Top 5 Old California Lighthouses

Up and down California are relics of our state's glorious past. State Parks, National Monuments, Old Californian Missions. But my own personal favorite look into the old methods of doing things are our state's historic lighthouses.

Here are five of my favorites that are still open for tours:

1. Point Pinos Lighthouse, Monterey: The oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast, keeping sailors out of harm's way since 1855. Tours are offered every Thursday through Monday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and only cost $2 for adults, free for kids.

2. Old Point Loma Lighthouse, San Diego: Constructed in 1855 as well, this lighthouse only remained in operation until 1891 due to fog and low clouds regularly obscuring the light. An old Fresnel lens still resides on site, and tours can be taken daily through the Cabrillo National Monument.

3. Point Fermin Lighthouse, San Pedro: Constructed in 1874, this lighthouse sits on top of an old Italian Victorian home on the shores of the San Pedro harbor. Tours can be had every afternoon except Mondays and holidays.

4. Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, Mendocino: Since 1909, this magnificent wood house has been navigating ships safe passage. The site is open daily during the summer, on weekends for the rest of the year. It also occasionally hosts concerts and special tours of their historic 3rd order Fresnel lens.

5. Point Reyes Lighthouse, Point Reyes: At the westernmost point of Point Reyes sits this classic lighthouse from 1870. There are tours regularly, but it's worth calling ahead as it occasionally closes due to windy conditions. The pathway down to the lighthouse -- 308 steep stone steps -- is not for the meek.

Story continues below


We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading

Full Episodes