Lighthouses of the United States: Southern California
Formerly a Mexican territory, California became part
of the U.S. after the Mexican War of 1848. The famous Gold Rush began in 1849 and the first lighthouses were built a few years
later. These early lights, like the Old Point Loma Light shown
below, were built in what was then a typical New England style.
Ironically there are no examples of this style surviving in New
England, so the only place to see these traditional New England lighthouses
is on the Pacific coast.
This page includes the lighthouses of the Southern California
coast from the Mexican border north through San Luis Obispo County. Lighthouses of
Northern California are on a separate page.
Interest in lighthouses is certainly high in California and
new lighthouses have been built recently in Santa Cruz and Long Beach. Local governments and preservation groups have worked to save nearly all the major lighthouses.
Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. Aids to navigation in Southern California are maintained by the Eleventh Coast Guard District, which has Aids to Navigation Teams based at San Diego and Long Beach.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty
numbers are from volume G of the Admiralty List of Lights &
Fog Signals. USCG numbers are from Vol. VI of the USCG Light
- General Sources
- An excellent site by Kraig Anderson, with information and photos on
each of the light stations.
- Online List of
Lights - California
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
- Fine photos of 33 sites by Robert English.
- A site by Ed Litfin, with very fine photos, maps, and visitor information.
- Collection of photos by Bryan Penberthy and Michael Jackman.
- California, United States Lighthouses
- Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
- World of Lighthouses - California and Hawaii
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
- Lighthouses in California
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
USA auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
- NOAA Nautical Chart On-Line Viewer: Pacific Coast
- Nautical charts for the coast can be viewed online.
- U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center: Light Lists
- The USCG Light List can be downloaded in pdf format.
- USLHS - Light Lists
- Data from historic light lists collected and posted by the U.S. Lighthouse Society.
Point Vicente Light, Palos Verde, June 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Dhrupad Bezboruah
New Point Loma Light, San Diego, March 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Erin and Lance Willett
- San Diego County Lighthouses
- * Harbor
Island (Tom Ham's Lighthouse)
- 1971. Active; focal plane 56 ft (17 m); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 50
ft (15 m) octagonal light tower with lantern and gallery rising from a 2-story
restaurant building. Sarah Biggart has a 2009 closeup photo,
Trabas has Douglas Cameron's photo,
and Google has a street view and a good satellite
view. The restaurant was renovated and restored in 2013. Located at the west end of Harbor Island in downtown San Diego.
Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1439; Admiralty G3702; USCG 6-1700.
- * San Diego Entrance Range Rear (Shelter
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 ft (17 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s
off. Approx. 50 ft (15 m) square skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular
slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Douglas
and Google has a street view and a satellite
view. The front light is on tripod pilings. Located at the western end of Shelter Island on the north side of
San Diego Bay. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS USA-1440; Admiralty G3679.1; USCG 6-1505.
- Point Loma
(2) (New Point Loma)
- 1891. Active; focal plane 88 ft; white flash every 15 s. 70 ft (21 m) square
pyramidal skeletal tower with central
cylinder. Tower painted white, lantern and watch room black. Two 2-story
wood Spanish revival keeper's houses, white with red roofs, are used as
Coast Guard housing. The original 3rd order Fresnel lens, removed in 2002,
is on display at the Old Point Loma Light keeper's quarters (next entry).
Fog horn (blast every 30 s when needed) at base of the tower. Erin and Lance Willett's photo is at the top of this page, English has
a good closeup
photo, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a satellite
view. Google's 2019 street view shows the lighthouse under restoration, surrounded by scaffolding. The only surviving tower of its type on the Pacific Coast,
this lighthouse is a sibling of the Coney Island Light in New York.
In 2001 the Coast Guard had a engineering firm studying the condition
and future of the lighthouse. A new LED lamp was installed in February 2013. A restoration of the lighthouse began in September 2017 and was scheduled for six months, but crews quickly found the condition of the lighthouse but be much worse than expected. In fact the project lasted until March 2020, cost $2.1 million, and included replacement of the lantern with a historically accurate replica. Located at the southernmost tip of Point
Loma, marking the entrance to San Diego's harbor. Site and tower closed,
but the lighthouse can be viewed from the parking area at Cabrillo
National Monument. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS
USA-626; Admiralty G3676; USCG 6-0005.
- **** Point Loma (1) (Old Point Loma)
- 1855. Inactive since 1891 (lit decoratively; the light source is
offset from the center of the lens so the light is of no navigational
value). Charted as a landmark. 46 ft (14 m) round cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery rising from the roof
of 1-1/2 story sandstone keeper's house. Tower and house painted white, lantern black, lantern dome red. The 3rd order Fresnel
lens from the Miles Rocks Light, San Francisco, is mounted
in the tower. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. A photo
is at right, Lighthouse Digest has Gene Wild's July 2005 article
on the history of the lighthouse, Anderson has a great page,
Mike Nelson has posted a virtual
tour, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a closeup street view and a satellite
view. This lighthouse had a focal plane of 462 ft (141 m),
but this proved to be too high: the light was often obscured
by low clouds or fog. The lighthouse was ordered demolished in 1913; it was saved by the decision to make the area a national monument. In June 2003 the lighthouse was closed
for six months while the station was restored to its 1880s appearance.
The assistant keeper's house was reconstructed to serve as a
visitor center and museum; the 3rd order Fresnel
lens from the 1891 lighthouse and the 4th order Fresnel
lens from the Ballast Point lighthouse are on display.
There was another restoration in 2018-19; the lantern dome was repainted its original color of red. Located at the end of CA 209 on Point Loma, at the western
end of San Diego. Site open, lighthouse and tower open daily except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Owner: U.S.
National Park Service. Site manager: Cabrillo
National Monument. ARLHS USA-627.
Old Point Loma Light, San Diego, July 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Loco Steve
- * [Ballast Point (1) (lantern)]
- 1890. Inactive since 1959. Lantern painted white with a red roof. A photo is available, Anderson has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The 4th
order lens from this lighthouse is displayed at Old Point Loma Light (see above). The Ballast Point lighthouse was a sibling of the San Luis Obispo lighthouse (see below). The San Diego History Center has a memoir of life at the station by Norma Engel, daughter of longtime keeper Herman Engel. The historic lighthouse was demolished in 1959 and the light was transferred to the fog bell tower (next entry). The lantern somehow came into private hands. In 1961 the fog bell tower was deactivated and the active light (focal plane 16 ft (5 m); white flash every 4 s) was moved to a small platform offshore (Google has a satellite view). In 1998 Rod Cardoza, co-owner of the West Sea Company, a nautical antiques dealer, purchased the lantern and had it placed on the sidewalk outside the shop at 2495 Congress Street in Old Town San Diego. Site open. Historic lighthouse: ARLHS USA-033. Active light: Admiralty G3680; USCG 6-1570.
- Ballast Point (2)
- 1890 (not lit until 1959). Inactive since 1961. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square wood tower with gallery. A YouTube slideshow has photos of the tower and historical information, Anderson has a photo and a historic postcard view, a historic photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The fog bell tower was sold or given to Monroe Platt of Lakeside and the bell wound up in private hands in La Mesa. In 1989 the bell was donated to the Maritime Museum of San Diego, where it is on display. In 2011 Platt's daughter Judy Bowen announced that she was interested in donating the fog bell tower for preservation on a new location. Nothing came of this offer. Located behind a private residence at 10611 Palm Row Drive in Lakeside. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: private.
- Mission Bay (North Jetty)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 ft (13 m); green flash every 6 s. 39 ft (12 m) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a square green daymark. Fog horn (on demand: two blasts every 20 s). Andrew Kerr has a distant street view and Google has a satellite view. Mission Bay is a protected lagoon on the north side of the mouth of the San Diego River. Located at the end of the north breakwater at the Mission Bay entrance. Accessible only by boat (the breakwater is not walkable). Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G3718.2; USCG 6-0030.
- Camp Pendleton South
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 53 ft (16 m); white flash every 4 s. Approx.
50 ft (15 m) square cylindrical unpainted concrete control tower. No photo available but Google has a good satellite view. This is the control tower for the U.S. Navy's West Coast LCAC Base
(an LCAC - landing craft-air cushion - is a hovercraft used in amphibious assaults).
Located just off the beach at the LCAC launching ramp about 8 mi (13 km) northwest
of Oceanside. Site and tower closed; there may be a view from the San Diego
Freeway (I-5). Owner: U.S. Navy. Site manager: Marine
Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Admiralty G3732; USCG 6-0050.
Orange County Lighthouses
- Note: There was a long-running effort to build a new lighthouse at Dana Point, supported by the Dana Point Historical Society. Lighthouse Digest has Jeremy D'Entremont's 2002 account of these efforts. After years of negotiation this movement seems to have been abandoned.
- [Dana Point Breakwater]
- date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 ft (10 m); green flash every 4 s. 23 ft (7 m) post on a concrete base. Fog horn on demand (blast every 10 s). Trabas has a distant view by Günther Hess, Chip Lawton has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Dana Point Harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G3734; USCG 6-2395.
- Anaheim Bay Range Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 56 ft (17 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 52 ft (16 m) square skeletal tower carrying a rectangular daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the south side of the Pacific Coast Highway (CA 1) in Seal Beach. Site and tower closed (military reservation). Site and tower closed but easy to see from the CA 1 freeway. Site manager: U.S. Navy (Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach). Admiralty G3878.1; USCG 6-2785.
Los Angeles County Lighthouses
- * Parker's
- 1982. Active (?) (privately maintained); focal plane 71 ft (21.5 m); white
flash every 10 s. Lantern centered at the peak of the roof on a round 2-1/2
story restaurant. The architects of the building have a portfolio of photos. Robert Lazo has a closeup photo,
Randy Miller has a street view, and Google has a satellite
view. The building was renovated in 1998-99. The light was dropped
from the U.S. Coast Guard Light List in 2009, so it is either inactive or
no longer official. In Victor Pan's 2017 photo a lens can be seen in the lantern. Located in Shoreline Village on the east side of the
small boat basin, opposite the Long Beach Lions Light. Site and lighthouse
open daily. Owner: Select
Restaurants. Operator/site manager: Parker's Lighthouse. ARLHS USA-1238; ex-USCG 6-2925.
- * Long
Beach Lions (Lions Lighthouse for Sight, Rainbow Lighthouse)
- 2000. Active (privately maintained and unofficial); focal plane 105 ft (32
m); continuous white light. 65 ft (20 m) steel tower with harbor master's office in the base. Lighthouse
painted white, gallery black, lantern red. Dana Robinson's photo is at right, another good photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, and Google has a street view and a good satellite view. 40% of the funding for the lighthouse was raised by the Long Beach
Downtown Lions Club, and the lighthouse is known as the Lions Lighthouse for
Sight. The lighthouse was dedicated on 10 December 2000. Located just to the
east of the Aquarium of the Pacific on the north side of the entrance to Long Beach harbor and the west side of
the small boat basin. Owner/operator/site manager: City
of Long Beach.
- * Catalina Landing East
- Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 31 ft (9.5 m); red flash every 6 s. Light mounted atop a round harbor office building. Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the east side of the entrance to the terminal for fast ferries to Santa Catalina Island, just west of the Queensway Bridge. Site open, tower closed. Owner/operator/site manager: Catalina Express. Admiralty G3870; USCG 6-2960.
Long Beach Lions Light, Long Beach, September 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Dana Robinson
- Pier J South Range Front
- Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 64 ft (19.5 m); continuous green light. Light mounted atop a waterfront office building. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels entering the Pier J container terminal, at the south end of the Long Beach commercial harbor. Located on the pier. Site and tower closed. Owner/operator/site manager: Cosco Container Lines Americas. Admiralty G3842.5; USCG 6-3009.1.
- Pier J South Range Rear
- Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 80 ft (24 m); continuous green light. 74 ft (22.5 m) triangular cylindrical skeletal tower. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Located at the base of Pier J. Site and tower closed. Owner/operator/site manager: Cosco Container Lines Americas. Admiralty G3842.51; USCG 6-3009.2.
- Long Beach Back Channel South Sector Light
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 120 ft (36.5 m); red, green or white lights, in various combinations. Approx. 112 ft (34 m) triangular skeletal tower. Google has a street view and a satellite view. These lights guide vessels leaving the port. Located next to the main street of Pier F. Site and tower closed. Admiralty G3855; USCG 6-3050.
- Long Beach Back Channel North Sector Light
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 105 ft (32 m); red, green or white lights, in various combinations. Approx. 112 ft (34 m) triangular skeletal tower. Google has a street view and a satellite view. These lights guide vessels arriving in the port. Located next to Carrack Avenue, the main street of Pier F. Site and tower closed. Admiralty G3864; USCG 6-3055.
Beach (2) (Robot Light)
- 1949. Active; focal plane 50 ft (15 m); white flash every 5 s. 42
ft (13 m) rectangular cylindrical concrete tower mounted on six cylindrical
piles. Continuously operating fog horn (blast every 30 s). English has a good photo,
Karl Agre has a photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo,
and Google has a satellite view. This light replaced a square pyramidal skeletal tower of uncertain date. The skeletal tower was moved across the harbor entrance to the west end of the Long Beach Breakwater, but it has been replaced there by a light on a post. Located on the east end of the San Pedro
Middle Breakwater east of the Los Angeles Harbor Light and at the entrance
to Long Beach Harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed.
Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-447; Admiralty G3840;
USCG 6-0125 (also 6-3012).
Angeles Harbor (San Pedro Harbor; Angel's Gate)
- 1913. Active; focal plane 73 ft (22 m); green flash every 15 s. 69
ft (21 m) cylindrical steel and concrete tower rising from an octagonal
concrete base, all on a concrete crib; DCB-24 aerobeacon. Lighthouse
painted white with narrow vertical black stripes, lantern and gallery
black; concrete base is white. Continuously operating fog horn (2 blasts
every 30 s). The original 4th order clamshell
Fresnel lens is on display at the Los
Angeles Maritime Museum in San Pedro. A photo is at right, a 2010 photo is available, Shawn Wilson has a 2007 photo, English has a photo,
the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, Huelse has a historic postcard
view, and Google has a satellite
view. This is the only surviving lighthouse of its type. In 2008
members of the Cabrillo
Beach Boosters launched
an effort to secure grant funds to restore the lighthouse. In May 2010
they hit the jackpot: the Los Angeles Harbor Commission allocated $1.8
million for the restoration. The restoration project began in October 2011 and was completed in May 2012 (the photo at right shows the results).
The Boosters hoped to open the lighthouse for tours in 2019 but this has not occurred. Located at the end of the San Pedro Harbor breakwater about 1/2 mile
(800 m) east of Point Fermin. Accessible only by boat. Ferries to Santa
Catalina pass the lighthouse while departing San Pedro. Site and tower
closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-014; Admiralty
G3799; USCG 6-0135 (also 6-3110).
Angel's Gate Light, Los Angeles, January 2015
Flickr public domain photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- **** Point
- 1874 (Paul J. Pelz). Inactive since 1942. 30 ft (9 m) square cylindrical wood tower
rising from 2-story wood Italianate Victorian keeper's house. The active
light (focal plane 120 ft (36.5 m); white flash every 10 s) is
mounted on a short pole. This lighthouse is a sibling of the East
Brother Island Light (see Northern California) and the Hereford Inlet Light in New Jersey.
The original lantern was removed in 1942 but a wood replica lantern
was installed in 1974. In December 2006 Malibu realtor Louis T. Busch donated
the original 4th order Fresnel lens to the society for display at
the lighthouse. Building painted white with gray trim; lantern and
gallery black. Tony Hoffarth's photo is at right, Lighthouse Digest
has a July 2006 article
on the lighthouse, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, Michael Tuttle has a street view, and Google has a satellite
view. Saved from demolition in 1972 and refurbished in 1972-74
by local preservationists, the lighthouse was then used for many years
as the park superintendent's residence. In 2002 a $2.6 million project
accomplished a complete restoration of the lighthouse. A chapter
of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, the Point
Fermin Lighthouse Society, supports the lighthouse and has opened
it to visitors. In 2012 the lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA. The City of Los Angeles and three nonprofit organizations applied for ownership and in January 2015 ownership was awarded to the city. After various delays ownership was tranferred formally in December 2018. Located on Paseo del Mar at the foot of Gaffey Street
in San Pedro. Site open, lighthouse and tower open in the afternoon every day except Mondays, certain major holidays, and when there are special events in the park.
Owner: City of Los Angeles. Site manager: Department of Recreation and Parks (Point Fermin Park).
ARLHS USA-621; Admiralty G3794; USCG 6-0140.
Point Fermin Light, San Pedro, October 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Tony Hoffarth
- ** Point
- 1926. Active; focal plane 185 ft (56 m); 2 white flashes every
20 s, separated by 5 s. 67 ft (20 m) cylindrical reinforced concrete
tower, painted white. The original Barbier, Bernard and Turenne 3rd
lens (1886) is on display at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center near the lighthouse. The 2-story concrete Spanish revival keeper's house houses a small museum; additional
buildings are used as Coast Guard housing. This is a very well preserved light station; members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer to maintain it. Dhrupad Bezboruah's
photo is at the top of this page, Steven Truong has a 2009 closeup,
Yauheni Chudzilouski has a photo of the station, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, Danny Valadez has a street view, and Google has a satellite
view. The site is popular for whale watching. Located
on a cliff overlooking the Pacific on Palos Verdes Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes. Site and museum open on the second
Saturday of each month. Tower closed. The lighthouse
can be viewed any time from nearby. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard (Point Vicente Lighthouse).
ARLHS USA-640; Admiralty G3886; USCG 6-0170.
Ventura County Lighthouses
- * Anacapa
- 1932 (station established 1912). Active; focal plane 277 ft (84.5 m); 2
white flashes every 60 s, separated by 15 s. 55 ft (17 m) cylindrical reinforced
concrete tower. Fog horn (blast every 15 s) operates continuously. The
original 3rd order Fresnel
lens is on display at the East Anacapa Visitor Center, housed in one
of the light station's service buildings. This lighthouse is a shorter
sibling of Point Vicente Light (previous entry). 1-story Spanish revival keeper's
house (1932), assistant keeper's house, and fog
signal building. Stephen Conn's photo is at right, James Harrell has posted a virtual
tour of the island including the lighthouse, Lighthouse Digest has an article by former crew member James W. Baker, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the eastern tip of the island about 15 miles (25 km) south southwest of Ventura. Anacapa is accessible
by passenger ferry from Ventura.
Site open, tower closed (visitors are not allowed near the lighthouse because
of the continuously sounding fog signal). Owner: U.S. National Park Service.
Site manager: Channel Islands National
Park. ARLHS USA-012; Admiralty G3940; USCG 6-0185.
Anacapa Island Light, Channel Islands National Park, August 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by J. Stephen Conn
- ** Point
Hueneme (Port Hueneme) (2)
- 1941 (station established 1874). Active; focal plane 52 ft (16
m); white flash every 5 s, except every sixth flash omitted. 48
ft (15 m) square cylindrical art moderne concrete tower mounted
on concrete fog signal building. Building is unpainted white concrete;
lantern and window woods are painted bright red. The historic 4th
lens (1899, transferred from the earlier tower) was removed in late 2013 or early 2014 and is now displayed on the first floor of the building.
Fog horn (blast every 30 s) activated on radio request. Rennett
Stowe's photo is at right, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, English has a photo,
Brianna Driscoll has a 2017 closeup, and Google has a good satellite
view. The name Hueneme is pronounced "Why-nee-mee". The earlier
lighthouse (1874) was a copy of Point Fermin Light (see
above); the Coast Guard has a historic photo and Huelse has a historic postcard
view. The present lighthouse was restored by the Coast Guard in
1999. In July 2002 volunteers from the Coast Guard Auxiliary
began offering tours. In November 2012 the Coast Guard and the Port Hueneme Cultural Heritage Board reached agreement on a plan to replace the Fresnel lens with a modern LED light; the lens was restored for display. Located in a city equipment yard on
the east side of the harbor entrance at
Port Hueneme about 5
miles (8 km) south of Oxnard. The area is accessible by a walking path
from the Hueneme fishing pier parking area at Surfside Drive and Ventura Road; the walk to the lighthouse is about
1 mi (1.6 km) round trip. Site open, lighthouse and tower open for tours from 10 am to 3 pm on the
third Saturday of every month. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard (Point Hueneme Lighthouse).
ARLHS USA-623; Admiralty G3926; USCG 6-0190.
Santa Barbara County Lighthouses
- Santa Rosa Island South Point
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 530 ft (162 m); white flash every 6 s. Light mounted on a 1-story white equipment shelter. No photo available but Google has a satellite view. Santa Rosa is the second largest of the Channel Islands. Located on a ridge at the south point of the island. Site status unknown. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: U.S. National Park Service (Channel Islands National Park). Admiralty G3948; USCG 6-2755.
Point Hueneme Light, Oxnard, May 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Rennett Stowe
- 1935 (station established 1856). Active; focal plane 142 ft (43
m); white flash every 10 s. 24 ft (7 m) square pyramidal white concrete tower without
lantern. The aerobeacon lens used here from 1935 to 1977 is on display at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes (see above).
Matthew Cohen has a closeup photo, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, and Google has a satellite
view. The Coast Guard has a photo of the original lighthouse, similar in design to the Old Point Loma Light; it
was demolished after being heavily damaged in the earthquake of 29 June
1929. The modern light stands on the original site, adjacent to La
Mesa Park. Located on Meigs Drive two blocks south of CA 225 in Santa
Barbara. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-736; Admiralty
G3952; USCG 6-0195.
- 1882 (station established 1856). Active; focal plane 133 ft (40.5
m); white flash every 30 s. 52 ft (16 m) stucco-clad brick tower attached
to a 1-story brick fog signal building. Building painted white; roofs red. Fog horn
(blast every 30 s). 1-story Spanish style stucco keeper's house (1911),
oil house (1907), and modern buildings. A view from the sea
is at right, Evan Rapoport has a November 2017 photo, a 2018 photo is available, the Shanklins report on a rare visit to
this lighthouse, Lighthouse Digest has Richard Clayton's 2000 article with
excellent photos, and Google has a satellite view. One of the earliest California light stations. The original 1st order Fresnel lens (1856, transferred from the earlier tower) was removed in June 2013; after restoration it was placed on display at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. In December 2017 the Nature Conservancy paid $165 million to purchase the 24,364 acre Cojo Jalama Ranches surrounding the light station. Located on
the point marking the western entrance to the Santa Barbara Channel
about 15 miles (25 km) south of Lompoc, surrounded by the Conservancy's new Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast
Guard. ARLHS USA-620; Admiralty G3964; USCG 6-0200.
- 1967 (station established 1901). Active; focal plane 100 ft (30.5
m); white flash every 15 s. 20 ft (6 m) post with gallery but no lantern;
has a satellite
view. The NOAA National Data Buoy Center operates an automated weather
station on the site. The original lighthouse had a square cylindrical tower attached to a 1-story
keeper's house. It lasted only a decade. In 1911 it was replaced by a detached square tower. It was then replaced in 1934 by a square pyramidal skeletal tower, which was in turn replaced by the present post light. Located
on the point, a very sharp promontory just off the coast road. Site and tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager:
U.S. Air Force (Vandenberg
Air Force Base). ARLHS USA-612; Admiralty G3968; USCG 6-0210.
Point Conception Light, Lompoc, March 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by dirtsailor2003
San Luis Obispo County Lighthouses
- ** San Luis Obispo (Port Harford, Point San Luis)
- 1890. Inactive since 1975. 40 ft (12 m) square cylindrical wood
tower attached to a 2-story Victorian wood keeper's house. The original
4th order Fresnel lens is on display at the San Luis Obispo County
Library. Original wood fog signal building, oil house, and other
light station buildings. The original keeper's house was replaced
with a modern house in 1961. The active light is a pole light (focal
plane 116 ft (35 m); white flash every 5 s, day and night). A 2008
photo appears at right, Anderson also has a nice page
on the lighthouse, Marinas.com has aerial
photos, Joel Atwater has a street view, and Google has a satellite
view. Ownership of the station was transferred to the Port
San Luis Harbor District in 1992. The Point San Luis Lighthouse
Keepers was formed to work for restoration of the light station.
In 2003 all the structures were painted and parts of the lighthouse
were restored and furnished with period antiques. In January 2006
Pacific Gas and Electric, which controls access, signed an agreement
to provide $1.5 million to make the light station more accessible,
including funds for a shuttle service to the site. The 1960s-era assistant keepers house was renovated as a maritime museum and a trolley was acquired to serve as the shuttle.
In early 2012 the Lighthouse Keepers office moved to the newly-restored duplex assistant keeper's house. In 2015 a new boardwalk was installed to allow handicapped access to the keeper's house. Located on
the western side of Point San Luis about 3 miles (5 km) southwest
of Avila Beach, surrounded by Pacific Gas and Electric's Diablo
Canyon nuclear power plant reservation. Accessible by the Pecho
Coast hiking trail, which is open only to group hikes led by PG&E
docents. The site is open to guided tours only, tower closed. Tours are available every Wednesday and Saturday, year round; reservations required. Access is by the trolley or by docent-led hikes from Avila Harbor on the Pecho Coast Trail. Owner: Port
San Luis Harbor District; Site
manager: Port San Luis Lighthouse . ARLHS USA-720; Admiralty G3972; USCG 6-0225.
San Luis Obispo Light, March 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by somebodysmom
- ** Piedras
- 1879. Active; focal plane 142 ft (43 m); white flash every 10 s. 74 ft
(22.5 m) brick tower (originally 115 ft (35 m)), painted white; rotating
VRB-25 lens (2002). The lantern and the top of the tower were removed after
being damaged by an earthquake on New Years Eve 1948 and a storm in 1949; the light is displayed from the top of
the capped tower. The original 1st order Fresnel
lens was restored by the Lions Club of Cambria; since 1996 it has been
displayed on Main Street across from the public library in Cambria by the Friends
of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. The historic principal keeper's
house (1906) was relocated in 1960 to 270 Chatham Street in Cambria; formerly used as a private residence, it has been renovated and is now available for overnight accommodations.
The brick fog signal building (1906), oil house, and several modern light
station buildings remain near the lighthouse. A U.S. Geological Survey biological
research station and a sanctuary for elephant seals are located adjacent to the lighthouse. Anita Ritenour's
photo at right, Anderson has an excellent page for the lighthouse, English has a closeup photo,
Marinas.com has aerial photos,
Jake Schmit has a street view, and Google has a satellite
view. Lighthouse Digest has Carole Adams's article on the history of the
lighthouse, the Coast
Guard has a historic photo showing the original tower, and Huelse has a postcard
view. Google also has a street view and a satellite view of the keeper's house, plus a street view and a satellite view of the lens building. In 1999 the rotating DCB-224 aerobeacon atop the tower failed.
Unable to figure out how to repair it, the Coast Guard replaced it
with a dimmer fixed lamp, leading to protests from preservationists.
These protests led in 2002 to the installation of the VRB-25 beacon.
In October 2001 the lighthouse was transferred from the Coast Guard
to the Bureau of Land Management. BLM began planning to reconstruct the
upper portion of the tower and the lantern and also began monthly guided
tours under a cooperative arrangement with California State Parks.
The Piedras Blancas Light Station Association was formed to manage tours and support the restoration effort. A final management plan, necessary before any restoration can be started,
was published in late 2007. In 2008 the lighthouse and its surroundings
were designated an Outstanding Natural Area. In 2011-12 a $750,000 project restored the lighthouse and oil house. A second phase of the restoration will include replacement of the lantern. In 2013 a replica of the historic water tower was completed; funds came partly from the California Highway Patrol, which installed concealed communications equipment inside the tanks. In 2015 funds were being sought to rebuild the station's historic entrance gate as a memorial to the late park manager Jim Boucher. In January 2017 President Obama expanded the boundaries of the California Coastal National Monument to include the light station. The Fresnel lens in Cambria was cleaned and restored in the winter of 2018-19. Located off CA 1 northwest
of San Simeon. Site and tower closed except for guided tours leaving from the old Piedras Blancas Motel 1.5 mi (2.5 km) north on highway 1. Tours are available at 9:45 am on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday year round, federal holidays excepted, and daily except Sunday and Wednesday June 15 through August 31. Reservations are not needed except for large groups. Owner/site manager: U.S. Bureau
of Land Management (Piedras Blancas Light Station). ARLHS USA-598;
Admiralty G3982; USCG 6-0265.
Piedras Blancas Light, San Simeon, April 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Anita Ritenour
Inland Southern California Lighthouses
Riverside County: Canyon Lake Lighthouse
- Canyon Lake
- 1968. Active; focal plane 20 ft (6 m); flashing white light. 23 ft (7 m)
round tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red.
Jim Sneddon has a 2008 photo
and Google has a satellite
view. The lighthouse was built by the Corona Land Company as part of the
original development of Canyon Lake, after the company's president, Gordon
Heath, was inspired by the Brant Point Light on a visit to Nantucket, Massachusetts.
In April 2016 engineers determined that the lighthouse was deteriorating and recommended that it be moved onshore for repairs. It was later returned to the water. Located on a small artificial island at the junction of the northern and eastern
branches of the lake, in Riverside County about 8 km (5 mi) west of Lake Elsinore.
Site access unknown (gated community). Owner/site manager: City of Canyon Lake.
San Bernardino County: Lake Havasu Lighthouses (see
- Note: Lake Havasu is
the reservoir on the Colorado River pooled behind Parker Dam, completed in 1938.The river forms the border between southern California and Arizona. The lake,
a major water source for both states, is about
30 miles (50 km) long. Lake Havasu City, founded in 1964, is built on
the east (Arizona) side of the lake. Members of the Lake
Havasu Lighthouse Club have been building a series of lighthouses on the lake.
These lights are reduced-size replicas inspired by famous lighthouses
of the U.S. and Canada. The lights are legitimate aids to navigation,
with designs approved by the Coast Guard and locations approved by the
states as part of a master plan for lighting the waterways of the lake.
As of 2018 a total of 27 lighthouses have been completed, six on the California side of the lake and 21 on the Arizona side. The Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau has a page that includes a map of the lighthouse locations.
- * Havasu Landing (Table Bluff Replica)
- 2006. Active; amber flash every 1 s. Approx. 20 ft (6 m) square cylindrical
tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with gray trim
to resemble the Table Bluff Light (see Northern California); lantern roof
is red. Kevin Myers's photo is at right, another photo and a 2017 view from the lake are
available, and Google has a satellite view. This was the first of the Lake Havasu lighthouses to be built on the California
side of the lake. Located on the breakwater on the north side of the entrance
to the Havasu Landing Marina in Havasu Lake. Site open, tower closed. Site
manager: Havasu Landing Resort
- Grass Island (Mount Desert Rock Replica)
- 2007. Active; green flash every 1 s. Approx. 20 ft (6 m) round concrete
block tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted gray concrete;
lantern painted black. Lake Havasu City (Arizona) has posted a closeup photo
and Google has a satellite
The original Mount Desert Rock Light is on a small island off the coast of
Maine. Located on Grass Island, just off the California side of the lake
south of Havasu Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
- Copper Canyon North (Pemaquid Point Replica)
- 2017. Active; flash every 1 s, color not specified. Approx. 20 ft (6 m) round aluminum tower with lantern and gallery. The Lighthouse Club has a small photo (third row, right end) but the tower is too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located on a promontory about 0.6 mi (1 mi) northwest of Copper Canyon. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed.
- Copper Canyon (Pigeon Point Replica)
- 2016. Active; green flash every 1 s. Approx. 20 ft (6 m) round concrete
block tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with black trim to resemble the Pigeon Point Light (see Northern California). Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at the tip of a promontory on the west side of the lake north of the Copper Canyon narrows. Site open, tower closed.
- Copper Canyon South (Umpqua River Replica)
- 2009. Active; green flash every 1 s. Approx. 26 ft (8 m) round concrete
block tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern
roof red. Google has a satellite view. The
original lighthouse is on the southern coast of Oregon. This is one of the
more ambitious projects of the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club. Located on a
steep slope south of Copper Canyon, about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Havasu
Island, marking a significant narrowing of the lake. Accessible only by boat.
Site open, tower closed.
Havasu Landing Light, Havasu Landing, May 2013
Google Plus photo by Kevin Myers
- Whipple Bay (Grays Harbor Replica)
- 2013. Active; green flash every 1 s. Approx. 23 ft (7 m) octagonal tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with a black top. Bing has a distant satellite view. The
original lighthouse is at Grays Harbor, Washington. Located on a promontory on the east side of the entrance to Whipple Bay, a protected harbor on the lower section of the lake. Accessible only by boat.
Site open, tower closed.
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Islands Harbor, Oxnard, Ventura County, has a lighthouse that is
not an aid to navigation; a postcard
view is available and Google has a street view and a satellite view.
- Desert Lighthouse (2017), in the Mojave Desert northwest of Hinkley, is a 49 ft (15 m) active lighthouse designed as a "land art project" by its creator Daniel Hawkins. It is too new to appear in Bing's satellite view.
- Marina del Rey, Los Angeles, has a lighthouse in a waterfront shopping center; it stands at the water's edge but is not a recognized aid to navigation. Google has a street view and a satellite view.
Harbor, Oceanside, San Diego County, has a lighthouse that is
lit decoratively at night but is not recognized as a navigational aid. Google has a street view and a satellite view.
- Downtown Santa Barbara has a well-known lighthouse that is lit
at night but is not an aid to navigation. Built in 1995 as part of the Rusty's Pizza restaurant, this attractive faux lighthouse
is sometimes mistaken for the historic Santa Barbara
lighthouse. The restaurant was forced to move in 2014 to accommodate reconstruction of the bridge over Mission Creek next door, but the city promised to preserve and maintain the lighthouse. Google has a satellite view and its 2016 street view shows that the lighthouse was under renovation. The project has been completed and the building is now a Bluewater Grill restaurant.
- Seaside Village, San Diego, has a faux lighthouse as part of the Seaside Cookie Company. Google has a street view and a satellite view.
Adjoining pages: North: Northern California |
East: Arizona | South: Northern Baja California
Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key
Posted May 2005. Checked and revised October 25, 2019. Lighthouses: 33. Site copyright
2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.