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A Full Guide to California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt

A Full Guide to California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt

Explore the vibrant life at Cal Poly Humboldt. Discover top activities on and near campus for a unique and adventurous college experience. Team


3 min read

November 15, 2023

Nestled in the picturesque city of Arcata, California, California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt (Cal Poly Humboldt) offers a unique blend of natural beauty and academic vigor. The university, renowned for its environmental and natural sciences programs, is situated amidst the stunning Redwood forests and the rugged Pacific coastline. The campus spans a substantial area, providing a spacious and immersive learning environment for its diverse student body.

Cal Poly Humboldt, as a part of the California State University system, has made a name for itself with its hands-on approach to education. With a focus on "learning by doing," students here get a chance to engage directly with their field of study, be it through on-campus research opportunities, community projects, or practical workshops.

History and Reputation

Established in 1913 as a teacher's college, Cal Poly Humboldt has evolved significantly over the years. It began its journey focusing on training educators and slowly expanded its academic offerings to include a wide array of disciplines. Today, it's recognized for its strong programs in environmental science, biology, forestry, and wildlife management. The university's commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship is evident in both its curriculum and campus practices.

Not just an academic powerhouse, Cal Poly Humboldt has also been lauded for its efforts in promoting inclusivity and diversity. This commitment to creating a welcoming environment for all is a cornerstone of its mission, further enriching the educational experience for its students.

Student Life: Transportation, Food, and Local Attractions


For students at Cal Poly Humboldt, getting around is a breeze. The university's compact campus layout makes it easy to navigate on foot or by bike. For longer distances, the university offers a reliable and efficient public transportation system. Students can avail of the JackPass program, which provides free access to local bus services, making it convenient to explore the surrounding areas or run errands in town.

Biking is also a popular option among students, with ample bike paths and lanes throughout the campus and city. For those who prefer to drive, there are several parking options available on campus.

Food Options

When it comes to dining, Cal Poly Humboldt doesn't disappoint. The campus boasts a variety of eateries catering to a range of dietary preferences, from vegan and vegetarian to international cuisines. The J, the main dining hall, is a hub for students to gather and enjoy meals together, offering a wide selection of healthy and hearty options.

Interesting Spots in the Local Area

Cal Poly Humboldt's location is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The campus is just a stone's throw away from the Arcata Community Forest, an expansive area perfect for hiking, biking, and exploring. The nearby Humboldt Bay offers opportunities for kayaking and birdwatching, while the majestic Redwood National and State Parks are a short drive away, providing a breathtaking backdrop for weekend adventures.

For those interested in cultural activities, Arcata's vibrant downtown area hosts numerous art galleries, music venues, and theaters. The annual Kinetic Sculpture Race is a unique event that showcases the creativity and community spirit of the region.

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Top 5 Things to Do at and Near Cal Poly Humboldt

1. Explore the Arcata Community Forest

Right at the doorstep of Cal Poly Humboldt is the Arcata Community Forest, an expansive natural reserve. This is the perfect spot for hiking, mountain biking, or simply enjoying a peaceful walk among the towering redwoods. It's not just a forest; it's an outdoor classroom where students learn about environmental stewardship and sustainable practices.

2. Participate in the Campus' Annual Events

Cal Poly Humboldt is famous for its vibrant campus life, marked by annual events like the Campus Lantern Festival and SpringFest. These events showcase the university's spirit and provide a platform for students to engage creatively, whether through music, art, or community activities.

3. Visit the Humboldt Bay and Wildlife Sanctuary

A short drive from Cal Poly Humboldt is the breathtaking Humboldt Bay, a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. Here, students can go kayaking, bird watching, or simply enjoy the serene beauty of the coastal wetlands. It's an ideal place to unwind and connect with nature.

4. Enjoy the Local Farmers’ Market

The Arcata Farmers' Market is a vibrant, bustling hub where students can immerse themselves in the local culture. Just minutes from Cal Poly Humboldt, the market offers fresh organic produce, artisanal foods, and a chance to support local farmers and businesses. It's a great spot to enjoy a sunny Saturday morning, sampling local delicacies and enjoying live music.

5. Discover the Redwood National and State Parks

For an unforgettable adventure, head to the Redwood National and State Parks, a UNESCO World Heritage site near Cal Poly Humboldt. This natural wonder is home to some of the tallest trees on earth and offers a range of activities from hiking to camping. It's a majestic and inspiring setting that embodies the spirit of exploration and discovery.

In conclusion, California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt offers a unique blend of academic excellence and adventurous spirit. From the lush forests and scenic coastlines to the vibrant campus events and local cultural experiences, there's an endless array of activities to explore and enjoy. It's a place where education extends beyond classrooms, fostering a community of learning, discovery, and adventure.

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