Point Sur Light Station
Sitting lonely and isolated out on its cliff, the Point Sur Light Station (Hwy. 1, 0.25 mile north of Point Sur Naval Facility, 831/625-4419, tours year-round Sat.–Sun. 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., plus Apr.–Oct. Wed. 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., July–Aug. Thurs. 10 a.m., adults $8, children $4) keeps watch over ships navigating near the rocky waters of Big Sur. It’s the only complete 19th-century light station in California that you can visit, and even here access is severely limited.
First lit in 1889, this now fully automated light station still provides navigational aid to ships off the coast; families stopped living and working in the tiny stone-built compound in 1974.
But is the lighthouse truly uninhabited? Take one of the moonlight tours (call for information) to learn about the haunted history of the light station buildings.
You can’t make a reservation for a Point Sur tour, so you should just show up and park your car off Highway 1 on the west side by the farm gate. Your guide will meet you there and lead you up the paved road 0.5 mile to the light station. Once there, you’ll climb the stairs up to the light, explore the restored keepers’ homes and service buildings, and walk out to the cliff edge.
Expect to see a great variety of wildlife, from brilliant wildflowers in the spring to gray whales in the winter to flocks of pelicans flying in formation at any time of year.
Be sure to dress in layers; it can be sunny and hot or foggy and cold, winter or summertime, and sometimes both on the same tour! Tours last three hours and require more than a mile of walking, with a bit of slope and more than 100 stairs.
The farm gate is locked and there’s no access to the light station without a tour group. Tour schedules can vary from year to year and season to season; it’s a good idea to call ahead before showing up. If you need special assistance for your tour or have questions about accessibility, call 831/667-0528 as far in advance as possible of your visit to make arrangements.
No strollers, food, pets, or smoking are allowed on light station property.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition