Situated at the mouth of the Garcia River near Flumeville, CA, Point Arena Lighthouse marks a very important bend in the Northern California Coast about 50 miles north of Bodega Bay and 90 miles north of San Francisco. From this point, the coastline makes a marked turn to the east-northeast, and then gradually returns to its northwest course.
Point Arena is an important landmark and navigational waypoint for mariners making the north or south passage along the California Coast. If the lighthouse looks familiar, you may have seen it in the Mel Gibson Jamie Lee Curtis film Forever Young.
Construction on the original lighthouse began in 1869, and the light was lit atop the 100-foot-high tower in 1870. The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake so severely damaged the light that it had to be rebuilt. The new 115-foot-high tower was completed in 1908, and the lighthouse was automated in 1977.
Use NOAA Chart 18640.
Characteristics: Flashes white every 15 seconds, 155-foot-high focal plane.
Arena Rock lurks just below the surface about a half-mile north of the lighthouse (and the chart has the marked wrecks to provide enough reason to steer clear of this obstruction. Farther south, Sea Lion Rocks and a shoal at Arena Cove bear watching.
The lighthouse is open for tours daily and is currently managed by the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, Inc.