Point Reyes Lighthouse

A highlight of any visit to Point Reyes National Seashore, on the California coast, thirty miles north of San Francisco, is the Point Reyes Lighthouse.  Growing up, my family would visit here every January to watch the migrating gray whales.  Assuming a clear day, the views from here are incredible!  The lighthouse is located on the tip of the Point Reyes Peninsula, which extends ten miles out from the mainland.  To the north, visitors can enjoy views of the eleven-mile long Great Beach, also known as Point Reyes Beach.  To the south, the steep, craggy cliffs are stunning.  Looking out into vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, you may catch sight of the Farallon Islands.

Getting to the lighthouse is a bit of a trek.  First, the road to the end of the road is narrow, with many curves and potholes.  Next, the walk from the parking lot to the first views of the lighthouse is a relatively easy half mile.  But make note that this area is very exposed, and on a cold, windy, foggy, or rainy day, it can be pretty uncomfortable!  Lastly, to reach the actual lighthouse itself, visitors must walk down 308 steps.  Not a big deal in itself, until you have to walk back up them!  But my five-year-old ran right up without complaint.

Before you visit, make note of the hours it is open to visitors.  The stairs to the lighthouse are open Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays!), 10am-4:30pm.

And consider the weather!  We were lucky during our visit this past week and had some rare summer sunshine, but this is one of the foggiest places on the North American continent.  There is a reason the 1980 movie, The Fog, was filmed here!  It’s also the reason the lighthouse was built here!   The fog is more persistent in the summer months, sometimes lasting for weeks at a time.  A highlight of a visit to the lighthouse is the views up and down the coast, but when fog is present, visibility may be limited to within a few hundred feet.   Wind can be a factor, too.  Due to safety hazards, the park service may close the lighthouse if winds exceed 40 m.p.h.

Interested in the history of the lighthouse?  Here’s a great write-up from the National Park Service… “Lighthouse History at Point Reyes

Photos from our visit this past week…

Interested in going?  If you don’t mind driving, Point Reyes is an easy day trip from the San Francisco Bay Area.  The lighthouse is a two-hour drive from our home in the East Bay.  There are many, many other things to do in Point Reyes in addition to the lighthouse, including lots of great hikes, beaches, a fun visitor center, and a recreated Miwok village (which I’ll write about tomorrow).  For overnight stays, we like to camp at Samuel P. Taylor State Park, located a short distance away, but there are hotels and B&Bs in nearby towns and the larger cities of Marin County.

Visit the NPS website for specific information (directions, things to do, history, etc):  www.nps.gov/pore/index.htm

26 Comments

    1. A Nature Mom says:

      It’s a gorgeous area.

      Like

  1. mmtread says:

    Went to Point Reyes many years ago with a very sexy young lady. I think next time I’m in CA I’ll have to return, now that she’s my wife. Thanks for the memories!

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    1. A Nature Mom says:

      You’re welcome! Another blogger yesterday posted photos of the spot in Big Sur where my husband and I went for our first date. Love it when posts bring back fond memories!

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  2. I love lighthouses, and this is in what I think of as the most beautiful part of our state! I must visit! Debra

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  3. We spent part of our honeymoon here. Thanks for reminding me of what a beautiful place it was. We also lived in the East Bay at the time but have since moved further south.

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    1. A Nature Mom says:

      What a lovely location to honeymoon! As a child, we visited every January for my parent’s anniversary. Fond memories…

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      1. Oh how nice. Lighthouses are amazing and such a relic from a different time. They make me feel both nostalgic and wistful.

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  4. Beautiful… makes me yearn for the west coast all the way over here from the Atlantic! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your day!!!

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    1. A Nature Mom says:

      You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Like

  5. Jody says:

    This is one of our favorite places. How fortunate you are to be able to hop over for the day or weekend!

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    1. A Nature Mom says:

      It’s just far enough away that we don’t go it as often as we’d like, but, yes, we feel fortunate to live so close to such beautiful places!

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  6. Hi!
    This is to let you know that I have nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award and to let you know you are appreciated.

    If you choose to participate, please visit my blog site http://helpwithyourlife.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/the-beautiful-blogger-award/ for award information.

    Blessings and Congratulations!

    Cathie

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    1. A Nature Mom says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  7. Tracy Dodge says:

    I’m taking a photography workshop out at Pt. Reyes next month. Hope the lighthouse is on the itinerary!

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    1. A Nature Mom says:

      If not, there are sooo many great spots to take photos. You’re going to have a great workshop! Wish I could go!

      Like

  8. Planting Potatoes says:

    you always find the best places……thanks for sharing!

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    1. A Nature Mom says:

      You’re welcome!

      Like

  9. Andrew says:

    I love going to Pt. Reyes. I hiked there one August – 3 days in the fog. Didn’t see blue sky the whole time but still we had a great hike there. Sadly it’s just far enough away from my home that I only get there every couple of years.

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    1. A Nature Mom says:

      Great place for backpacking! And, yes, it’s beautiful in the fog as well as the sun.

      Like

  10. Pam says:

    One of our favorite places! We were lucky enough to see it on a super clear day. Love the sea lions below too!

    Like

    1. A Nature Mom says:

      It is absolutely gorgeous on a clear day. It was partly foggy/partly sunny while we were there, but visibility was pretty good (we could see the Farallons). We could hear the sea lions from the lighthouse, but couldn’t see them.

      Like

  11. lifeofministermom says:

    My husband and I spent a day here last year. It was our first time visiting and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Great recommendation. 😉

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    1. A Nature Mom says:

      Great to hear you enjoyed your visit! It’s a lovely spot!

      Like

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