Finally we were on our way home from our Labor Day road trip to Mendocino county. We had already seen many things on this trip; the Pygmy Forest, Glass Beach at Fort Bragg and Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. But we still had a couple stops ahead. On my last post, I told you about Bowling Ball Beach we visited, but before that we actually stopped at Point Arena Lighthouse.
Point Arena Lighthouse was originally built in 1870, but the great earthquake in 1906 damaged the building and it had to be rebuild. The new lighthouse opened in 1908 and is still operating today, but now with an automated light. Before that, 4 lighthouse keepers with their families lived at Point Arena. The Point Arena Lighthouse fog horn was silenced in 1978.
Point Arena lighthouse has served as a movie set for multiple different movies. The most famous of them must be Mel Gibsons' Forever Young. The lighthouse is seen even in the cover picture. Gibson jumps into his airplane right in front of the lighthouse, and flies up above the city of Mendocino. Also a movie called Need for Speed was filmed here in 2014.
Today, there is a small museum and a gift shop at the lighthouse, and you can rent a room from the lighthouse keepers' house. If you want to visit inside of the lighthouse, there are guided tours for purchase. In fact, we were not aware of the two different kinds of tickets sold to the lighthouse area. The tickets are bought from a little ticket booth on the road that leads to the lighthouse. You can either pay $5 per adult ($1 children over 5 years old) to visit the museum right next to the lighthouse, or you can get a ticket to the guided tour for $7.50 per adult ($1 children). No one told us about that, and they automatically charged us the higher price. At the museum we learned that the in order to get the tour, we would have to wait for almost half an hour. We decided to skip the tour since we still had a long drive ahead of us, and the inside of the lighthouse didn't seem that interesting to us.
The museum and the gift shop were really small. The only reason for getting a ticket here would be if you want to participate in the guided tour. You can see the lighthouse without charge from outside of the fence, and it seemed to me that actually it was the best photo spot. The first picture in this article was taken from there. I'm sure that the views from the lighthouse would have been great, but we wanted to get home before it got too late. Most lighthouses close in the late afternoon, so if you plan to visit, always check the opening times first. Outside the fence there is a small parking lot, and if you walk by the shore over here, you might see some seals on the rocks. There are also two sea arches that the waves have carved from the rocks.
After this we were ready to return home!