About 10 minutes south of Eureka off Hwy 101, visitors will find the expansive sandy beaches of the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay. Locals know it simply as the South Spit, and anyone will tell you that if you’re looking for a beach all to yourself, this is where you’re going to find it.
Access to the spit is through Table Bluff County Park, where high cliffs afford stunning views of the beach below: a long narrow slice of sand with Pacific Ocean waves breaking on the west side, and the calm tranquil waters of Humboldt Bay on the east. From here the road descends in steep switchbacks to sea level and becomes South Jetty Road.
Although there is no camping on the spit, it’s a great place for horseback riding or running an energetic pup. If you do take your dog, be sure to keep it on a leash through the dunes until you get to the wave slope, to avoid upsetting endangered western snowy plover nests. Watch for the snowy plover protection areas and mind the signs, as plover are extremely sensitive to strangers and any disturbance can send them skittering from their nests.
Table Buff is also a popular staging area for hang gliding and paragliding, so don’t be surprised to find a friendly local or two floating quietly above your head.