When you're driving through Garberville, CA on highway 101, you'll see a road that takes you to the coastal city of Shelter Cove, CA on the map. This area is called the "Lost Coast of California" because it is not easily accessible. I decided to take a chance and check it out. The road was narrow, steep in places, and it rose to elevations where snow was falling in December. The big payoff was Black Sands Beach. It was misty, a bit cold and raining lightly. The beach was indeed as black as it looks in this photo.
Black Sands Beach, however, is not an accurate description, as the beach is comprised of polished stones and pebbles. If it were not too cold or hot, I would love to try walking barefoot here!
Here is a shot of the city of Shelter Cove, CA. I did not find anything that would resemble a downtown. There were several restaurants and hotels. I would recommend Shelter Cove as a quiet escape.