The road trip to Point Arena gradually re-sets your pace. You slow down, unplug and occupy nature. Each turn in the road opens to a sweeping Pacific vista. Cliffs hang high above the ocean. Powerful surf is carried by the wind. Wild, remote, and stunning, the call of Nature is loud here.
About 3-hours north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the tiny seaside community was once a bustling town sustained by timber and fishing. Sail and steamships carried goods and passengers to and from San Francisco. As the industries died-out, the population has shrunk to around 450 hearty souls keeping the micro-town alive and welcoming.
Lying in a sheltered cove, Point Arena is a timeless Mendocino Coast community, sustained by local businesses, artisans, farms, and ranches, Point Arena has color, climate, agriculture, nature, and maritime history. It’s laid-back and ideal for a weekend get-away.
Where to Play
-Hike, bike, kayak, surf, fish off the pier, or just hang out in Arena Cove watching boats come in and out and the day drift by. Equipment rentals are available in the cove.
-STROLL downtown, drop into colorful shops, eateries, and galleries.
–B Bryan Preserve – Climb into a canvas covered touring jeep and explore the Savanna-like pastures. Zebras, giraffe, and antelope are abundant on the guided tour. You’ll stand eye-to-eye with Rothschild Giraffes in their specially built barn. From a purpose built loft, you’re on eye level with the tallest of all giraffes and the tallest land animal on earth. Their gentle grace is enchanting.
-Stronetta Lands – From Point Arena California to Manchester State Park, ten miles of coastline, headlands, meadows, woodlands and Garcia River wetlands are protected public lands and part of the California Coastal National Monument. Local folks usually refer to it as Stornetta or Stornetta lands. Day use is encouraged for education, hiking, bird watching, plant identification, picnicking, photography, and wildlife observation. Stornetta lands are between Point Arena and Manchester California, on HWY 1.
Go on your own of let Unbeaten Path Tours guide you. You will connect with the Mendocino coast in many ways when you tour with Margaret. She is a superb guide with in-depth knowledge of geology, ecology, history, flora, and fauna. Margaret shares her years of research and training.
–Point Arena Lighthouse – Surrounded by water on three sides, the lighthouse experience offers history, science and natural beauty. Some days it’s brilliantly sunny, others the tallest light on the west coast is fog-shrouded. The lighthouse is a place where the romance is real, and the experience is profound.
–Arena Theater – This beautifully restored 1920s vaudeville playhouse is the center for live and video entertainment in Point Arena. See live concerts, first-run movies, live broadcast from the National Theater, The Met, and other world-class performance houses.
Where to Eat & Drink
–Bird Café & Supper Club – Everything made in-house, and all ingredients are locally sourced. Seasonal menus based on what’s available in the area. Wine is served by glass and bottle. Stop in next door at the Sign of the Whale Bar for a craft cocktail after dinner.
–Uneda Pizza – Everything made in-house, and all ingredients are locally sourced. Brick oven fired pizza, marvelous salads with greens from Oz Farm. Local wine and beer by bottle, glass, and carafe. Inside and outside seating. A must try, exceptionally good.
–The Pier Chowder House & Tap Room – Local seafood and pub grub. 31 beers on tap, local wines, inside, outside, and bar seating. Perfect sunset spot.
–215 Main – Small plates, sandwiches, superb wine list, beer, and hard ciders. Live music most nights.
Where to Stay
Point Arena has lodgings that are destinations in themselves.
-Watch the sunset with giraffes at B Bryan Preserve, an African wildlife sanctuary. B Bryan has three cottages surrounding a lake. The giraffe barns stand behind the cottage complex. Each small house is hand-built and uniquely decorated. With 2-bedrooms, living room, fully equipped kitchen, decks and hot tub, your comfort is assured.
-Oz Farm – settle into a geodesic dome, a converted water tower, cabin, or yurt. Oz Farm is a vital part of the local food chain. They grow fruit and veg that is distributed locally from their farmstand and through local farmer’s markets. The apple orchards grow heirloom eating and cider apples. The onsight cidery is open for tasting and purchases. Oz has frequent celebrations and events. One of the most popular is a stargazing campout with a star expert to guide you through the nighttime heavens. You can tour the farm and even lend a hand in the gardens.
-Spend the night at a lighthouse and climb to the top. Point Arena Lighthouse offers several accommodations sleeping from 2—6. The quarters are the former residents of the light keepers that have braved this windswept location.
All rentals include unlimited Lighthouse Museum & Tower tours and full access to 23-acres of grounds. You will also find a welcome gift of a bottle of Husch Vineyards wine and chocolates from Mendocino Chocolate Company waiting for you.
-The Wharf Master’s Inn is more traditional style lodging. On a cliff high above Arena Cove, the ocean and sunset views are exceptional.
Spend a long weekend in Point Arena to unplug, unwind, and occupy nature.