A simple drive down Highway 101 offers a quick introduction to Humboldt Lagoons State Park.
Starting in the south, you’ll see Big Lagoon. Its beach is part of Humboldt Lagoons, but the main access point is in Big Lagoon County Park. To get to the parking lot, turn left at mile marker 108.3. ($2 parking fee).
At Highway 101’s mile marker 115.3, you’ll pass Stone Lagoon Visitor Center (aka Humboldt Lagoons Visitor Center) on your left. The center has a deck and picnic tables overlooking the glistening water and green forests of Stone Lagoon. Kayak Zak’s concession helps with rentals, boating, paddleboards, interpretive tours, and other questions.
Old-timers remember the visitor center building as a motel-restaurant called the Little Red Hen. Started by Chester and Doris Dooley in 1927, the Little Red Hen was sold to dairyman Paul Grazioli in 1929. He kept it going for almost half a century, until 1979. California States Parks acquired the building in 1983 and, with the help of the California Conservation Corps, established Stone Lagoon Visitor Center (aka Humboldt Lagoons Visitor Center).
Heading north, Highway 101 circles around the west side of Freshwater Lagoon. Look for osprey, eagles, and other birds.