Location: Mendocino County, CA
Miles: 1 mile
Duration: 0.5 hours
Users: Hikers, dogs, mountain bikes. Wheelchair access.
Features: Museum, Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, bluffs, coastal views, hiking trails, kid friendly, vacation rentals, lightkeepers’ houses, outbuildings
Point Cabrillo, built in 1909, is located in Mendocino County, California, about 2 miles from downtown Mendocino, as well as 2 miles from Caspar Beach. Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and its surrounding buildings are open 365 days a year between 11am and 4pm. The surrounding trails, including the paved road to the lighthouse, are open from sunrise to sunset.
Located at the main parking lot is the visitor center. From this parking lot, there is an easy 1/2 mile walk on a paved access road to the lighthouse and surrounding buildings.
This paved road is open to pedestrians, bicycles, and leashed dogs. This paved road is also open to those driving to the handicapped parking available near the lighthouse.
Located all along the paved road are fun, interactive placards to teach and quiz kids (and adults!) on grey whales. Along with the lighthouse are the three original lightkeepers’ houses and outbuildings. There are even vacation rentals available on site.
Once you reach the lighthouse, you are able to walk to the edge of the bluffs and enjoy the spectacular ocean views. There are trails lining the bluff edges that allow for beautiful, easy hikes with wonderful photo opportunities.
I visited the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse on a weekday around 9 am. When I got to the parking lot, there was only one car other than mine. By the time I made my way back to the car around 10 am, there were 10 cars in the parking lot.
So, if you are looking to enjoy this attraction in solitude, try coming on a weekday before 10 am. The downside is that the buildings won’t be open.
If you visit the lighthouse during peak hours, the other visitors are very quiet and respectful. There is also a better chance for blue skies, as the fog starts to burn off in the late morning/early afternoon. No matter when you decide to visit the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, you will surely be happy you came.
Top 3 Adventure Hacks
1) Don’t forget your camera
There are a lot of photo opportunities when you get to see the ocean views and the lighthouse. Don’t miss out on taking awesome photos, better have your mirrorless digital camera ready.
Go and see the Marine Science Exhibit and First Assistant Lightkeeper’s Museum.
3) Stay hydrated
Keep a bottle of water on hand to keep yourself from getting thirsty.