread outward into the hills with larger lots, pastures and rural riverfront acreage. The weather is notably warmer in the Summer and colder in the Winter, making recreation and farming hallmarks of the lifestyle along the Trinity river. Heading North from Willow Creek you arrive at the First Nations Reservation of the Hupa people and the small community of Orleans. Along the 299 to the East, is the area known as Salyer. Willow Creek is 40 miles East of Arcata.