The Humboldt Coastal Nature Center
The growing, green-roofed Humboldt Coastal Nature Center, founded by Friends of the Dunes, was voted Humboldt’s Best Building in 2014! It is the public gateway to over 1000 acres of coastal lands including the dunes near Arcata and Eureka, possibly Humboldt’s best-kept secret. From the Nature Center you can explore on your own or enjoy guided hikes highlighting bird-watching, mushrooms, dune movement, even observation of hive-less solitary bees that live in the sand. On one ten-minute trail alone, you can start at a marsh, walk through a pigmy forest, pick huckleberries, count birds, run (or roll) down massive sand dunes, and dip your toes in the ocean!
Thanks to decades of restoration work by Friends of the Dunes, these coastal dunes may be the most biologically diverse habitat in Humboldt County, and are among the most pristine dunes of their kind on Earth. The wind and sand dance with the Pacific, creating both turbulence and serenity. Saltwater marshes give way to lichen-draped forests, with foxes, tree frogs, wildflowers and the endangered Humboldt Bay wallflower found along the trail.
The Nature Center’s facilities and programming make it the only center on California’s North Coast where people of all ages and abilities experience and learn about all the diverse habitats of the Humboldt Bay area. The Humboldt Coastal Nature Center’s exhibits, trails and programs combine experiential education, conservation-minded recreational access, and hands-on restoration activities to increase public understanding of local coastal environments and to inspire community-driven stewardship of these fragile resources.