Photo: Sunrise in Arcata, California wallpaper

A winter morning in the west side of Arcata, California

Photograph by Joel Gibson, My Shot

Pop. 17,294
GPS: 40°52’N; 123°05’W

Spend enough time in bike-friendly Arcata, on Cali’s foggy northern coast, and you’ll develop Popeye thighs like the locals. In this über-liberal community, recycling is religion and the Green Party rules.


The riding selection is as broad as the virgin trees in nearby Redwood National Park, from the gentle five-plus-mile (eight-plus-kilometer) Hammond Trail to the surprisingly technical dirt in Community Forest, a Central Park-size preserve (


Hit up the Plaza Grill for good, cheap fresh stuff—salads, sandwiches, and the like (


The Lady Anne Bed and Breakfast is a quaint Victorian throwback, complete with croquet games on the front lawn, with modern perks like Tempurpedic mattresses (doubles from $125;