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Cape Blanco was named in 1603 by the Spanish explorer Martin D'Aguilar because of the chalky appearance of the headland. The park land was purchased from the Joseph N. Hughes Estate in 1971. At the westernmost tip of the cape is a U. S. Coast Guard lighthouse reservation including an 1870 lighthouse. The headland is 245 feet above the sea and the light is visible for 22 miles at sea. Because of many past shipwrecks at this point, a powerful radio beacon for navigators was placed at Cape Blanco. The park land historically was settled by Patrick Hughes, a native of Ireland, who came to the place in 1860 and developed an extensive dairy farm, which spread into bottom land along the Sixes River on the north side of the cape. The spacious house that Hughes built for his large family overlooking the Sixes estuary in 1898 is all that remains of the ranch complex.
Annual overnight attendance: 36,807
Annual day-use attendance: 217,408