Point Arena State Beach, Lighthouse and California Photos and Information

Point Arena, California is situated on the California Coast in Mendocino County north of San Francisco. It features stunning rocky cliffs that drift into the Pacific Ocean. Perched atop a plateau is one of Point Arena's landmarks, a California light station. The small, scenic town with green hills and meadows includes a fishing pier, restaurants, shops and fantastic wildlife to observe such as the raccoons and deer that wander and feed in the open spaces prevalent in the region.

Located 32 miles south of Mendocino, the approximate drive time along this rugged coastline is 50 minutes. You can pass through Mendocino to Fort Bragg with the entire trip taking just over an hour and a total distance from Point Arena of 45 miles. 30 miles to the east is Boonvile (45 minute drive). Access to major airports requires driving to any of these locations: San Francisco - 140 miles (3 hours by car); Sacramento - 179 miles (3.5 hours by car); Oakland - 133 miles (3 hours by car). See map below for a visual display of the Point Arena, California location.


Point Arena, a town with a population of around 440 people, has acquired many names throughout its existence.  Once called Cabo de Fortunas in 1543 by the Spaniard navigator, Bartolome Ferrelo, over 200 years later in 1775 Bodega y Cuadro of Mexico renamed it Punta Delgado. Later it became Barra de Arena, which means 'sand bar' in Spanish.


While sand bars are less visible than rock formations, the erosion process can be seen in rock formations at its beaches. At the Point Arena Fishing Pier, the water and wind-worn cliffs practically surround you as you walk to the end of the small wooden pier which is the launch point for small and commercial boats.

In the winter, the Laysan Albatross comes from its breeding grounds on the Hawaiian Islands to Point Arena coast. It is here that the bird finds the strong winds needed to fly. The Laysan Albatross can even sleep while gliding through the air!  Sadly, it often gets caught in fish hooks and on squid nets. In one year alone, 1% of the population of these birds was lost in this manner.


The Arena Cove Pier features a floating dock for launch and retrieval of vessels, plus a dinghy and skiff hoist area.


The Point Arena Lighthouse features tours, a gift store, museum, tide pool aquarium, nature trail and vacation rentals. A fee of around $5 (subject to change) is charged with admission. The historic lighthouse is open daily.

History: Mendocino County was one of California‚Äôs original 27 counties, created in 1850 by the State Legislature.  Because of its small population, Mendocino County was administered by the government of Sonoma County until 1859, when the government was established in a small building on Main Street in Ukiah.  County officials moved into the first courthouse at the site bounded by Standley, Perkins, State and Schools streets on January 24, 1860.

Mendocino County encompasses an area of over 2 million acres or approximately 3500 square miles. 



Point Arena photos

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