Set in some of the most spectacular yet peaceful surroundings on the northern California coast, and right next to the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument, stands the Point Arena Lighthouse. It is the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast (115 ft.), and you can climb to the lantern room at its very top. The panoramic view from there is unforgettable.
The Point Arena Lighthouse was initially constructed in 1870, but suffered major damage in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and had to be rebuilt. The current lighthouse began operation in 1908, nearly 18 months after the quake. The new tower featured a first-order Fresnel lens, the largest standard size made. It was 6 feet in diameter and weighed more than 6 tons. After the lighthouse was automated in 1977 and a new beacon installed, the Fresnel lens was moved to the fog signal building, where it is now on display.
Guided tours of the light station as well as self-guided tours of the grounds are available daily. There is a Lighthouse Gift Shop featuring unique souvenirs and charming gifts. For those who want to spend more time by the sea, there are comfortable accommodations in the former lighthouse keepers’ houses, vacation rentals that are available year-round.
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