For my first night along the ocean I get a room at this place in Crescent City, The Curly Redwood Inn. It's claim to fame is that all of the wood used to build the motel came from one Redwood tree.
The price was reasonable and the Redwood has been lovingly cared for.
Up the next morning for a walk along the shore and a visit with the locals.
These critters are picturesque but not exactly cuddly and I understand that their aggressive behavior has become a problem along some parts of the coast.