8 of the best local places to safely visit

Local destinations around HSU to get your adventure on during the pandemic
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Local destinations around HSU to get your adventure on during the pandemic

(Photos by Elise Fero)

Trust me as someone who has had COVID-19, it’s better to be in quarantine than to catch the virus and be isolated alone. So what do you do with your spare time? If you have any sort of adventurous spirit, this is the list for you. In no particular order, here is eight of the best places to go to while attending Humboldt State University.

1. Redwood National and State Parks

On a cold day in Redwood National Park, the forest is filled with sounds of rain hitting leaves of every individual plant

While this is a farther location 29 miles north of campus, it’s absolutely worth the drive. This is one of the coolest and most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The area has multiple hiking trails, beaches, a canyon of ferns, and of course, the world’s tallest tree, Hyperion. If you like National Parks, go scratch this one off your list. Not only is it breathtaking, but it’s also where parts of Jurassic Park and Star Wars were filmed. It crosses between Humboldt and Del Norte Counties and protects 45 percent of the remaining coastal redwood trees. This location is an endless adventure that you can return to and still find something new.

2. College Cove

Waves crash against rocks where anemone and starfish live at College Cove as people walk dogs and throw frisbees in September

College Cove is located in Trinidad about 13 miles away from campus. This location has brilliant blue water surrounded by forested boulders. Visitors walk on the beach, and some surf. You’ll also find a plethora of dogs! There are tiny pools of water where anemone and starfish live. Lots of studying to do? Bring your work here. Homework with a view while listening to the sound of waves is unmatched.

Melanie Guillen is a freshman film major who finds serenity at College Cove.

“I’m not really a beach person but it’s more secluded than the others,” said Guillen. “I like it.”

3. Clam Beach

The sun sets and the tide leaves seafoam scattered across Clam beach on Sept. 24

This beach is closest to campus and only a short drive headed north, toward McKinleyville. The sand is soft and warm, perfect for finding sand dollars. Watch for jellyfish washed on the shore, that goes for most beaches. While it’s not surrounded by trees, looking back behind you is the forest and beautiful fog. This area is also phenomenal for sunsets and changes in the tide.

Freshman wildlife major James Lara said he loves Clam Beach for the picturesque views.

“I like the little dunes it has, it’s pretty cool. It’s very pretty for stargazing,” said Lara. “The water’s pretty low so you can go pretty far into the waves and be safe.”

4. Arcata Community Forest

If you want to explore the forest, this location is a lovely place to start. You can find loads of mushrooms. I even found a mushroom in the shape of a heart! Remember to always research and double check when foraging. The forest hosts large trees, tall and wide. There are multiple paths to take, great areas to jog or bike. There’s often people around, but you can find a little oasis within your path. At the top is Redwood Park with a friendly playground and picnic area.

5. Moonstone Beach

This beach looks straight out of a fairytale. Located in Trinidad, this beach is on the scenic coast and has a boardwalk. The beach is the perfect local vacation spot. The views are breathtaking, and a large stream of water flows through the sand, leaving a perfect wading area and play space for children. The beach is dog friendly, as well. Sunsets are magical, the waves are great for surfing and there are restaurants nearby. A perfect combination!

6. Agate Beach

Waves bring new stones in as people search for the perfect agate at Agate Beach

Another location in Trinidad, Agate beach is located at Patrick’s Point State Park and has a campground for those interested. You do have to pay $8 for day-use but it’s well worth the expense. This beach is exactly what the name says. You’ll find people looking through all the pebbles on the beach, and you should, too! It’s also a spot to watch wildlife and be completely engulfed by nature. You shouldn’t swim here, but you can take long walks on the beach. It’s a beautiful area, and not too crazy busy. Take some time for yourself, bring a picnic basket and have a good beach day.

7. Avenue of the Giants

Of all of the listed locations, this is the farthest from campus at 40 miles north in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. If the name didn’t intrigue you, the description will. Imagine every post you see on Instagram or Pinterest with a van in the middle of the road surrounded by extremely tall trees, I know you know the ones I’m talking about. Those are here. The redwoods surround the road, looking like a magical pathway through 31 miles of epic perfection. Some of the trees are over 300 feet tall, and one tree is almost 1,000 years old!

8. Forest paths around HSU

Plants hang over a cliff to show their roots and reach for the sun underneath redwood trees allow the paths around HSU

If you don’t drive, no worry! Stick to the paths that are connected to campus. You can find all sorts of mushrooms, ferns and creeks. This area is easy to access and absolutely beautiful. Students are usually the only people exploring, but sometimes you’ll see someone else jogging. The area is perfect for walking your pet, biking, running, or just enjoying the views. This is also the spot where I have been able to find the most banana slugs. They love blackberry bushes!

Undeclared freshman Natalie Barber laughed with her friends, Guillen and Nicole Velazquez, about going on spontaneous adventures on the paths around HSU.

“One day you’ll be like you guys wanna go hiking? Yeah okay! Let me get my bag ready,” said Barber.

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