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“Stop and do the tour if you have the time.”

Point Sur State Historic Park
Ranked #8 of 32 things to do in Big Sur
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This historic lighthouse located around Point Sur is now a state park.
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
171 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Stop and do the tour if you have the time.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2012

Beautiful park that offers a tour of the lighthouse. The views of the lighthouse were a little far but worth it.

Visited September 2012
Thank sactrav66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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136 reviews from our community

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Hope, Maine
Level Contributor
77 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Great tour full of lovely views and amazing history”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2012

We got lucky and had only 4 of us who showed up for this tour on a Saturday morning. Two things to know before you go. First, the tour is 3 hours long and you cannot leave early. We thought it was well worth it and were completely engaged the entire time. Second, it will be chilly and windy so dress appropriately. Our docents were Jim and Kathy, who knew their info and had much to share in a very interesting way. I was impressed that the entire park is run by volunteers. No paid staff at all.
Meet at the gate on Rte 1 and about 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour, your docent will let you in. You drive to the bottom of the rock to park and are gradually led up the road on foot with many stops to hear about the history of the light station and to admire the views and sea lions on the rocks below. I would not recommend this tour for young children due to steep drop offs on the side of the road or those unable to hike up hill. Still, because of all of the stops, it is not a difficult hike.
Once you reach the top you get to tour the lighthouse and the other buildings while hearing about life living on top of this huge rock. It was all facinating and I would do it again, especially because of the lovely views the entire length of the tour. You pay $10 at the end of the tour and all money goes to future restorations. The current project is the house that 3 families of light keepers lived in. So worth your time and money and the healthy hike is an added benefit.

Visited August 2012
7 Thank seedlady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
138 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“good tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2012

Cars line up early, make sure you line up on the on the west side of hiway 1 to the right of the gate. You have to be in line and they do turn people away. We were there half an hour before and only one other car got through after us. Drive in to the base of the hill. Walk up not bad, lots of stops for information, very windy. Good information, beautiful setting. Nice little gift shop. No guard rails and the hill is on one side, ocean on the other so not good for young children or those who are a little more rambunctious. You must stay with the group for the entire time so do allow 3 hours.

Visited August 2012
2 Thank dmc52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
464 reviews
168 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 629 helpful votes
“Be ready to drive through the gate, not walk!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2012

The Point Sur lighthouse tour is a great little activity to do in Big Sur. It combines some interesting history, with nice views, and a little good old-fashioned exercise.

They don’t take reservations. Officially, the tours are limited to 40 people, but that’s not an exact limit, and they try to accommodate everyone who shows up. (Although they do turn people away if there are a lot more than 40!) I suggest getting there 30 minutes before the tour starts. People taking the tour will gather at the entrance gate on highway 1, and wait for the tour guide to come out to open the gate.

When I arrived (about 15 minutes before the tour), I found a pretty big crowd gathered at the gate, and I worried about whether or not I would get turned away. Some people were waiting in their cars parked near the gate, and some people were standing in a large group at the gate.

Here’s the trick: When you go in, you will be driving through the gate, not walking! After the guide gets the gate open and gets organized, she will start letting cars through one at a time. Don’t stand by the gate while you are waiting, because you will just need to walk back to your car and get into the line of cars. The people who get there early and stand by the gate will actually end up at the end of the line to go inside because they need to walk back to their cars.

In my case, even though I was one of the last cars to drive up, I was one of the first cars to go through the gate because all the people who had been standing at the gate needed to walk back to their cars. While they were walking back, the people who had been waiting in their cars (including me) drove around the empty parked cars and through the gate. So, the bottom line is to wait in your car and be ready to drive through when the tour guide is ready.

With respect to the tour itself, there is a lot of walking, but the guide goes at a slow pace and stops frequently on the way up the long hill. The tour takes you through the lighthouse and a few of the other associated buildings. The history is interesting, and the views are impressive. You should also be able to see birds and sea lions on the rocks. Be prepared for strong wind.

One more tip: The tour ends at the gift shop, where you will pay the fee for the tour. Most people browse around the gift shop for a while before paying. So, there’s no line at the cashier when you first arrive at the gift shop, but after a while the line can get long.

If you don’t think you’ll be buying any souvenirs, pay your tour fee as soon as you get to the gift shop. However, if you do think you might buy something (or if you change your mind later and want to buy something after all), don’t bother to stand in long line. Just keep browsing around until the line dies down. They won’t lead the tour group back down the hill until everyone has paid, so don’t worry, you’ll get your chance. The gift shop includes some interesting historical wall displays and little movies.

Visited July 2012
11 Thank Jim_and_Barbie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grover Beach, California
Level Contributor
145 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 22, 2012

Not too far off the coast is where the huge airship USS Macon (a big rigid "Blimp") went down during a storm in 1935. This area also hosted the Navy's secret underwater listening center that spied on distant Soviet submarines during the cold war using underwater listening devices spread throughout the Pacific Ocean. Lots of history here. A classic Lighthouse.

Visited July 2011
Thank Ranger93433
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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