Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times
Trinidad State Beach
The Northern California coast, unlike its southern counterpart, is often less about sun and sand than fog and sea stacks. Yet Trinidad State Beach offers the best of both. Be prepared for a case of delayed gratification; the hiking trail leading out to the bluffs overlooking the beach is ensconced in such lush vegetation that glimpses of the water are scant. Once you're in the wildflower-carpeted clearing, the view from above is well worth the wait: a pristine slice of coastline that looks to have never been touched by humans. It seemed almost wrong to set foot on the beach itself: Perfection like this just shouldn't be disturbed.
4150 Patrick's Point Drive, Trinidad; (707) 677-3570, www.parks.ca.gov.