Lighthouses in California have long been an essential part of the Golden State’s coastal and maritime history.

Many of them have served for centuries, and some still provide a guiding light to sailors and ships that sail through the rocky shores and shoals of the Pacific coast.

When you visit the various lighthouses in Northern California and lighthouses in Southern California, you will come across multiple architectural types with exciting stories.

In the early days, the lightkeepers were responsible for maintaining the light, burning it and making it visible to the ships.

These days, most of the lighthouses california coast are unmanned and automated tourist attraction centres.

On the guided tours, you will understand how many lighthouses in California have served as a beacon of light in the darkness, guiding sailors to safety and providing a sense of security during uncertain times.

You will learn that the lighthouses have evolved from simple towers with open flames to more complex structures that use various light sources and technology.

In this blog, I have put a list of California Lighthouses which draw people from across the globe inclined towards maritime history and also for a lovely vacation by the Bay.

Whether you are a history buff, sailor or someone who appreciates beautiful architecture, check out the California Lighthouses Map at the end of this post to plan your next Pacific coast trip.

First things first! I recommend you get travel insurance ALWAYS whenever you are on international or domestic travel! 

Check out this insurance by Safety Wing, which offers a pretty good cover for you and your family! They even provide monthly insurance, much required for slow travelers like us! Book here!


1) Wear Comfortable Shoes and Dress appropriately: 

Since most of the lighthouses are located in coastal areas, the weather can be windy and cool even in summer. 

You might have to walk for an extended period and climb stairs or steep inclines. So wear layered clothes and comfortable hiking shoes.

Check out these accessories, which I use for my travels:

2) Keep yourself Hydrated: You will have to ascend and descend several steps, and also you might have to go on short hikes in some places. 

So keep your bag filled with water, snacks and other beverages. You can check out the hydration pack which I use here.

3) Bring a Camera: It’s pretty unfair if you won’t capture these marvellous historic pieces that have stood to the test for decades. Isn’t it?

You may also want to travel back in time, reminiscing about these gorgeous lighthouses. I carry a Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70S  while traveling since I prefer lightweight gear to my Nikon D850, which I use regularly.

4) Read the rules and regulations of the area:

Californian Lighthouses are historic landmarks that need to be preserved for future generations. To help protect them, please follow the local rules and regulations. 

These might include not touching or climbing certain parts of the Lighthouse, not bringing pets or food to the area, not lifting any of the artefacts and respecting the natural environment around the Lighthouse.

Also, if you want to explore these lighthouses by car and looking for rental cars in California, check out Discover Cars, one of my favourite car rentals. Thanks to their many options and affordable prices. Book here.


Read further to learn about the top 22 lighthouses in California and get ready to travel back in time. Lets Sail!


Located in Cresent City, one of the best Northern California Beach Towns, The Battery Point Lighthouse is an iconic destination and sits on the list of beautiful lighthouses in California.

Also known as Crescent City Light Station, the Lighthouse was built in 1856 and is perched atop a small island right off the panoramic Redwood Highway, just 20 miles south of the Oregon border.

california coast lighthouses

Battery Point Lighthouse is private property and resembles more of a house than a typical towering structure, and the Del Norte County Historical Society maintains it.

The best time to visit Battery Point Lighthouse and Museum is during low tides, as the island it is built on is surrounded by water during high tides. 

You can take a guided tour of the Lighthouse once a month to learn about the region’s maritime history. 

You will witness many photos, a historic oil room, living quarters, a keeper’s office, documents, photos, and other maritime artefacts.

how many lighthouses in California

You may also spot beautiful Californian tide pools during low tides along the shores of Battery Point Beach. 

The area is popular among hikers, photographers and birdwatchers, and you might spot harbour seals and sea lions basking around on the rocks. Playing with squirrels is quite a common sight along the pier.

Dogs aren’t allowed. There are no restrooms as well.

Timings: 10 AM to 4 PM


Located on the rugged coast of Mendocino, one of the most beautiful beach towns in Northern California, Point Cabrillo Lighthouse is among the oldest working lighthouses in California.

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse was built in 1909 to serve as a guiding light for sailors navigating the treacherous waves of the Pacific.

california lighthouses

The Lighthouse is housed inside a 300-acre California State Historic Park, home to abundant wildlife and stunning trails which offer beautiful Pacific views.

The park also has a museum, a Marine Science Exhibit and many cosy cottages and cabins for rent. 

Apart from the cabins, you can also choose to stay in the former home of the assistant lighthouse keeper.

Check out the 240-gallon aquarium in the exhibit to learn about the importance of marine ecosystems. Go hiking, whale and bird watching.

lighthouses in california

Stroll on the gorgeous half-mile paved path to the Lighthouse from the gate on Point Cabrillo Drive, which is also wheelchair-accessible. You may spot harbour seals playing in the cove.

Dress in layers since the weather can be cold due to the winds from the Pacific. 

An exclusive parking area is available, and there is also a souvenir shop in the building. Well-maintained restrooms are available.

Timings: 11 AM to 4 PM


One of the historic lighthouses in California is the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse, which was initially installed at Cape Mendocino but was later moved to Shelter Cove.

Established in 1868, the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse served for about 100 years to help sailors navigate the rough waves of the Pacific and its rugged coast.

list of california lighthouses

The Lighthouse was eventually deactivated and was abandoned to witness many earthquakes and other natural calamities. 

But the residents didn’t give up on this one of the beautiful ca lighthouses and volunteered to save it.

In 1997, the custody of the Lighthouse was awarded to Humboldt County. 

Volunteers stepped forward to disassemble the 91,000-pound structure, numbered them, refurbished and repainted the frame and helped to install it in the present location in Shelter Cove in 1999.

The Lighthouse opened to the public on Memorial Day in 2001. Take a self-guided lighthouse tour and read about the maritime history on the placards. 

lighthouses in southern california

You can launch boats or fish from the rocks or just relax on the shores of the black sand beach.

You will witness seal pups lazying around. If you visit the cove during low tides, you may witness colourful tide pools filled with teeming underwater life.

Timings: 11 AM to 3 PM – Memorial Day to Labour Day


One of the oldest functional lighthouses in California is the Point Arena Lighthouse, a 115-foot iconic landmark located in Mendocino County.

Point Arena Lighthouse was built in 1870 but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1906, which also devastated the lands of San Francisco.

Later the Lighthouse was rebuilt in 1908 and has been there ever since, helping the sailors navigate the turbulent tides. 

best lighthouses in california

The Lighthouse is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Take a guided lighthouse tour with a $5 ticket per person which runs every 30 minutes. You will have to climb 145 steps spiral staircase to reach the top of the tower. 

The 360-degree views from the top are unparalleled.

Learn about the history of the Lighthouse and some exciting stories about the sailors and lightkeepers on the guided tour.

Fun Fact: When the weather is foggy, the place becomes mysterious, creepy and looks like a haunted house. You might even hear some interesting ghost stories on your tour.

You need to buy an exclusive $5 parking ticket. If you aren’t taking the guided tour, stroll along the paths around the Lighthouse to admire the beautiful views of the ocean or explore the gorgeous hiking trails.

lighthouses in northern california

The main draw of Point Arena Lighthouse is the cosy staying options, an ideal location for a weekend vacation with family or friends. 

I wouldn’t mind paying to stay alone in these cute rooms. The views from the panoramic windows are phenomenal.

You can choose to stay between the head lighthouse keeper’s quarters, the assistant keeper’s quarters, the keeper’s apartment or the keeper’s room.

Timings: 10 AM to 3:30 PM


One of the gorgeous lighthouses in California perched atop a windswept bluff at the end of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard overlooking the Pacific is the Point Reyes Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse, located 60 miles North of San Francisco, was built in 1870 and is part of the famous Point Reyes National Seashore.

It was functional for about a century, warning ships of the headlands of Point Reyes jutting out into the ocean and guiding them to safety. 

Later it was replaced by an automated light tower in 1975.

Lighthouses In California

Although you can drive to the Lighthouse visitor centre next to it, an adventurous way is to take the 1.3-mile hike there, which offers splendid views and introduce you to the reserve area’s rich vegetation, birds, and flora.

This out-and-back path can be done quickly in under an hour since it is only about a mile long. You can also tour this trail throughout the year. 

Park at the lot and begin the hike that will take you downstairs for 300+ steps leading to the historic Lighthouse. 

You will witness lovely views of the beach and coastline on the way.

The tower is surrounded by a small complex of buildings, including the lighthouse keeper’s quarters and the fog signal building.

Head to the visitor centre for an excellent collection of artefacts showing the rich history of the Lighthouse and the region, including its wildlife and beaches.

After snapping plenty of photos of this historic Lighthouse atop the dramatic coastal bluff, climb the steps uphill to go back.

Watch for whales; you can even spot sea lions and other marine life under the rocks below.

There are a plethora of things to do in this quaint town. Check out my exclusive guide for things to do in Point Reyes.

northern california lighthouses

The parking lot is relatively small. So try to visit the place early during the day or on weekdays. 

Ensure to check the weather since the winds at Point Reyes are usually harsh, and dress in layers.

If the winds are greater than 40 mph, the stairs to the Lighthouse are closed for visitor safety.

Even if they aren’t open, you can still view the Lighthouse from above. Check the official website to see if they’ll be available during your visit. 

If you have spare time, try visiting the other surrounding places like Alamere Falls and Drakes Beach. 

For avid hikers looking for extensive hiking trails around Point Reyes, I recommend you to go through my list of hikes in Point Reyes California.

Timings: 10 AM to 4:30 PM – Friday to Monday


Point Bonita Lighthouse is one of the best lighthouses in California and a historic landmark located on a rocky piece of land that juts into the entrance to San Francisco Bay on the west side of the Marin Headlands.

Point Bonita is also on the list of the best Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints because of the beautiful views you can see from this point. 

It is also sometimes referred to as the North entrance of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Lighthouse was built in 1855 and has played a significant role in guiding the ships to sail in the dangerous waves of the Pacific. 

The Lighthouse was the third on the West Coast and is one of the functional California lighthouses.

Fact: Before Point Bonita was built, it is said that around 300 ships had run ashore along the Golden Gate Straits

Point Bonita was built on a 300-foot ridge above the ocean but was later moved to a much lower elevated point near the Point Bonita tip.

Access to Point Bonita Lighthouse is only via the half-mile man-made Point Bonita bridge, built after 1970 when the original natural bridge collapsed due to a landslide.

Take a guided tour, including a walk along the suspension bridge and into the Lighthouse, to witness the original lens and learn about its functioning.

From the Point Bonita vantage point, you get sweeping views of the entry to the San Francisco Bay, the bridge and the Headlands. 

You can also see Kirby Cove, Hawk Hill, and Battery Spencer.

Point Bonita is also a popular spot for hiking and birdwatching. 

Get a pair of binoculars to spot whales, harbour seals, porpoises, and other marine wildlife basking around the Bay Area.

There are two parking lots at the trailhead. Pets and bikes aren’t allowed on this bridge.

Timings: 12:30 PM TO 3:30 PM – Friday to Monday


One of the filmy lighthouses in California is Alcatraz Lighthouse, located atop Alcatraz Island.

The Lighthouse was built in the early 1850s on the highest point on Alcatraz Island, which made it visible from miles away.

It was damaged by an earthquake in 1906, and later it was rebuilt again in a couple of years.

Fun Fact: Alcatraz Lighthouse was fueled initially by whale oil and had a rotating lens that emitted a fixed white light.

It played an essential role during the early 1850s when the gold rush towns in California emerged slowly with tons of Gold mine discoveries.

Alcatraz Lighthouse has helped massive ships carrying Gold and other valuable cargo navigate the Bay’s dangerous waves.

The Lighthouse was eventually automated in the 1960s. It is still in operation, but it is unmanned and not available for people to visit.

The only way to have a look at the Lighthouse is to do a guided tour, which will take you around the island on a cruise.

Recommended Tour: Alcatraz with San Francisco Bay Cruise

Take a ferry to Alcatraz Island to enter the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, along with an audio guide. 

A San Francisco Bay cruise includes views of Pier 39’s sea lions, the waterfront area, and the city’s skyline. Book here.

Alcatraz Island and the Lighthouse has inspired many directors and scriptwriters to develop exciting plots.

The island is also known for its infamous prison, which you can see on the guided tour. 

In addition to its historical significance, the Alcatraz lighthouse and island is known for its stunning views of the SF Bay and is a hot spot for photographers and birdwatchers.

Alcatraz Island is also one of the top Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints.

Timings: 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM – Tours run throughout the week and on all seasons

Recommended Tours:

Alcatraz Inside with Fisherman’s Wharf Lunch Credit

This is a great way to guarantee Alcatraz tickets, with a bonus lunch credit to use back at Fisherman’s Wharf. Book here.

Straight to the Gate Access: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

This narrated Golden Gate Bay cruise journeys alongside Alcatraz and Angel Island State Park, past the shores of Sausalito and beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. 

You can view the sights from inside your boat or out on deck. Book here.

Other Recommended Tours:


If you are looking for lighthouses in California to put on your list of weekend trips from San Francisco, check out the Point Montara Lighthouse, located at a 22 miles driving distance from SF.

Point Montara lighthouse was built in 1875 and was initially located in Cresent City. 

Later in 1928, the Lighthouse was dismantled and moved to its present location in Montara.

The 30-foot Lighthouse, with its unique foghorn, has helped many ships sail in the perilous waters of the Pacific during times of dense fog.

Point Montara lighthouse is currently leased by Hostelling International and operated as a youth hostel.

If you are looking for a peaceful retreat by the ocean, Point Montara lighthouse is an ideal location which offers comfy stays, including private and dormitory-styled rooms.

Point Montara Lighthouse also serves to protect the surrounding marine preserves. 

You might spot migratory whales if you visit during the peak migration season.

Enjoy beachcombing, hiking, surfing, and kayaking or take a guided tour to explore the Lighthouse and learn about the region’s maritime history.

Timings: 8 AM to Sunset


Located in Pescadero, Pigeon Point lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses in California, towering 115 feet.

Built in 1872, this Californian historic landmark is a part of the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park and was once a guiding path for ships that sailed across the rugged coast of San Mateo County.

Take a tour of the park to navigate down the winding roads towards the Lighthouse. 

Stop in between to look around and appreciate the spectacular views of the massive Pacific.

Fact: The Lighthouse was named after the shipwreck of the clipper ship Carrier Pigeon, which occurred off the coast in 1853.

Visit the Fog signal building to learn about the history and significance of the Lighthouse and the Fresnel lens.

The Lighthouse has five wicked oil lamps and a first-order Fresnel lens which weighs approximately 2000 pounds.

Walk on the Olallieberry pie and admire the Lighthouse, an iconic landmark that has endured many earthquakes.

You will love this place if you are inclined to photography. Pigeon point lighthouse is one of the most photographed landmarks in the United States.

It is visible from both the North and South, and its silhouette version during Sunset is one of a kind.

Explore the rest of the Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park by walking on the paved paths. 

Get a pair of binoculars to see the migrating grey and humpback whales during their migration season. You can wave at the seals lazing on the shores.

Make your evening memorable by staying in the HI Pigeon Point Lighthouse hostel, one of the lovely Pescadero hotels with stunning ocean vistas. Picnic tables are available in the park. 

Admission & Parking is Free. Try to visit during the early hours, as the parking spots are limited outside the Lighthouse.

If you want more activites in this cute hamlet, check out my guide for things to do in Pescadero California.

Timings: 10 AM to 4 PM – Thursday to Monday


Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse is located in Santa Cruz on a rocky promontory overlooking the Pacific, one of the uniquely designed lighthouses in California.

The construction started in 1852 but was suspended due to the civil war. 

It was later rebuilt after a year and served as a beacon of safety and hope for surfers and sailors alike.

The area covering the Lighthouse was also home to the 54th Coast Artillery Regiment, an all-Black unit assigned to protect the nearby coastline. 

The original Lighthouse stood until it was dismantled in 1948 after the new brick lighthouse was built in 1967.

The new Lighthouse was named in honour of Mark Abbott, a local surfer who tragically died in a surfing accident in 1965.

Mark’s family donated the proceeds from his life insurance policy to the city of Santa Cruz to construct this old-fashioned unique coastal beacon, now a part of the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.

Take a guided tour to appreciate the beautiful red brick-styled Lighthouse and the museum, which features impressive collections of maritime artefacts of the 1800s and many rotating exhibits depicting the culture of the bay area.

You will see the collection of vintage surfboards from the early 1900s, made from solid wood and weighing tons.

Fun Fact: Surfing was first brought to this area by the Hawaiian princes.

Apart from the Lighthouse, one of the museum’s main draws is the surfing giants’ exhibit, which pays homage to some of the greatest surfers in California.

Timings: 12 PM to 4 PM – Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays


One of the oldest operating lighthouses in California is the Point Sur lighthouse, located in the Point Sur State Historic Park, Monterey.

The Lighthouse was built atop a 361-foot rock near the famous Bixby Bridge in 1889, and it has been in operation ever since. 

Point Sur lighthouse is three storey sandstone triplex structure and most parts of the Lighthouse built on the rock are still intact, making it one of the complete California coast lighthouses.

The main feature of Point Sur Lighthouse is its location which provides stunning panoramic views of the rugged coastline and the endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, making it one of the hotspots for photographers across the globe.

Point Sur lighthouse was the base of the US military, which protected the surrounding coast during World War II.

On the lighthouse tour, you will see the only remaining complete, stand-alone Cold War Naval Facility on the West Coast.

Volunteers offer a guided tour of the Lighthouse. You can opt for walking, Halloween, whale-watching, or moonlight tours. 

The annual haunted ghost tour held every October is a must-see.

Access to Point Sur is via the two stairs. So if you have mobility issues, ensure to check if there is any assistance.

Wear sturdy walking shoes and layered clothes since the weather around this place keeps changing abruptly.

Suppose you are planning the Big Sur road trip. In that case, I recommend you stop by Point Sur Lighthouse, a gorgeous historic landmark of California listed on the National Register of historic places.

Timings: 10 AM to 1 PM on Saturdays and Sundays, 1 PM to 4 PM on Wednesdays


Located at the Northernmost tip of the Monterey Peninsula, Point Pinos Lighthouse is one of the oldest continuously operating lighthouses in California surrounded by Victorian-era architecture.

It was built in 1885 and had been guiding sailors safely through the rocky coast of the Pacific.

Point Pinos has a small museum which exhibits the lighthouses’ history and the lives of the keepers who worked there.

Take a stroll in the park surrounding the Lighthouse. There are many paved paths and lovely vantage points to take in the beautiful Pacific views.

Point Pinos was also a social gathering place for the residents of Pacific Grove. The site has witnessed many lavish dinners under the stars and interesting stories.

You need to buy a $5 ticket to take the tour of the Lighthouse. 

You will see original lenses, prism and glasses used to date to help ships navigate the dangerous Pacific Coast.

Fun Fact: Before the invention of GPS, the Lighthouse served alongside a Class D radio beacon and a manually operated foghorn. 

The radio beacon and foghorn were eventually deactivated in 1993.

If you are on a tour of the best beaches in Monterey or driving on the gorgeous 17-mile drive, Point Pinos is a must-stop location to relax and soak in the beauty of nature.

Plan a day trip to the Lighthouse and explore the surrounding hiking trails, Point Lobos State Park or the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

There are many 17-mile drive tours available. But what’s more fun than exploring the stunning coastline via an e-bike?

Recommended: 2.5-Hour Electric Bike Tour Along 17-Mile Drive of Coastal Monterey.

The e-bike allows you to cover more ground without getting worn out. The tour is excellent for the whole family, with the option to ride in tandem with children. 

Along the way, learn about the area from your guide and stop at impressive viewpoints. Book here.

Timings: 11 AM to 3 PM – Friday to Sunday

Other recommended 17-mile drive tours:


Visit the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, a Coastal National Monument and one of the most beautiful lighthouses in California that overlook the edge of the Pacific Ocean between Ragged Point and San Simeon.

Piedras Blancas Lighthouse was built in 1875 in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s southernmost region to warn and guide the seafarers of the rocky and dangerous shoreline.

The Lighthouse was named “Piedras Blancas,” which means “white rocks” in Spanish because of the distinct white boulders at the bluffs that sailors used to find the shores. 

Today the Piedras Blancas Light Station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is part of the Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area, comprising a natural park and wildlife sanctuary.

Take a guided tour, and visit the cute souvenir shop. If you plan an overnight stay, check out the original Lightkeeper’s dwellings, which have now been converted into a rental cottage.

Apart from visiting the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, if you are looking for more activities in San Simeon, Check out my exclusive guide for things to do in San Simeon Ca.

Timings: 10 AM to 12 PM – On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, closed on other days


One of the truly inspiring lighthouses in California, known for its Victorian-inspired architecture, is the Point San Luis Lighthouse, located near SLO.

The Lighthouse was constructed in the early 1890s after the incident with the Queen of the Pacific and operated for about a decade.

Fun Fact: Point San Luis Lighthouse is built under Prairie Victorian architecture. 

The name might be catchy, but the true meaning behind the name is the architecture blends the lavishness of Victorian buildings with the practicalities of living on the prairie. 

Point San Luis Lighthouse is one of only three lighthouses ever built in this style and the only one still standing.

It was declared a historical site and museum and was opened to the public in 1995. 

The Lighthouse is now on private property owned by PG&E. So you are not allowed to drive until the Lighthouse.

You need to park your vehicle in the parking lot, located about 10 minutes from the Lighthouse, and take a docent-led tour from this point.

Alternatively, you can join the hiking clubs, which meet near Avila Bay and will take you through the Pecho Coast Trail. 

It’s about 3.5 miles and takes an hour of trekking along the dramatic coastal terrain, rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and beautiful wildflowers.

Timings: 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM – Only on Wednesdays and Saturdays


Located in the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Point Vicente Lighthouse has guided sailors since 1926 and is one of the most beautiful lighthouses in California.

The Lighthouse is a beautiful white tower that stands at 67 feet atop a rocky cliff overlooking the Pacific. You can see for miles from here in every direction. 

Point Vicente Lighthouse is an actively manned lighthouse operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. 

So it is open to the public only on the second Saturday of every month.

Docent-led tours are available, which will take you through the small museum with exhibits from World War II, and interestingly you will also hear about some ghost stories from the locals.

Stroll on the paved path and take in the incredible sunset vistas. 

The sounds of waves crashing against the rugged coast and the beautiful sunset make this the best Lighthouse in California.

Bring binoculars during whale watching season; you may catch one nearby. If you have spare time, explore the stunning hiking trails around.

Fun Fact: Point Vicente has been featured in many TV series and movies. The location might look familiar to you.

Timings: 10 AM to 3 PM – only on the second Saturday of every month


One of the first lighthouses in California that were automated was the Table Bluff Lighthouse, located in Eureka, Humboldt County.

The 165-foot Table Bluff, also called the Cape Mendocino lighthouse, is one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Northern California, built-in 1892 to guide ships through rip currents of the Pacific.

Table Bluff has been essential as a coastal lookout and a primary radio station during World War II. 

The Lighthouse was deactivated in the early 1970s, and today none of the light station’s historic structures remains on the property.

To view the original two-storey Lighthouse, visit Eureka’s Woodley Island Marina or the old Fresnel lens at the nearby Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum.

Apart from its historical significance, the bluff is also a hotspot for nature lovers. It is home to various flora and fauna, including sea lions, whales, bald eagles, ospreys and pelicans.

Try hiking along the bluffs and explore the nearby beaches and the gorgeous tide pools.

Timings: Open 24 hours


One of the hidden gems on the Central Coast of California is the Walton Lighthouse in Santa Cruz. 

This is one of the latest built lighthouses in California. 

In 1998, the Santa Cruz community proposed replacing the simple pipe structure that held its harbour light with a lighthouse of classic design. 

And in 2022, the Lighthouse was built with the help of donors and others. Walton Lighthouse stands over 41 feet above the west jetty and nearly 60 feet above the mean low water mark. 

Walton Lighthouse was named in honour of Derek Walton, who worked in the merchant mines and was lost in the sea during World War II.

Derek’s brother, Charles Walton, is one of the major donors to this construction.

Walton Lighthouse is not open to the public. But you can walk around the area and explore the harbour.

Unwind on the nearby Twin Lakes State Beach and Seabright State Beach, which offers incredible views of the Walton lighthouse.

Watch out for seals and sea lions lazying around on the shoreline. You might spot various colourful coastal birds.

Timings: 8 AM to 8 PM


One of the exciting lighthouses in California is the Point Fermin Lighthouse, located in the San Pedro Bay.

This square-shaped Lighthouse was built in 1847 in the stick style, which involved numerous wooden decorations in both exteriors and interiors of the building.

On a guided tour, you will learn about the interesting story of Point Fermin Lighthouse.

During the bombing of Pearl Harbour, the Fresnel lens at this Lighthouse was removed to prevent the enemies from taking advantage of its light.

The Lighthouse was almost neglected until 1972, and even the lens was stolen sometime in between. 

Later after decades, it was recovered, and currently, you can see it on display in the Malibu Museum.

The Point Fermin Lighthouse is home to a mini-museum with exhibits displaying the importance of the maritime history of San Pedro.

Point Fermin and the surrounding area are suitable for a perfect family vacation since it sits in a low-lying area, unlike other lighthouses in California.

This beautiful Lighthouse in California was put on charge during World War II to prevent enemy attacks along the Pacific coast and hasn’t been turned on since.

Timings: 1 PM to 4 PM, Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Mondays.


Perched atop a rugged cliff on the westernmost point of the San Diego Peninsula in the Cabrillo National Monument, the old Point Loma Lighthouse is one of the highest elevated lighthouses in California.

Old Point Loma lighthouse was built in 1855 and served for about 36 years. 

But unfortunately, this Lighthouse had to be abandoned since low-lying clouds usually enveloped the tower’s beacon.

In 1891, another lighthouse was built a few meters from the Old Point Loma called the New Point Loma Lighthouse.

The former Lighthouse is now the Old Point Loma Museum, with old beds, furniture and maritime artefacts.

You will get many vantage points from the top and can take pictures through the gate on the ladder at the top.

If you are an avid hiker, there are numerous hiking trails around the area, and I recommend hiking during the early mornings since this is one of the best San Diego Sunrise spots.

Check out the visitor centre, which has interpretive exhibits throughout the area. Well-maintained restrooms are available near the parking.

Driving down towards the western shore of Point Loma, you will encounter several tide pools that may reveal fascinating sea life at low tide.

You need to buy a $20 parking ticket. There are cosy stay options available if you choose to stay overnight.

Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM


If you want to stay in a lighthouse in California, check out the East Brother Light Station, a gorgeous and romantic Victorian B&B in San Rafael Bay.

The Lighthouse was built in 1874 but wasn’t fully operational until 1969. Later, the East Brother Light Station Inc. restored the Lighthouse in the 1980s.

East Brother Light Station is accessible only via a 10-minute boat ride, which departs from the Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor.

So, as a visitor, you will get to arrive in style and stay in one of the cosy rooms of the station, which are decorated in Victorian style that harks back to the station’s early days. 

Enjoy a wide range of activities while you stay at the East Brother Light Station. 

Explore the island’s rocky shoreline, and go hiking on the rustic trails, which offer dazzling views or relax on the sandy shores and soak up the peace and quiet.

In addition to the bed and breakfast, East Brother Light Station is a popular venue for weddings and special events. So, keep this on your list if you plan a destination wedding!

Timings: 8 AM to 11 PM


If you are looking for one of the best lighthouses in California, which is nearer to the Golden Gate Bridge, you should not miss the Fort Point lighthouse.

Fort Point, an old Civil War fort located right under the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, was built in 1864 to protect San Francisco Bay during the Gold Rush to get better sight for tackling the enemy ships at the water level. 

The fort was also one of the key defences for San Francisco until after World War II.

It was decommissioned in 1934 when the finished Golden Gate Bridge blocked its light.

Today the fort is a protected monument among the top Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints.

Take a tour of the museum with fantastic interiors spread across four floors. Admission is free.

They organize seasonal guided tours, so time your visit around it, especially the Fort Point candlelight tours.

To get a beautiful shot under the bridge and the surroundings, head to the rooftop of Fort Point, either in the early morning hours or around the golden hour light.

No matter which time of the year you visit, it’s always very windy here, so bring a warm jacket.

Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM – Friday to Sunday, from October to May


One of the most advanced lighthouses in California is the Anacapa Island Lighthouse, the smallest island in the Channel Islands National Park.

This 55-foot Lighthouse was built in 1932 to protect ships from the Santa Barbara channel currents.

The island is about 1.1 square miles and is home to a wide variety of marine flora and fauna. 

The craggy cliffs, the pelicans and gulls, whales and dolphins, and the towering Lighthouse in the backdrop make it a perfect destination for a weekend vacation.

Hike along the rugged coastline, explore its sea caves and camp overnight to experience the best sunrise and sunsets on these islands.

You need to take a private tour of the Channel Islands via a cruise to have a glimpse of this Lighthouse. 

lighthouses in northern california

Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM

Check out these tours, which cover most of the Channel Islands area.

Sailboat Tour to the Channel Island National Park

Experience one of the best lighthouses in Southern California on this Channel Islands National Park Sailboat tour which will take you through all five remarkable islands. Reserve your seats here.

5 Days Ultimate Channel Islands National Park Expedition

This 5-day exclusive tour will take you through the remote and gorgeous parts of the Channel Islands. 

You can customize the tour per your requirements and will be provided with Kayaks and other equipment. Book your tour here.



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