The Lighthouses of California & How to Visit Them
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 complete 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 are best 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 scenic boat ride to each of those (ok we’ll twist your arm).
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 offer a great experience. All of the lighthouses below are wonderful to visit and have an interesting story to tell.
Hidden Lighthouses in California You Should Try to Find