After lunch at Cannery Row in Monterey and relaxing at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, we headed to our last destination on our Monterey day trip, the Point Pinos Lighthouse. The last time we visited this lighthouse Natalie was five. Now she’s twelve and the lighthouse has had some improvements made!
About The Point Pinos Lighthouse
We got to The Point Pinos Lighthouse just after 3:00 pm, so we had just enough time to check it out before it closed at 4:00 pm. — Perfect!
Lit February 1, 1855, the Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast and one of six lighthouses along the coast Congress appropriated funds for shortly after California’s statehood was ratified.
More than 40 lighthouses were built along the California coast. The most powerful lights with the greatest range were built on the outer coast, and the smaller lights were built in bays and at the entrance to harbors.
The Pacific Grove lighthouse is a simple, stone, Cape Cod style dwelling located on the northernmost tip of the Peninsula. The building, lenses, and prisms are all original, and it is still an active aid to navigation. Before it was built, this point often confused sailors who mistakenly believed they had reached Monterey Bay.
Open 1:00 to 4:00 pm Thursday through Monday, the lighthouse now has restrooms, a small gift shop, and a walking trail.
Touring Point Pinos Lighthouse
The historic Point Pinos Lighthouse sits in the center of the Pacific Grove Golf Links municipal golf course and it isn’t very big! In just a short amount of time we were able to:
- Tour the lighthouse main floor and kitchen, with historic artifacts, photographs, and furnishings.
- Climb a narrow spiral staircase to the second floor to view the living quarters and operators office, setup and furnished as it was when occupied.
- Check out the basement museum, see how the actual light used in the lighthouse works up close, view maps, photographs, and historic documents, and speak with a docent to learn more about the local lighthouses.
We were also able to climb a second spiral staircase to the third floor area and peek at the lighthouse light atop the building through a glass panel, which we didn’t get to do last time we visited.
Point Pinos in Pacific Grove
When driving down Ocean View Boulevard and looking at the gorgeous Pacific coastline, it’s easy to miss Point Pinos. There isn’t a wide beach here like in Asilomar, but there are a few sandy spots on each side of the point that are fantastic for tidepooling if you’re there at the right time of day. Unfortunately we were there at high tide and a storm was rolling in, so navigating the rocks and scouting for sea creatures wasn’t an option for us.
In fact, just as we finished our lighthouse tour and got back in the car, it started to rain, and by the time we reached the freeway, it was pouring like crazy! Clearly out outdoor adventuring for the day was over, so I found us a movie theater in Hollister and we wrapped up the day seeing Zootopia!
If you’re visiting Monterey, Carmel, or Big Sur and looking for something fun to do that doesn’t require a big commitment, I definitely recommend you check out the historic Point Pinos Lighthouse for a glimpse into history.