The Lighthouse Road Trip On The Southern California Coast That’s Dreamily Beautiful
There is just something about lighthouses. Maybe it is their immense importance in keeping ships from disaster, or their constancy – their beacons shining for decades. Or maybe it is the image of the life, solitude, and responsibility of a lighthouse keeper. Or perhaps it is simply how dreamy and romantic they seem, with a backdrop of sun, sea, and ocean bluffs. Whatever it is, we think a long day of visiting these awesome, historic lighthouses in Southern California is a perfect little
coastal road trip.
This 156-mile trip begins in San Diego and ends in Los Angeles, visiting some of Southern California’s most historically important lighthouses and a bonus - a waterfront restaurant that also looks like a lighthouse.
You can use this
as a guide and to customize your trip, from adding or removing stops to making the trip in reverse!
1. Old Point Loma Lighthouse, San Diego
The original San Diego lighthouse on San Diego’s Point Loma Peninsula was lit for the first time on the evening of November 15, 1855. Although built at 422 feet above sea level, the low clouds and fog in the area often obscured the light, making it less than helpful to passing ships. The
Old Point Loma Lighthouse
is still intact but no longer operational. It is open to the public as a museum and showcases the life of those who took care of and operated the light in the 1800s.
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, USA
2. New Point Loma Lighthouse, San Diego
In 1891, the light of the old lighthouse was extinguished and the lighthouse keeper moved to the tip of the peninsula, into the New Point Loma Lighthouse which had been built closer to the water. The lighthouse, with its unique pyramidal support structure and central cylinder, is the only one of its kind left on the West Coast.
Cabrillo Road, Cabrillo Rd, San Diego, CA 92106, USA
3. Lighthouse Cafe, Newport Beach
Enjoy the drive along the coast as you head north for a lighthouse-themed lunch. Grab a mid-day meal at
overlooking the bay in Newport Beach. Brunch hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., so whatever time you arrive, you will have an extensive menu to choose from including starters like Cinnamon Sugar Beignets, Lobster Mac, or Mini Ahi Toastadas, followed by mouthwatering options like Steak Chilaquiles, Lighthouse Benedict, Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes, or Lobster Roll.
1600 W Balboa Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663, USA
4. Los Angeles Harbor Light, San Pedro
After lunch, head to Cabrillo Beach to see the Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse, also called Angeles Gate Light. The only lighthouse to be built of steel-reinforced concrete and anchored to a concrete block at the end of the San Pedro Breakwater, it is also the only one in the world to emit an emerald-colored light beam. You will notice black vertical lines on the tower which were painted to increase its visibility during periods of fog. This lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA, USA
5. Point Fermin Lighthouse, San Pedro
Point Fermin Lighthouse
in San Pedro was constructed from California redwood lumber in 1874. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 but fell into disrepair for years. It was eventually restored as a museum and opened to the public. This iconic structure has served as a filming location for several television shows and films.
807 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, CA 90731, USA
6. Point Vicente Lighthouse, Rancho Palos Verdes
The last lighthouse on the list is
Point San Vicente Light
on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The lighthouse is generally closed to the public, however, this stunning tower on the cliff overlooking the ocean is a beautiful sight to see, even from a distance. You can visit the Point Vicente Interpretive Center which houses the original lighthouse lens made of hand-ground prisms and a brass frame. Take a walk along the beach park trail around sunset and watch the light change on the beautiful white light tower.
31501 Palos Verdes Dr W, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, USA
We hope you love lighthouses and the SoCal coast as much as we do! Is this a road trip you would like to take? Do you have a favorite lighthouse in Southern California? Looking for a little more travel inspiration? Check out these
SoCal road trip ideas!
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