Back on U.S. 101 north of Arcata, you'll come to Trinidad, a tiny coastal fishing village of 400 people. One of the smallest incorporated cities in California, it's on a peninsula 25 miles north of Eureka. If you're not into fishing, there's little to do in town except poke around at the handful of shops, walk along the busy pier, and wish you owned a house here.

Five miles north of Trinidad takes you to the 640-acre Patrick's Point State Park, 4150 Patrick's Point Dr. (tel. 707/677-3570), which has one of the finest ocean access points in the north, at Agate Beach. It's suitable for driftwood picking, rock hounding, and camping on a sheltered bluff. The park contains a re-creation of a Sumeg village, which is used by the Yurok people and neighboring tribes.