The Point Arena Lighthouse is a light station on the California coast just 35.8 miles from Mendocino. The Point Arena Lighthouse has offerings of a museum, lodging, guided tours and special events.
At first glance, Point Arena Lighthouse appears to be just another lighthouse on the ocean. There is a ticket booth at the park entrance with a mandatory fee for the grounds and museum with a lighthouse tour, or an option minus the tour. We saw people turn around at the gate thinking the offering would not be worth the money, it is.
The 115 foot tall Point Arena Lighthouse stands on the way to the museum that used to be the Keepers residence. The two structures were put into service in 1908 after the originals from 1870 were severely damaged and condemned after the 1906 earthquake. On the approach, you can see mulling around the top of the tower, heightening the prospect of the guided tour.
The museum houses equipment from the historic light station that featured one of the rare First Order Fresnel Lens. The First Order Fresnel Lens is reason enough to visit the museum, but the rotating mechanism, fog signal, and exhibits are well worth the entrance fee. There is a presentation performed by one of the staff at intervals between the actual tours. I found our presenter to be very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the history and operations of the Point Arena Lighthouse.
The Point Arena Lighthouse Tower Tour is a must if on the grounds. Entrance to the 115-foot tower passes through a formidable concrete buttress that encircles the entire base, obviously a safeguard against future seismic events. It was almost big enough to roller skate around the circumference on the inside. The climb to the top is going to be difficult if not impossible for anyone who has ambulatory issues, but for those that are able, the iron spiral staircase leads to a real treat at the top.
There is another presentation by the staff in the Lantern Room itself. Once again a well-informed staff member captivated the guests with other historical facts about the Point Arena Lighthouse and the surrounding area. I kept thinking to myself if only we could go out on the Gallery Deck below, and on the way down the door was open for us to partake. The view from the Gallery Deck is the perfect place to take pictures from the top in every direction.
The Point Arena Lighthouse combined with the outbuildings and signal made it a prominent Light Station, and a great sight to see to this day.