Windswept Point Reyes peninsula is a rough-hewn beauty that has always lured marine mammals and migratory birds; it's also home to scores of shipwrecks. In 1579, Sir Francis Drake landed here to repair his ship, the Golden Hind. During his five-week stay he mounted a brass plaque near the shore claiming this land for England. In 1595 the first of many ships lost in these waters went down. The San Augustine was a Spanish treasure ship out of Manila, laden with luxury goods; to this day bits of its cargo still wash up on shore. Despite modern navigation, the dangerous waters here continue to claim the occasional boat.
Point Reyes National Seashore protects 110 sq miles of pristine ocean beaches and coastal wilderness and has excellent hiking and camping opportunities. Be sure to bring warm clothing, as even the sunniest days can quickly turn cold and foggy.