Sunsets and Silhouettes
Shooting on the West Coast you are mostly dealing with sunset light and sunsets. If you have seastacks or a prominent point or cape (or lighthouse) you can use those as silhouettes in your image. If you have a beach in front of you, find a tide pool, pond, stream or wet area for reflections. Hopefully there will be good clouds to enhance your sunset as well.
Shooting Up or Down the Coast with Good Light
Again silhouttes or backlighting can come into play here, but for the most part you will be using the good evening (or morning) light to light up the cliffs, seastacks, beach, driftwood, etc. Here you have to watch for sea spray that can dull the features in your image. A clear day will be to your advantage.
On (in) the Water
Getting close to the surf can be a wet experience, make sure to have good footwear (rubber boots come to mind), and keep your photo pack on your back or far from the surf. You might have to be fleet of foot and be ready to move your tripod repeatedly, but capturing the motion of the surf in the foreground can yield some really interesting images. Play with shutting down your aperture and ISO to get the longest shutter speed possible to get some cool motion effects.
Mendocino Coast, California
HDR is Worthless
HDR is great for images that don't move. No such luck with moving surf and water. Consider using a graduated split neutral density filter to tame your bright skies and sunsets, and make use of Lightroom's highlight and shadow capabilities if you have to. The Nikon D800E sensor has such amazing dynamic range that I am able to pull detail out of both both bright highlights and deep shadows without additional noise. With this camera I feel I hardly need HDR anyway...
It's important to know the tides when you're shooting on the water, both for your safety and ability to plan your shots. There are some great tidal apps made for that purpose. And if you haven't already downloaded a sun/moon app to determine timing, position, etc., the time is now. Focalware and Simple Tides are two that I like.