Driving in from the north are signs tacked onto trees telling people exactly what Point Arena believes in—no human is illegal, women’s rights are human rights, love is love, all lives have value when black lives matter, science is real, water is life, diversity is strength.
That’s a big welcome from the 470 people who call this Mendocino County town home.
The lighthouse is one of the big draws for tourists—and for good reason. The views from the top are outstanding.
South of the lighthouse is Arena Cove with a pier that has been built more than once after being destroyed in storms. A plaque talks about how logging ships used to transport product to San Francisco, while fishing is now the main use of the wharf.
The city’s website says, “The Point served as a prominent navigational site. The first wharf was built in 1866 and made Point Arena the busiest town between San Francisco and Eureka, producing 200,000 board feet of redwood lumber a day and serving as the main Mendocino coast shipping port for agricultural products. As more and more timber was shipped south, Point Arena became known for not just its wharf but also its dangerous coastline for ships.”
A couple restaurants at the pier cater to locals and tourists. This is a fantastic location for watching the sunset; assuming the fog has lifted to be able to see the sun actually set.
The Wildflower Boutique Motel was perfect for a couple nights’ lodging. Breakfast was delivered to our door both mornings, which was ideal for being able to linger in our comfortable room before starting the day.
With the town so small, from the hotel we could walk up and down main street with ease. At the other end we found The New Museum Brewers+Blenders. The locally handcrafted beer and veggie tacos were great nourishment after a day of exploration.
The city incorporated in 1908 largely to have control over liquor licenses because people feared the county would become dry. We were glad to have benefited from alcohol being legal in town.
Hiking along various points on the coast is what enthralled us the most. This is the real reason to visit Point Arena—all the access to the rugged coast line, whether being right on the water, or perched above the Pacific on a bluff.
Driving Highway 1 back to Santa Rosa, our starting point, was a perfect way to enjoy the scenery of this swath of Northern California for just a little bit longer.