California has more than 40 lighthouses along its coastline and many are open to the general public. A small handful of California’s lighthouses along the northern coast offer overnight stay opportunities, similar to a vacation rental or a bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Several of these lighthouse accommodations feature their original decor, antique furniture and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
Point Arena Lighthouse
Point Arena Lighthouse (pointarenalighthouse.com) is about 35 miles south of Mendocino. It offers overnight accommodations in four separate living quarters. The head lighthouse keeper’s quarters are the largest and have a direct view of the lighthouse tower. Other accommodations include the assistant keeper’s quarters, the keeper’s apartment and the keeper’s room. Amenities include wood-burning stoves and complete kitchens; some rentals are pet-friendly. Each vacation rental is within walking distance of the Point Arena Lighthouse, which is open to the public and features its own historical museum.
Point Cabrillo Light Station
Point Cabrillo Light Station (pointcabrillo.org) is just off Highway 1, between the cities of Mendocino and Caspar. The 30-acre property offers three overnight accommodations: the head lighthouse keeper’s house and two cottages. Cottage rentals are actually simple guestrooms with private baths. The head lighthouse keeper’s house features a gourmet kitchen, parlor area and four bedrooms upstairs. Each of the rentals offers views of the lighthouse, ocean and point headlands. Accommodations do not allow pets or smoking and there is no television reception.
East Brother Light Station
East Brother Light Station (ebls.org) is a restored Victorian bed and breakfast in Point Richmond that is accessible only by boat. The lighthouse was active for more than 130 years and the bed and breakfast was first established about 25 years ago. The lighthouse sits on East Brother Island between the San Francisco and San Pablo bays and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the early 1970s. The bed and breakfast features five separate guest rooms. Some have private full and half-baths, while others feature shared bathroom facilities. The Two Sisters guest room features the only fireplace. All room rates include harbor parking fees, the cost of the boat ride to the island, welcome packages of hors d’oeuvres and champagne, a lighthouse tour, a gourmet breakfast and a four-course dinner with wines.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse
Pigeon Point Lighthouse (norcalhostels.org/pigeon) is in Pescadero, approximately 50 miles south of the Bay Area. This lighthouse has been refurbished into an overnight hostel accommodation, offering stays in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters and adjacent guest rooms. There are several common areas for guests, including three self-service kitchens and dining rooms, an outdoor patio, oceanfront boardwalk, an outdoor hot tub, a library and a lounge area for reading or playing board games. All rooms and the hot tub area offer views of the Pacific and tours of the lighthouse are open to guests only.
Point Montara Lighthouse
Point Montara Lighthouse (norcalhostels.org/montara) is another historic lighthouse renovated into a hostel. It is situated in Montara, about 25 miles south of San Francisco, near Half Moon Bay. Guests have the option of staying in shared dorm rooms or private single and family-size rooms. There are two self-service kitchens and dining rooms, a secluded beach and cove area along the ocean, outdoor barbecue areas with picnic tables, and a library and lounge common area. All guest rooms and outdoor common areas feature views the Pacific and Half Moon Bay and lighthouse tours are available to guests only.