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Point Arena Lighthouse on The Mendocio Coast CA

Things to do in and around Point Arena...

Places to Go   |   Things to Do   |   Location / Hours / Admission

Lighthouse Location / Hours / Admission

Click on map for a printable version
Tour the Point Arena Lighthouse and Store:
10:00am to 3:30pm
everyday in Winter
and until 4:30
between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.
Closed Thanksgiving Day & Christmas Day Only

Climb to the top of the tower once again and access the balcony for one of the best views on the entire Pacific Coast.

Admission includes access to the renovated Fog Signal Building –
the new home of the First Order Fresnel lens
and a trip to the top of the tower.

Site Admission Fee (Non-profit):
$7.50 adults and $1.00 children under 12

  • Climb to the top of the tower
    as keepers have done for over 100 years!

  • The Lighthouse Winter Lecture Series

    Point Arena Lighthouse is pleased to present the third season of the popular Winter Lecture Series.
    Each presentation takes place in the Fog Signal Building Museum and features
    a local naturist or historian presenting on topics of public interest relevant to our area.
    All lectures will begin at 4 p.m. and last approximately one hour.

    Discover the unique legacy of this historic area.

    Places to Go


    Located just three miles north along Highway One, Manchester State Beach offers five miles of sandy solitude. It is bordered to the north by Alder Creek, where the San Andreas Fault Line runs into the sea, and to the south by the Garcia River.

    <  View of Manchester State Beach, in the distance, from the top of the lighthouse.


    Just south of the Point Arena Lighthouse is a stretch of beach that features prehistoric boulders that have been finely ground down over the millennia, into perfectly smooth spherical shapes. The display is especially magnificent at low tide.

    The geology of the area is unique, and gives visitors the opportunity to view examples of significant bluff erosion, earth strata, and fossils that date back to the Miocene period, 5 to 7 million years old!

    Point Arena is one of the smallest incorporated cities in the state of California. Note the Point Arena Lighthouse in the distance at the top center of this photograph.

    Aerial photography courtesy
    Scott Simpson/WEST of ONE


    Point Arena, one of California’s smallest cities, is distinguished as a state historical district on the meandering Shoreline Highway One in southern Mendocino County. From the forested slopes of the coastal ridge to the sea spray meadows along the Pacific Ocean, the town enjoys a moderate climate with misty fog carried by coastal breezes interspersed with warm, sunny days. The tiny city boasts fine shopping, art galleries, great restaurants, and the beautifully restored Arena Theatre.  The Cinema is maintained by the Arena Theater Association, a non-profit orginization that brings live performance art on stage for the community.

    The historic Point Arena Wharf (also known as the Arena Cove) is a working harbor where commercial and private fishing boats may be seen unloading their catch.
     Fishing without a license is allowed from the municipal pier.  This area also offers deep sea fishing outings, boating, shops and restaurants. The Cove also is noted to be one of the best surfing areas in California.

    <  From left:  Point Arena Municipal Pier, dinning and shopping building featuring The Arena Cove Bar & Grill, Cosmic Pizza, and Dupont's Mercantile.  On the Hill above is the Wharf Masters Inn, and to the right is the historic Coast Guard House Bed & Breakfast.


    Located 20 minutes south of the Point Arena Lighthouse, Gualala is a larger community offering additional shopping, dinning, art galleries, coastal access via the Gualala Point Regional Park that is located along the shores of the scenic Gualala River.

    Mouth of the Gualala River and sand dunes just south of town  >


    Located about a half an hour north of the Lighthouse, the charming town of Elk (a mini version of the town of Mendocino) is a destination that offers spectacular coastal vistas, charming architecture, a historical museum, fine dinning, and quaint boutiques.  The coastal drive between the Lighthouse and Elk is noted to be one of the most spectacular along the California coast.

    Spectacular coastal monuments near the town of Elk >


    Located just one hour north of the Point Arena Lighthouse, in the town of Casper, the preserve occupies a spectacular headland thrusting out into the Pacific. As you start to walk down the access road, the Point Cabrillo Light Station is arrayed before you, made up of the Lighthouse itself and three original lightkeepers' houses and outbuildings. The lighthouse, which has been fully restored, is open every day of the year (including Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 11:00 AM till 4:00 PM. 

    < Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, featuring a 3rd order Fresnel lens
    Visit the Mendocino County Heritage Network for other interesting historical sites in the area!

    Things to Do


    The Mendocino Coast offers some of the finest sport fishing. Red abalone abound in these cold, rocky waters and may be taken in season. Steelhead, salmon, crab, and urchins are also caught here. Arena Rock, a one acre underwater "plateau," is a prime deep sea fishing area.

    Nearby beaches offer the hiker solitude and scenery. Elk Beach, Alder Creek, Manchester Beach, Mote Creek, Schooner Gulch, Bowling Ball Beach, Anchor Bay, Gualala River, and The Sea Ranch are a few of the coastal access points.

    There are several privately owned and state campgrounds in the area. These range in accommodations from primitive tent sites to full RV hookup sites complete with cable TV. As well as Manchester State Beach, the private campgrounds Manchester Beach KOA and Rollerville Junction are within a few miles of the Lighthouse.

    Pristine local rivers provide excellent canoeing/kayaking opportunities, and horseback riding along the sandy shores of Manchester State Beach is an exhilarating experience.

    The Sea Ranch, south of the Lighthouse, provides golfers with one of the most beautiful and challenging outdoor sporting experiences on the coast.


    Spring offers visitors to the Point Arena Lighthouse the chance to observe beautiful, rare varieties of coastal wildflowers and shrubs.  April and May typically produce an incredible display.  Some perennials you will see here are: White Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium), Coast Onion (Allium Dichlamydeum), Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis Margaritacea), Sea Pink (Armeria Maritima), Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja species), Hair Grass (Deschampsia Caespitosa), Live-forever (Dudleya Farinosa), Coastal California Poppy (Eschscholzia California Maritima), Bule Coast Gentian (Gentiana Affinis), Coastal Wild Strawberry (Fragaria Chiloensis), Wild Iris (Iris Douglasiana), Creeping Daisy (Lessingia Filaginifolia), Coast Goldenrod (Solidago Spathulata), Narrow Leafed Mule Ears (Wyethia Angustifolium), and much more!


    Hundreds of graceful Tundra Swans (Whistling Swans) winter each year on the nearby pasture lands along the Garcia River. Kestrels, Red-tails, Osprey, Eagles, Marsh Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, and hundreds of other species can be seen. Brown pelicans, black cormorants, seagulls and a variety of other sea birds can be seen nesting in and around the cliffs at Point Arena Lighthouse.

    <  Tundra Swans


    Throughout the year, several celebrations take place along our beautiful coast.  The Independence Day fireworks and parade in Point Arena is a historic event that dates back to the late 1800's. Art-In-The-Redwoods is held during August in Gualala. and the Point Arena / Redwood Coast Whale Festival is held in March.  Please visit the Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce web site for a detailed calendar of upcoming local events. Many local wineries offer wine tasting.  Click here for a map of wineries in Mendocino County.

    Sahra Brubeck shows off her new face at the Point Arena Lighthouse Whale Festival  >