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The Best Humboldt County Events for Tourists

December 7, 2017
(Courtesy of Northern Nights)
With the opening of California’s recreational cannabis market in 2018, Humboldt County—also known as America’s cannabis heartland—is expected to receive an influx of cannabis tourists seeking out the roots of California cannabis culture.


A Cannabis Traveler’s Guide to Finding the Real Humboldt County

Want to plan a trip yourself? The best time to visit Humboldt County is between May and November, as Humboldt winters tend towards being long and rainy. We recommend centering your trip around one of the cultural events happening in the area during that time. See below for a calendar of Humboldt events during peak cannatourism season. Exact dates for many aren’t announced until a few months before the event, so check the websites for updated information. Once you’ve decided when to go, check out our Cannabis Traveler’s Guide to Finding the Real Humboldt County for a suggested three-day itinerary that goes beyond tourist traps.

May: Kinetic Grand Championship

What began in 1969 as a friendly wager between two local artists has grown into a totally unique three-day endurance challenge for elaborate pedal-powered art cars. The 42-mile race—over land and water—is free to attend and entirely volunteer run, with teams entering simply “for the glory.”

June: Arcata Main Street Oyster Fest

Humboldt County’s top oyster purveyors gather on Arcata’s central plaza for a two-day food festival, with local beer, wine, and cider also available, plus live music right in the center of town.

July: Northern Nights Music Festival

Set in a stunning redwood forest with swimming access on the Eel River, this top electronic music fest brings dozens of incredible DJs together for a weekend-long, rage-all-night celebration with a distinctly Humboldt vibe. In 2016 it became the first music festival with a designated area for on-site cannabis consumption.


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August: Reggae on the River

Going into its 34th year, this annual reggae music and arts festival gathers top talent from around the world for three days of good vibes and great music in an absolutely stunning backwoods location.

September: Humboldt Pride Parade

A week-long celebration of LGBTQ culture and activism culminating in a parade through the streets of Eureka with food, vendors, and live music.

October: Savage Henry Comedy Festival

The THC-infused brains behind local humor magazine Savage Henry throw an annual stand-up comedy festival featuring top Humboldt talent plus high-minded acts from around the country.

November: The Humboldt County Cup

Centered around a competition for the best local cannabis, concentrates, edibles, and topicals, the Humboldt County Cup is a good old-fashioned harvest celebration with a twist, and features dozens of vendors, live music, speakers, and more.

David Bienenstock's Bio Image

David Bienenstock

Veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock is the author of "How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High" (2016 - Penguin/Random House), and the co-host and co-creator of the podcast "Great Moments in Weed History with Abdullah and Bean." Follow him on Twitter @pot_handbook.

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