With a population of about 500, Point Arena is one of the smallest incorporated cities in California, yet it provides full services. There are shops and services downtown, and a working municipal pier offering unique shopping, dining and lodging. You can charter a fishing party boat or launch a sea kayak to explore the California Coastal National Monument from the water. During winter, you may see a rare Laysan Albatross in the cove.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, North Coast life depended on shipping. The peninsula north of Point Arena was a natural location for a lighthouse to warn ships of the rugged coast. The lighthouse, established in 1869, was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It was rebuilt to reach 165 feet above the sea, the tallest on the West Coast. It is operated by the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers. You can climb the winding stairs for incredible views, shop for gifts, tour the museum, and even rent a Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage.
Nature’s Coastal Bowling Alley
Consult a tide chart and plan to visit Bowling Ball Beach, near Schooner Gulch, at low or minus tide. You will discover an eroded reef with grooves resembling bowling lanes. Sphere-shaped boulders complete the “bowling alley” effect. To get there; take Highway 1 south to Schooner Gulch State Park. Take the south trail to the mouth of Schooner Gulch Creek, round the headlands to the north and hike a half-mile.
Manchester State Park: Wildflowers and Room to Romp
Wildflower fans will love this state park where poppies, paintbrush, baby blue eyes, blue iris, sea pinks and lupines thrive. The park features a five-mile beach and unusual amounts of driftwood, washed up from the Point Arena catch basin. There is great camping and excellent birding opportunities! To reach the main access for day use and camping, take Highway 1 north from Point Arena to Kinney Road and the signed turnoff. Turn left and follow the signs.
Stornetta: Work and Play
Coastal prairies, dramatic coastal bluffs and abundant bird life highlight the Stornetta Public Lands. This is a working landscape, containing the Stornetta Family Ranch, where farming and cattle grazing exist in harmony with hikers and wildlife watchers. Graceful Tundra Swans winter here. There are access points along Lighthouse Road, about two miles north of the Point Arena community.
The California Coastal National Monument
The California Coastal National Monument, managed by the Bureau of Land Management and its partners, is unique among the nation’s national monuments. It consists of more than 20,000 rocks, small islands and pinnacles running the entire length of the California coast, from the mean high tide line, out 20 nautical miles.
It is perhaps the most viewed but least known of America’s national monuments. Because the monument is offshore, few ever set foot upon it! Monument rocks provide habitat for seabirds, seals and sea lions and for unique plants.
The BLM manages these resources with the help of the California Department of Fish and Game and California State Parks. Gateway communities such as Point Arena are partners as well, helping you to discover all the magnificent California Coast has to offer!
California Coastal National Monument
Point Arena Lighthouse
Seven days a week, end of Lighthouse Rd.
|Last updated: 03-22-2010|
|USA.GOV | No Fear Act | DOI | Disclaimer | About BLM | Notices | Social Media Policy|