A little more than one mile south of Shore Acres  is Cape Arago State Park (800/551-6949, day-use only, free), at the end of the Cape Arago Highway. Locals have made much of the fact that this was a possible landing site of the English explorer Sir Francis Drake in 1579, and they put a plaque here commemorating him.
Beachcombers can make their own discoveries in the numerous tide pools, some of the best on the coast. The south cove trail (find it past the picnic shelter) runs down to a sandy beach and the better tide pools. The north cove trail leads to more tide pools, good spots for fishing, and views of the colonies of seals and sea lions at Shell Island, including the most northerly breeding colony of enormous elephant seals. Their huge pups, when just a month old, may already weigh 300–400 pounds.
Note that the north trail closes March 1–June 30 to protect seal pups. The picnic tables on the headlands command beautiful ocean panoramas and are superbly placed for whale-watching.