Spot sea life and admire the breathtaking coastal scenery of the Big Sur region from the top of this 19th-century lighthouse.
Point Sur Lighthouse is a destination for maritime history enthusiasts as well as those who enjoy spotting varied wildlife and appreciating spectacular natural scenery. This is one of the only complete 19th-century lighthouses in California that is open for public visits. Climb to the top of Point Sur Lighthouse for impressive views, visit the keeper’s quarters and learn about its history and legends.
Inaugurated in 1889, the lighthouse has since been guiding seafarers on a treacherous route along the Pacific Ocean. Gaze at the tall structure atop a 360-foot-tall (110-meter) rock on a headland in Point Sur State Historic Park. Families lived in the lighthouse until 1974, after which it became automated. Despite warnings from the beacon, several ships have run aground along this rocky coastline.
Join a volunteer-led tour of the lighthouse, which starts with an uphill walk along a paved road to the headland. Hear stories about the isolated lifestyle of the families who lived here and peek inside their lodgings. Find out about the shipwrecks and the factors that caused the ships to lose control. Listen to tales of the shipwrecked sailors who reputedly now haunt the lighthouse.
Climb the two staircases to reach the light room and observation deck. Marvel at the panoramic views of the craggy Pacific Ocean shoreline and the Santa Lucia Mountains. Spot gray whales on their migration route between December and April. Glimpse condors, eagles, pelicans and peregrine falcons. Watch as powerful waves break on the rocks and nearby beach.
The lighthouse is about a 15-minute drive north of Big Sur Village and a 50-minute drive from the city of Monterey. Use free parking at the base of the headland.
Tours of Point Sur Lighthouse take place year-round on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and charge an admission fee. Moonlit tours are offered on select evenings from April to September. Visit the lighthouse’s official website for more information. Weather conditions here are variable so bring warm clothing.