Visit Point Arena Lighthouse, where whale watching and history collide

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The Point Arena Lighthouse is a historic landmark on the California coast, but it’s also the perfect spot for whale watching.

The Point Arena Lighthouse in Mendocino County, California is one of the best places to watch whales and spend a weekend. Located 210 km north of San Francisco, the journey is quite long but the journey is worth it.

It’s an unexpectedly romantic getaway away from California’s most popular and busiest beaches. This getaway is perfect for couples and families looking to get off the beaten path and go whale watching on California’s northern coast.

A historical landmark

The Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers own and operate the lighthouse. The institution has received praise for its efforts to preserve this landmark and educate visitors. The lighthouse has existed for over 150 years. In the past, it served as a lighthouse for sailors and ships that sailed the coast.


The lighthouse evokes romance and tranquility. Its history and natural beauty attract visitors who want to enjoy this landmark while taking in the ocean views. Those who are lucky may spot passing whales.

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Whale watching at the lighthouse

Point Arena Lighthouse is the best place to watch whales as it is surrounded by water on three sides. The lighthouse itself is 115 feet tall and sits within a sprawling and breathtaking property. The lighthouse rests on a cliff, which is another place people can look for whales.


Visitors can see whales all year round. The migration of gray whales takes place from November to May, while humpback whales can be observed all year round. Lucky visitors might see killer whales and blue whales any time of the year. Beware of beaks, tails or breakages!

Attractions

Here are some of the Point Arena Lighthouse attractions:

  • Light Station Store to buy merchandise and souvenirs.
  • The Point Arena Lighthouse is located in the Fog Signal Building. This is where the artifacts from the lighthouse are.
  • The open-air museum provides an interactive experience for visitors where they can interact with the environment and enjoy the surrounding nature.


Where to stay

The Point Arena Lighthouse is open year-round. There are 7 vacation cabins available for rent. Due to the limited number of accommodations, reservations are required. Guests who book a stay in the cabins can enjoy free tours of the Light Station Store, the indoor museum and the outdoor museum. They can also access nearby hiking trails and ocean views.

Most cottages have a functional kitchen and a fireplace. A few of the cabins are pet friendly. A weekend at the Point Arena Lighthouse makes for a romantic getaway for couples or an educational visit for the family. Book accommodation on their website.

The Assistant Caretaker’s House has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and can accommodate up to six people. It has provisions for outdoor dining, such as a picnic table and patio. Assistant Caretaker Houses 3 and 4 are pet friendly.


  • House 2 & 3: $315 per night Sunday-Thursday, $350 per night Friday-Saturday
  • House 4: $360 per night Sunday-Thursday, $395 per night Friday-Saturday

The main caretaker’s quarters have two bedrooms and a bathroom. This cabin features mid-century modern style interiors. The reservation includes a bottle of wine and locally made chocolates.

  • Cost: $295 per night Sunday-Thursday, $325 per night Friday-Saturday

The caretaker’s apartment has one bedroom and one bathroom. This apartment-style accommodation is perfect for two people. The reservation includes a bottle of wine and locally made chocolates.


  • Cost: $250 per night Sunday-Thursday, $275 per night Friday-Saturday

Keeper’s Room is an apartment-style accommodation that sleeps two people. It has one bedroom and one bathroom. It’s perfect for couples who want to explore nearby monuments and sites. Unlike the other cabin, this one does not have a kitchen.

  • Cost: $180 per night Sunday-Thursday, $195 per night Friday-Sunday

The Accountant’s Room is a studio style accommodation that has one bed and one bathroom. Like the Warden’s Room, it doesn’t have a kitchen but does have a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffeemaker.

  • Cost: $190 per night Sunday-Thursday, $205 per night Friday-Sunday

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Around

In addition to protecting and maintaining historic structures, the county has taken steps to protect marine ecosystems. Elsewhere in the area are other sites that visitors can check out during their visit. Point Arena State Marine Reserve and Point Arena State Marine Conservation Area are marine protected areas.

The other attractions to discover are:

  • Sea Lion Cove State Marine Conservation Area – an abalone cove and home to other invertebrate species.
  • Saunders Reef State Marine Conservation Area – also an abalone cove, where populations of this species are protected.
  • Point Arena-Stornetta unit of the California Coast National Monument – home to local Mendocino County flora and fauna.

Support a local institution

Point Arena Lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the country and has been around for many years as it is very well maintained. People can expect it to be around for a long time. It’s the perfect place to get away from it all while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of the ocean. Even though it is a popular site due to the limited number of cabins and the sprawling property, visitors will still be able to enjoy the location without feeling cramped or crowded.

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