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“My Son Loved This”

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
Mountain View, California
Level 6 Contributor
65 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 199 helpful votes
“My Son Loved This”
Reviewed 1 August 2010

My son has not previously shown interest in lighthouses, but frankly, who doesn't like lighthouses? The Point Arena lighthouse has a number of advantages, but the biggest attraction was climbing 125 stairs to the top of the 115 foot concrete cylinder. My son scrambled up the stairs like a mountain goat, reaching the top before all of the adults (many of whom huffed and puffed their way up). Note that the staircase is pretty narrow, so we had to stop a number of times to let opposite-direction traffic pass.

The old Fresnel lens is now on display in the small museum, so it's possible to get a good look at it too. Now, all of the work is done by a tiny light on the lighthouse top’s exterior. At the top, a docent provided some good color commentary; we then got to walk along the catwalk (I think he called it the "gallery") right below the lighthouse room for some excellent unobstructed views of the coastline. (The lighthouse room has the same views, but the windows were dirty). From the top, we watched a sea lion rookery just offshore and birds of prey (mostly turkey vultures) riding the wind currents over a nearby punchbowl. Overall, the tour within the lighthouse column took about 20-30 minutes, perfect for curious boys with typical attention spans of 7 year olds. We also poked around the museum a bit and the grounds as well. As a bonus, from the cliffs I easily spotted a whale within a few hundred yards of shore!

Admission was a little high for adults ($7.50 per) and a bargain for kids ($1 per). For the two of us, the $8.50 admission was an excellent value. For a larger group with multiple adults, the economics may be less favorable. Their hours aren't entirely predictable. Their website said they close at 3:30, but they were open to 4:30 on a weekday in July.

Overall, the lighthouse was a big hit. My son ranked this as one of his "highlights" of our trip.

2 Thank ericgoldman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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315 reviews from our community

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English first
Central California
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Terrific Tour - knowledgeable guide”
Reviewed 2 April 2010

Our family stayed at the Point Arena Lighthouse - Keeper's Quarters. One morning we toured the lighthouse and museum. Our guide was very knowledgeable and was able to answer all our group's questions. The view from the lantern room was amazing - especailly on a clear day. The gift shop's merchandise was very nice - everything from jewelry to books and t-shirts.

Thank TrapsMiller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“so beautiful...a piece of history to take your time on”
Reviewed 27 November 2009

loved it here! The people were very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful The view from the top of the lighthouse was worth every stair.

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

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