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Pigeon Point Lighthouse

California has a long north-south coastline with an unmatched diversity of beaches and shorelines. Along this stunning coast are many large rocks, prominent points, islands, and other shipping hazards. Over the years lighthouses have been installed in locations where shipwrecks have occurred or were feared. These majestic lighthouses and light stations have become some of California’s most photographed icons. Below is a list of the lighthouses on the California Coast ordered from south to north.

Most of these lighthouses have easy access while others require some planning ahead if you want to visit or take a tour inside. Point Arena is one of the tallest lighthouses on the Pacific Coast and they allow visitors to hike up to the top.

A couple lighthouses, Point Montara and Pigeon Point, have hostels in the old lighthouse buildings so you can stay overnight on-site.

Some lighthouses such as the ones at St. George Reef and Mile Rocks are far offshore and can only be viewed through binoculars from the nearest mainland beaches.

The lighthouse on Anacapa Island and the one at Alcatraz Island can be visited, but you’ll have to take a boat there.

Many of these lighthouses have grand visitor centers and some even have museums in them like the Surfing Museum at the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse. Each lighthouse has a different appearance and a unique story to tell. Almost any California road trip can include a stop at one of these historic spots.

We often get asked which lighthouse is our favorite. That is a tough question, but we highly recommend Point Bonita, Point Reyes, and Point Arena as they all offer a great experience.


Hidden Lighthouses in California You Should Try to Find

Beaches on this list

  • Cabrillo National Monument

    There are only a few beach access points in Cabrillo National Monument near San Diego, but this park is loaded with things to see. Point Loma, the peninsula where the […]

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  • Shoreline Aquatic Park

    Shoreline Aquatic Park is a city park on Queensway Bay near downtown Long Beach, CA. A sandy beach occupies the north side of the park on Rainbow Harbor, but it […]

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  • Cabrillo Beach – Harbor Beach

    Cabrillo Harbor Beach (aka Harborside) is located at Cabrillo Beach Park next to the public boat launch in the San Pedro District of Los Angeles. This small sandy beach is […]

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  • Point Fermin Park Beach

    Point Fermin Beach is below the steep bluffs of Point Fermin Park and Lighthouse in the San Pedro District of Los Angeles. The beach here isn’t sandy, but the rocky […]

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  • Point Vicente Park and Lighthouse

    Point Vicente Park is a nice place to visit, but there is no easy beach access from the bluff. The Seascape Trail heads north from the park and follows the […]

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  • Anacapa Island – East Isle

    Anacapa Island in Ventura County is part of Channel Islands National Park. It has three small islands (East, West and Middle) but access is mainly to East Anacapa Island. There […]

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  • Port Hueneme Beach Park

    Port Hueneme Beach Park is the main beach in the city of Port Hueneme which is completely surrounded by Oxnard, CA. The beach here is wide with many picnic areas […]

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  • Point Conception Lighthouse

    Point Conception is the prominent point where the Santa Barbara Coast turns northward. The point has an old Coast Guard lighthouse, but it’s not open to the public and it […]

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  • Point San Luis Lighthouse

    Point San Luis Lighthouse has a small cove beach on the harbor side of the rocky breakwater that protects Port San Luis Harbor in Avila Beach, CA. The reason to […]

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  • Piedras Blancas Light Station Natural Area

    Piedras Blancas Light Station Natural Area is located seven miles north of San Simeon along the San Luis Obispo Coast. The lighthouse, which was established in 1875, is missing its […]

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  • Point Sur State Historic Park and Lighthouse

    The Point Sur Lighthouse on the Big Sur coast sits high up on a large volcanic rock dome looking down on a long sandy beach. The beach at Point Sur is […]

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  • Point Pinos Beaches

    Point Pinos in Pacific Grove, California doesn’t have a wide beach, but there are sandy spots right at the point and nearby in both directions. At lower tides and during […]

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  • Seabright Beach

    Seabright Beach is a popular sandy beach next to Santa Cruz Main Beach in Santa Cruz. It is on state-owned property in that is part of Twin Lakes State Beach. […]

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  • Lighthouse Field State Beach

    Lighthouse Field State Beach is a California state park that occupies a large tract of land along West Cliff Drive in west Santa Cruz, CA. The park’s main attraction is […]

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  • Point Ano Nuevo Beach

    Ano Nuevo State Reserve has an extensive dunes structure and wide sandy beaches at Point Ano Nuevo. The area around the point is a Northern Elephant Seal breeding ground and […]

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  • Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park

    Pigeon Point is known for the tall picturesque lighthouse in Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park, not for the beaches around the point. South of the point is a […]

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  • Point Montara Light Station

    Point Montara Light Station is located between Montara State Beach and the city of Moss Beach, CA. The waves crash hard on rocks below the lighthouse grounds, but luckily there […]

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  • Mile Rock Beach at Lands End

    Mile Rock Beach is in a small cove tucked below Lands End Point in San Francisco’s portion of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The view from Lands End includes the […]

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  • Crissy Field – West Bluff Beach

    The beach at West Bluff Picnic Area is located at the west end of Crissy Field Park right below Fort Point National Historic Site and very near the Golden Gate […]

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  • Alcatraz Island

    The infamous Alcatraz Island is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It doesn’t have any beaches, but a visit to “The Rock” is still worth the price of […]

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  • Point Bonita Lighthouse

    Point Bonita Lighthouse is out on the rocky point on the north side of the entrance to San Francisco Bay. There is no beach access from this point, but there […]

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  • Point Reyes Lighthouse

    Point Reyes Lighthouse is perched on a ledge at the Point at the farthest distance from the park entrance. Unfortunately there is no beach access from the lighthouse, but Point […]

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  • Point Arena Lighthouse

    Point Arena Lighthouse is located on rocky Point Arena where the beaches are inaccessible. The lighthouse offers tours daily including a hike up the stairs to the top. This is […]

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  • Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park

    There is a small beach in Frolic Cove within Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park, but the lighthouse is the main draw. Since few people venture out farther than […]

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  • Mal Coombs Park

    Mal Coombs Park is located on the west side of the small resort town of Shelter Cove. There is a small rocky beach hidden away below the park. Many visitors […]

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  • Punta Gorda Lighthouse

    Punta Gorda Lighthouse along the Humboldt County Coast is nearly a four mile walk on the beach from the Mattole River Beach parking area. The beach trail is part of […]

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  • Old Home Beach (Indian Beach)

    Old Home Beach, also known as Indian Beach, is a narrow beach on Trinidad Bay in the small town of Trinidad. It has been renamed, probably out of political correctness, […]

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  • Trinidad Head Beach

    Trinidad Head Beach, a.k.a. Pier Beach, is on Trinidad Bay below the huge rocky point called Trinidad Head in the town of Trinidad. It’s really two beaches in one with […]

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  • Battery Point Lighthouse Beach

    Battery Point Beach is right in Crescent City between the mainland and the rocky island with Battery Point Lighthouse sitting atop. The beach between the park and the lighthouse has […]

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  • Point St. George Beach

    Point St. George is a prominent rocky point about three miles north of Crescent City. The Point is where the St. George Reef Lighthouse keepers lived when they were ashore […]

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