The Point Cabrillo Light Station will open up its lantern room on Saturday, Aug. 4, for a rare chance to see its beauitfully restored and operational Third Order Fresnel Lens.
The historic park at Mendocino offers a chance to see the actual lantern room and lens only six Saturdays a year. So if seeing an authentic lighthouse lens is on your bucket list, make Mendocino your destination this weekend. If you bring the kids, measure them. They must be at least 42 inches tall to enter the lantern room.
The tours, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., are in honor of National Lighthouse Day.
The giant glass jewel first began keeping ships on course in 1909, when it was powered by kerosene. Electricity finally came to the station in the 1930s.

If you can’t make it this weekend there is one more chance to tour the lens this year, Sept. 22, in honor of Juan Cabrillo Day.

For a truly unique place to spend the night on the coast you can rent the Head Lightkeeper’s House, impeccably restored to the way it was when it was built in 1909 and yet comfied up with amenities like a gourmet kitchen. It’s also big enough to sleep eight so the cost of $832 a night (two-night minimu) isn’t so much  when you split the costs. 

There are also two nicely restored cottages at the light station that can be rented for only $143 a night and there is no two-night minimum.

Staying at the light station overnight and seeing that lens light up the dark and rake the grounds outside your window is truly a magical experience.  You’ll have the grounds to yourself. And the light station is surrounded by 300 acres of nature preserve, giving you the feeling of being far from civilization. And yet the village of Mendocino is only 3 miles to the south. 

The house and cottages are booked for this weekend but it’s a cool idea to keep in mind for a future Mendocino coast getaway. It would be a perfect perch during whale watching season.

For information about the Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park call (707) 937-6122.

For information about renting the house or cottage call (800) 262-7801 or visit

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