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“Tallest Lighthouse you can climb in California”

Point Arena Lighthouse & Museum
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Point Arena Lighthouse stands as an iconic figure on the landscape of the American Pacific Coast. No other lighthouse offers such a fully interactive experience in the exchange between history, science and natural beauty. Sometimes brilliantly sunny, other times fog-shrouded and mysterious, always ruggedly beautiful, the lighthouse is a place to find something different, a place where the romance is real and the experience is profound. Surrounded by water on three sides, and shouldered adjacent to the Point Arena/Stornetta Public Lands, the Point Arena Lighthouse is the premiere visitor destination in Mendocino County. It is also one of the best whale watching spots on the North Coast, with the annual Gray Whale migration from late November through May, Humpbacks throughout the year, the occasional pod of transient Killer Whales and even Blue Whales. Watch for the spouts, tails and breaches from the top of the Tower and from the trails and gazebo. With nightly lodging and tours of the lighthouse offered daily, what will you discover on your next visit?
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 16 May 2014

The Point Arena Lighthouse is located between Mendocino and Salt Point on the secluded north coast. To get there requires driving many miles along the windy and scenic Highway 1. Seeing that it's the tallest lighthouse on the California Coast where you can actually climb to the top... it's well worth the drive. On the way to the lighthouse on Lighthouse Road are several turnouts offering hugely picturesque shots of the rugged coastline with the lighthouse in the distance. The lighthouse is situated on a headland that also supports the old foghorn building and lightkeepers' cabins. The foghorn building is now a museum and gift shop with several historical artifacts, pictures and the original Fresnel lens. We joined a docent-led lighthouse tour from the gift shop that allowed a group of about 10 at a time to climb to the top of the lighthouse. Admission was only $7.50 for adults and $1.00 for kids. A spiral staircase ascends to the glass room that once housed the Fresnel lense. I have to admit, I was a little dizzy after climbing 11 stories of stairs and ending up in a glass room hovering over a hundred feet above the sea. Then the docent points to a spot not too far away and says, "That's were the San Andreas Fault makes a turn out to sea". Needless to say... it took a few minutes to get the heart rate back in check. But as one could imagine, the views were incredible. After a few facts about the lighthouse, the docent answered questions and then let those who dared go outside the top of the lighthouse. This was a surprise to us. It was cold, windy and too incredible to leave before capturing pictures in every which direction. We've been to quite a few lighthouses along the California Coast and this was by far the most impressive. If you're ever in this region of the north coast, it should not be missed. In addition, the lighthouse keepers' cabins are vacation rentals that would make for a great overnight experience.

2  Thank carevealed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"gift shop"
in 41 reviews
"light house"
in 28 reviews
"the san andreas fault"
in 12 reviews
"worth the climb"
in 9 reviews
"fresnel lens"
in 20 reviews
"the west coast"
in 13 reviews
"historical photos"
in 4 reviews
"guided tour"
in 10 reviews
"climb the stairs"
in 6 reviews
"mel gibson"
in 5 reviews
"full moon"
in 6 reviews
"interesting information"
in 4 reviews
"walk up"
in 5 reviews
"on display"
in 8 reviews
"visitor center"
in 4 reviews
"beautiful setting"
in 4 reviews
"take pictures"
in 5 reviews
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237 - 241 of 343 reviews

Reviewed 11 May 2014

We haven't been here in awhile and discovered the Stornetta public lands access while we were driving in. It is a short distance prior to the lighthouse entrance on the south side of the road. The photo ops and views are breath taking. A great place for a picnic lunch but you must pack out what you pack in. Definitely a must do!!

Thank Mike P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2014

We didn't think we could climb 10 flights of stairs (being 61 and 66) but we're glad we did. The docent Thayer was a treasure; full of California and shipping history that we didn't know despite a combined > 100 years as Californians. The view from the lighthouse was great, the museum interesting. The fields surrounding the lighthouse were filled with wildflowers and our dog enjoyed walking around the cliffs with us.
There are cabins to rent next to the lighthouse and we might try those some other trip.

1  Thank Kate C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

We arrived just five or ten minutes before closing, and they were very accommodating! We didn't have to plead (or even ask) whether it would be okay for us to possibly go up in the lighthouse - the staff suggested it, and told us that it would be fine. It was about a five or six minute climb, but it seemed a little strenuous because we were trying to rush, and I'm out of shape. If I had taken my time, it probably would have taken about ten minutes to get to the top, and I wouldn't have been huffing and puffing so much. But either way, it was nice, and I'm glad we went up. I wish we could have arrived earlier in the day, because we had to skip the museum. If you have to choose, I think this lighthouse is a better option than the one at Point Cabrillo, because (1) you can climb up the stairs to the top, and (2) you can park right at the base of the lighthouse, so you don't spend too much of your valuable time hiking out to the point.

Thank Byrd11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 April 2014

Visited yesterday with my 13 year old and friend and her 2 daughters (11 and 9)...There is a $7.50/ per adults and kids up to 3 years old are free and 3-12 years old are $1.00 ...There is also a $25.00 per carload if that works out less expensive than the individual rate. Nice to know. .

There is a museum that we visited before the walk to the top of the lighthouse. the museum has Native America artifacts (arrowheads, pottery, etc) plus drawing of sailing ships that would have sailed the nearby waters. Also a hstory of the lighthouse. The lmuseum also has a Fensel Lens you can examine "up close"

The walk to the top of the light house is a "guided" tour. This is for safety reasons and to keep foor traffic in one direction. It is hike o the top but is worth every step for the gorgeous views from the top. There was a marine layer while we we visiting but it did not deter us from enjoying the views.

There is a fenced in area that looked like a good place to walk around but we did not have time on this trip. A reason to visit again.

1  Thank Thorn1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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