Manchester Beach & Point Arena Activities

Mendocino County

Nearby Activities and Events

B. Bryan Preserve - Africa on the Mendocino Coast

130 Riverside Dr.
Point Arena, CA
(707) 882-2297
B. Bryan Preserve
African hoofed wildlife - zebras, giraffes, kudu, and antelope.
Not a zoo, but a private preserve housing endangered animals
Tours available

Annual Point Arena Seafood and Harbor Festival

September TBA, 2018
At the Point Arena Pier
Live music, seafood, ale and wine, pirate costume contest
Free admission and parking.
Point Arena Seafood & Harbor Festival

Studio Discovery Tour

Labor Day weekend and the previous weekend, 2017
North Coast Artist' Guild members open their studios
Studio Discovery Tour

Flower Power Festival and Daffodil Explosion

March TBA, 2018
Town of Point Arena - daffodils line the roads
Scrabble tournament, crab feed, gelato tasting
Giant kites fly at the lighthouse
Flower Power Festival and Daffodil Explosion

Ocean & Sky,
Portraits of Nature

June 2 - July 2, 2017
Presented by Gualala Arts
Exhibit of fine art photography of northern Sonoma County coast. Also wood sculptures
Gualala Arts

Point Arena Lighthouse

The original lighthouse at Point Arena was erected in 1870. It included a large keepers residence. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake damaged both the lighthouse and the residence so severely that they had to be dismantled. The new lighthouse, built to withstand earthquakes, was completed in 1908.

Point Arena Lighthouse, Mendocino County, CA

The lighthouse stands 115 feet tall. Over the years the inner works of the lighthouse have undergone many changes. The Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, a nonprofit organization, took over ownership of the property in 2000.

Lighthouse Tours

Guided tours of the light station museum and tower are offered daily. The tours include ascending to the top of the tower and stepped out onto the balcony for spectacular views of the area. Self-guided tours of the grounds are also available.
Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM in summer, closing at 3:30 PM after Labor Day until Memorial Day. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Site Admission Fee: adults $7.50, children under 12 $1
Night Tours are offered during full moons throughout the year. Night tours begin at 7:00 or 8:00 PM. $30 per person or two for $50.
Reservations: (707) 882-2809

The lighthouse grounds include a gift store. Visit our LODGING page for information about overnight accommodations at the Point Arena Lighthouse.

Lighthouse Lecture Series

A series of programs about natural history of the area and other similar topics are offered throughout the year. Topics have included elephant seals, local Native American stories, gray whales, sea birds, and local art. Programs are held at the Fog Signal Building at the lighthouse.

Point Arena Lighthouse and Museum

Point Arena Webcam

Manchester State Park and Point Arena Hiking Trails

Besides the obvious walk along the 5 miles of beach at Manchester State Park there are a number of small trails that are worth investigating.

Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.

Alder Creek Trail - Park in a day-use area at the state park's campground and set out on 4-mile round-trip hike to the mouth of Alder Creek. Along the way are several signs giving information about wildlife in the area. The trail passes Lake Davis and continues up the beach to the creek. Alder Creek can also be reached by parking at the entrance to Alder Creek Road (closed to vehicle traffic) and walking down the road.
Stoneboro Road to the Beach - Park at the Stoneboro Road Day-use Area parking lot and hike west ½-mile to the beach.

Point Arena - Stornetta Public Lands

Point Arena - Stornetta Public Lands are 1,665 acres of federal land surrounding Point Arena and extending south along the coast. The land is administered by the Bureau of Land Management and is open to the public.

Parking: Parking is permitted along Lighthouse Road at pull-outs. Porta-toilets are provided. No water is available. Parking is also available at the Point Arena City Hall. Limited parking is permitted at the end of Miner Hole (County) Road; however, the road is currently closed to vehicles approximately .1 mile from Highway 1.

Cautions: Hazards include sink holes and unstable cliffs. Offshore rocks that are accessible at low tide can be underwater at high tide.

Hiking Trails: One of the best hikes in the Stornetta area begins at a turnout on Lighthouse Road near where it first reaches the coast. From there a trail leads south for a mile along the bluffs with views of Sea Lion Rocks and the rugged shoreline.

Another hike begins at Highway 1 just north of the town of Point Arena and leads west 1¼ miles to the point of land north of Arena Cove.

Horseback Rides

Ross Ranch offers guided horseback riding tours on Manchester Beach or through nearby redwood forests.
Ross Ranch

Wildlife around Manchester State Park

The combination of beach, sand dunes, wetlands, and streams provide habitat for a variety of wildlife.


Endangered Snowy Plovers nest in the sands above the high water mark at Manchester Beach. Nesting areas may be cordoned off and posted. Visitors should be on the alert for the difficult-to-spot nests in the sand. Dogs are not permitted in the area because even their scent can cause birds to abandon their nests. Kites flown overhead can be mistaken by the birds as predator birds and may also cause nest abandonment.

Other shorebirds sighted along Manchester Beach include Greater Yellowlegs, Sanderlings, Dunlin, Brant, gulls, Blue Herons, Egrets, Whimbrels, and even Peregrine Falcons. Tundra swans can be seen at the park in the winter.


Watchful and quiet visitors to Alder Creek may be fortunate enough to spot a river otter. They are known to swim out into the ocean for brief forays.

The Point Arena mountain beaver is an endangered subspecies which are only found in a 24-square mile area along the Mendocino coast, including Manchester State Park. The beavers excavate burrows which include chambers for food storage, denning, and feeding. Rarely sighted by park visitors, the beavers are only about one foot long and weigh between two and four pounds.

Stand on The San Andreas Fault

The San Andreas Fault extends over 800 miles beneath California from the Salton Sea in the south to Cape Mendocino in the north. The fault is best known as the source of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

Around Point Arena the fault is located beneath the Garcia River bed 2 miles east of Highway 1 near Mountain View Road. Heading south, the fault follows the river for miles. To the north, the fault line leaves the river where it bends to the west and continues in a northwesterly direction, crossing Highway 1 near Kinney Road and passing off the coast south of Alder Creek.

Visitors who have walked up the trail from the Manchester State Park campground to Alder Creek have noted a change in the landforms that could indicate the fault line as they neared Lake Davis. During the summer Lake Davis is hardly more than a pond, but as the rains return in the winter the lake swells.

Fishing at Manchester State Park

Brush Creek and Alder Creek are popular steelhead trout and salmon fishing streams. California Freshwater fishing regulations state that fishing is allowed from the fourth Saturday in May through March 31. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used during that time. Only barbless hooks may be used from November 1 through March 31. Streams may be closed to fishing due to low water flow.

Check for the most up-to-date information at California Department of Fish and Wildlife Hunting and Fishing Regulations

Point Arena - Stornetta Public Lands Map

map of Point Arena - Stornetta Public Lands, Mendocino County, CA

Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

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