HUMBOLDT: Outdoorsman’s Oasis
You’re midway into a 590-nautical-mile run down the Pacific from Seattle to San Francisco aboard your Tayana 37 sloop. Before you tackle Cape Mendocino, pull into the safe harbor of Humboldt Bay. Not a sailor? Bring or rent toys for paddling, surfing, rafting, biking and hiking. Take a pack-mule trip. Heck, just find naked swimming holes in any of the county’s six rivers. Humboldt’s a bounty of adventure — especially if you stray into the wrong pot patch. — Ed Murrieta
You’re probably a grow-your-own type so be sure to visit Wonderland Nursery in Garberville for local seeds and clones, and an excellent stock of edibles, including many made-in-Humboldt brands. Humboldt Patients Resources Center was voted Arcata’s 2015 Business of the Year. Around the corner, The Heart of Humboldt Dispensary is about the size of a garden shed. Yep, Humboldt eighths start at $30. Quality is what you expect and why you came to Humboldt.
Upgrade from county beach campgrounds and check into Oyster Beach Resort. Nestled in a 14-acre eucalyptus grove on the Samoa Spit fronted by a quarter-mile stretch of sandy beach between Humboldt Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Oyster Beach Resort is more rustic than resorty. Oyster Beach offers three cabins of varying size and comforts, just a 10-minute drive from downtown Eureka. Bring your kayaks, surfboards and all-terrain vehicles — the Samoa Dunes are just across the road. How’d you like to barbecue oysters on the beach then go to the drag races? Catered oyster picnics are available; Samoa Drag Strip is across the road.
Order another round of everything — breakfast, lunch and dinner in a lumberjack-style restaurant and museum located in an old logging town. Samoa Cookhouse is more filling than fancy, offering a set daily menus of all-you-can-eat comfort foods at every meal. Barbecued pork belly are the only words you need when ordering at Humboldt Smokehouse in Eureka. It smells more like motor oil than cooking oil inside Black Lightning Motorcycle Cafe in downtown Eureka but that’s because of the vintage motorcycles on display. Light breakfast fare plus sandwiches named for famed motorbike brands. You can’t get any more local than the grass-fed beef raised by Ferndale 4H kids at Ferndale Meat Co. Grab sandwiches to-go or steaks to cook.
Humboldt has six craft breweries. The smallest, Humboldt Regeneration, grows its own wheat and hops on a 1-acre farm in McKinleyville. The nano-brewery makes and serves 20 different beers in a storage unit. Grab a growler to-go. Lost Coast Brewery opened a new production facility in Eureka this year and is now offering tours and tasting room visits. Want something stronger? Humboldt has four craft distilleries. Humboldt Craft Spirits in Blue Lake and Humboldt Distillery in Fortuna have tasting rooms. Visit the latter for a sip of hemp-infused vodka. End your afternoons at Eureka’s Carson House Inn, which serves $2.50 martinis made with Humboldt Distillery’s (non-hemp) vodka during happy hour, 4-6 p.m. daily.
Feeling extra adventuresome? Discuss legalization with some of the anti-legalization pot growers who’ll come off the hill for Hempfest Nov. 11-13, combining music, vendors and activism in the 26th annual celebration of Humboldt’s harvest. In the spring, there’s Cannifest, an annual growers Olympics of sorts. Pot-growing supply store Trim Scene Solutions in Redway dresses up its monthly vendor trade shows and product demos with free dab bars and concentrates contests.
The Aficionados’ Treat
California’s most sophisticated city promises the Golden State’s most sophisticated cannabis travel experience. Chic dispensaries, high-quality cannabis, smoking and vaping lounges, pot-paired dinners, edibles cooking classes and ganja yoga all available to visitors with valid medical cannabis recommendations. Plus all the general tourist attractions — restaurants, museums, shopping, big-city energy — that make San Francisco a world-class travel destination without weed.
Retired Hippies’ Heaven
Never has the tie-dyed dream of traveling back roads in a vintage Volkswagen bus been more palpable than when turning off Highway 101 onto Highway 128 wending west, where the landscape turns to grapevines and farm houses. Yes, this is Mendocino County wine country, and as the axiom asserts — where wine grows, weed grows — it’s also cannabis country. Seeds of cannabis tourism have been planted here and will mature over time like wine.
Firing Up Foodies
You think you’ve tasted Humboldt County? Clear your throat and try again. Humboldt’s farm-to-toke reputation overshadows its farm-to-fork roots — but behold grass-fed beef and grass-fed dairy; field-to-glass craft distilleries, cideries and breweries; single-origin drinking chocolates; and Humboldt Bay bivalves that account for 70 percent of California oysters.
The Outdoorsman’s Oasis
You’re midway into a 590-nautical-mile run down the Pacific from Seattle to San Francisco aboard your Tayana 37 sloop. Before you tackle Cape Mendocino, pull into the safe harbor of Humboldt Bay. Not a sailor? Bring or rent toys for paddling, surfing, rafting, biking and hiking. Take a pack-mule trip. Heck, just find naked swimming holes in any of the county’s six rivers. Humboldt’s a bounty of adventure — especially if you stray into the wrong pot patch.
Girls’ Spa Weekend
Don’t let the lack of an actual cannabis spa in the Bay Area keep you and your BFFs from enjoying a cannabis spa weekend. DIY and BYO, girls. Load up on body-soothing edibles, topicals and frozen raw cannabis juice shots. Check into a four-star spa. Hike the Headlands. Soak up Sausalito. Book a private cannabis products demo for you and your besties.
For the Bros
If the Rat Pack (and not just Peter Lawford) had been stoners, it would be all buds and bros in Tahoe today. Wait — it is, bro. Grab your goggles and go for solar hits and back-country boarding; ganja-fueled gambling; Nevada dispensaries and brothels; and a free haircut if you’re lucky.
Perfect for The Parents
Sacramento is a political town, but even cannabis regulation and taxation take back seats to the interest in the Kings’ new downtown arena. The city’s culinary scene sizzles and beckons even San Francisco food critics. To spark your appetite for Sacramento’s farm-to-fork fare, or to quell the nauseating hype of the new arena, medical cannabis patients can smoke throughout the state capital’s walkable and bikeable downtown neighborhoods — even on the Capitol steps. Stick to the city core and you may not need a car.