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“Finally Saw It After 13 Years”

Point Sur State Historic Park
Ranked #1 of 33 things to do in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: This historic lighthouse located around Point Sur is now a state park.
Reviewed 5 September 2016

We have visited the USA about 13 years in a row and visited this area many times, but we always missed the Point Sur Lighthouse tour due to timing and the tour dates/hours. We have been to almost every other lighthouse on the California coast and a few on the East Coast. This was the best for sure because it is so remote. Tours are only available a few times a week and it alters by season. I highly recommend you plan ahead for this and check out their website. They also have moonlight tours. I recommend staying in Carmel-by-the-Sea - it is gorgeous and an approximate 40 minute drive to Pt Sur Lighthouse. Arrive early and wait at the gate in your car. We were second in line and it soon lined up with cars. Don't miss your timeslot, it is a great experience. The Ranger will come to the gate and instruct you where to drive to the base of the lighthouse. There is free parking there. You will then follow him on foot (no cars) up a steep road to the lighthouse. The walk is slow and they stop along the way to explain things, so don't feel put off by this. If you need to rest, you can. Contact them if you have a disability. I feel you could navigate this incline on a mobility scooter, but I am not sure of their rules or what they have in place to assist. Elevation 360 feet and two stairways - one of them being 61 steps. Once you drive in, you are committed to a 3 hour tour, no turning back. The tour guides stop along the way to give you a rest and explain certain aspects and by stopping, you get to enjoy the incredible ocean views. Take bottled water and layers of clothing, hat and sunglasses no matter what the temperature is and travel light. Leave everything in the car, it is totally safe. Just take your camera. We struck an unusually hot Fall day, but don't be fooled. The weather can change quickly and you are right out at the coast. You are not able to return to your car to get a jacket. The tour is very informative and you have plenty of time to take photos. They take you up into the lighthouse which is just wonderful after seeing it from the road so many times. One of my photos of the lighthouse has a couple in it - I so wish I realised so I could send them this photo. So, if you visited the lighthouse on October 14, 2015 or know of a couple who did (mid 30s?) this is them. I have this photo on my cellphone homepage. There were a couple of young children on our tour and they were given the job of keeping count of people at certain intervals. At the end, they were rewarded with a fridge magnet souvenir. What offended us was, the tour guide found out earlier that we had travelled the furtherest (New Zealand) and that would usually win you a souvenir, but he said "because they have been here before, they don't get one". How rude! We have never been to this lighthouse, only to California and seen the lighthouse from the road. He was better to say nothing at all - very offensive and ruined our wonderful experience. All that over a fridge magnet.

5  Thank CCandWH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (158)
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"lighthouse tour"
in 12 reviews
"light station"
in 7 reviews
"light house"
in 7 reviews
"top of the rock"
in 5 reviews
"hour tour"
in 9 reviews
"volunteer guides"
in 4 reviews
"sea lions"
in 7 reviews
"three hours"
in 4 reviews
"tour takes"
in 3 reviews
"spit of land"
in 2 reviews
"great family adventure"
in 2 reviews
"fresnel lens"
in 2 reviews
"steep road"
in 3 reviews
"wonderful tour"
in 3 reviews
"hot cocoa"
in 2 reviews
"wear good walking shoes"
in 2 reviews
"gift store"
in 2 reviews
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33 - 37 of 158 reviews

Reviewed 24 July 2016

We took the tour on a Sunday in April and it was cool and cloudy when we arrived. During the tour, it warmed and cleared up, and we had really beautiful views in all directions. The wildflowers were blooming. The history is interesting, the restoration of the keeper's quarters is meticulous, the location is stunning, and the tour guides were really knowledgeable. We also saw whales migrating! Highly recommend!

Thank hopes702
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2016

What a great hike and history lesson about the Pt. Sur Lighthouse. Kevin and Eleanor were the guides for the day - we had Kevin. He was entertaining and full of knowledge!
The views from the path leading to the lighthouse were breathtaking. We enjoyed getting to the top and chatting with the docents, as people drank hot cocoa and shopped for souvenirs - all proceeds going to the upkeep of the lighthouse. I was told it is the only U.S. lighthouse completely run by volunteers. They were amazing! Bring a jacket, as it can get pretty cold at the top, and make sure to use the bathroom at the base camp (before hiking to the top). There is a bathroom at the top, as well. Be sure to get to the gate 30 minutes early, so you will be able to enter. Park along side the gate on Hwy 1 and when the docents arrive, they will escort you through the gate to the inside parking area. There were young adults, adults, and fit seniors on the hike. I would not recommend the trip for under 8 yrs. old, unless they are very focused and enjoy walking - a lot! :) Take pictures! ($12 for adults)

2  Thank Elly A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2016 via mobile

Lighthouse tour was really nice. Views from on top of the mountain are breath taking!! Check their website for times and guidelines. During summertime, recommend arriving 45 minutes early to avoid being cut off from the tour capacity limitation.
Paranormal activity abounds there so say the docents who volunteer to lead tours there!!

Thank Attraversiamo2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 July 2016

The lighthouse at Point Sur State Historic Park is well worth the walk. The volunteers who coordinate the tour have limited resources, so plan ahead and check tour times, so you are not disappointed, should you miss a tour.

Thank gadgetguy11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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