By Marianela Pereyra

Point Arena Lighthouse

Ever since I was little I was drawn to lighthouses. There was always an element of mystery to them and they encouraged my imagination to wander. I was always intrigued by the life of the keepers and all the work that went into tending the lighthouse. If you haven’t visited Point Arena, you better add this to your bucket list! At first thought, who would go out of there way to visit a lighthouse? Trust me when I tell you that once you get here you will be happy that you did, because it’s one of the only lighthouses on the Pacific Coast that allows you to climb all the way to the top!

It’s 115 feet high and climbing the 19th-century-cast-iron spiral staircase was so exciting that I wasn’t even phased by the trek! Two things you want to make sure you bring: your camera and a sweater or jacket. Despite the dark and chilly climb up, there are no words that can explain the moment when you peek your head through to the very top deck. During my experience the warmth of the sun not only lit up my face, but also warmed my soul. When I first arrived at Point Arena it was very windy and cold outside, there was stormy weather brewing and I couldn’t wait to get inside the lighthouse. When I finally reached the light room I instantly felt safe, warm, and invisible — like nothing could touch me and no harm could come my way.

Hearing the gushing winds and watching the waves crashing on the rocks in the most serene place on the coast is a memory forever engraved in my mind. The lighthouse sits on a bluff directly in front of the Pacific ocean and the view of the Mendocino coastline is simply stunning. If possible plan your trip during whale migrating season, it’s amazing to watch the whales spouting from the top of the lighthouse.

Point Arena Lighthouse

The only sad moment for me was having to climb back down. I could have spent hours up there, soaking in the same view the keepers spent hours admiring as they tended to the Fresnel lens in the early 1900s. During my short time in the lens room, it became very clear why lighthouses symbolize a beacon of hope and the guiding light in your darkest hour. I left Point Arena Lighthouse feeling happy, blissful, and hopeful!

P.S. Scenes from the movie Forever Young were shot near on the grounds near the lighthouse.
A little romance never hurts ;)

For More:
Watch Marianela get the 411 on one of the tallest lighthouses on the West Coast.
Check out behind-the-scenes photos of Marianela at Point Arena.

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Sara GilliamSara is a Senior Producer for Travel Channel.com. She has eaten her way through Thailand, sailed around the coast of Greece -- and thought she died and went to heaven...

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