Most visitors know Mendocino County for the towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg, with historic and picturesque landscapes, architecture, and northern coastal ambience.

South of these celebrated and renowned locations, however, nests a rugged bit of coastline trailing from Elk to Gualala that locals affectionately call the “south coast.” In the hub of this area sits Point Arena, the Point Arena Lighthouse, and the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument. With so much natural beauty to see it’s easy to start planning your visit around these national icons. For special events happening at the Lighthouse you can check out our Calendar of Events. But for more “things to do” we encourage you to click a photo above or read on . . .

The “south coast” offers many attractions for the outgoing adventurer. From wine tasting, fundraiser events, and the Arts, to all the natural beauty you can stand, Mendocino County has a lot to offer.

Consider participating on a guided hike with Unbeaten Path Hiking Tours. Margaret Lindgren offers a variety of packages including a combination hike and lighthouse tour designed to give tour-goers a real sense of the history of this incredible area. To quote Unbeaten Path Hiking Tours: “Each Unbeaten Path tour is guided by a conscientious and knowledgeable guide with the opportunity for great photos, wonderful conversation, insight and, most importantly, priceless memories. If you are looking for an experience that is personalized, comfortable and relaxing then Unbeaten Path is for you!”

The area also offers unique destinations such as Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, and Bowling Ball Beach (photo courtesy of Matt McIntosh/NOAA) just south of Point Arena. Both locations host stunning sights rarely found elsewhere in the world.

In Fort Bragg find the famous Skunk Train, a must-do for train enthusiasts and families. Also popular with families is the B. Bryan Preserve, Point Arena’s own wildlife preserve offering animal feedings and guided tours of the grounds where they have been breeding and preserving African hoof Stock for over a decade. For those who can’t get enough of the hoof, consider beach-by-horseback with Ross Ranch Horseback Tours.

IMG_0046Of special interest in our area, the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument is one of California’s newest monuments, and shares a special partnership with the lighthouse. The twenty-three acres of the lighthouse point are bordered by over sixteen-hundred acres of monument lands. These public lands are open to all, year-round, and are an amazing gateway to the lighthouse. As a partner with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Point Arena Lighthouse shares an important role in preserving these lands for decades to come. The diverse ecology and lang-standing history of this area is truly a national treasure. Visitors and locals alike can hike the trails and discover a variety of natural and man-made points of interest along the way. In addition to the monument itself, it is worth noting that the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary was recently expanded to this area as well. This sanctuary protects the waters just off the coast of California, providing important ecological protections to this sensitive area.