Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Outdoor Adventures: Point Reyes Lighthouse

Last year for my 30th Birthday, my husband whisked me away for an entire weekend without the kids.
We decided on Point Reyes National Seashore, CA.  It wasn't a hard decision, since I'd been wanting to see the infamous Lighthouse (pictured above) for some time, and every Google Image search we did, yielded beautiful results.

There are a lot of little B & B's in the area but we are avid campers, so we stayed in a funky campground in Olema, called "Olema RV Resort" that had full hook-ups and even a mini US Post office.
To be honest, it's what I call "fake camping". There were FREE showers and town was about 1 mile away. But, unless you're willing to hike in a couple miles to your spot, it's pretty much the only campground.
Oh, and did I mention that it's ridiculously expensive?
I think it was $46 per night since we went during peak Season and on a weekend, no less.
But in that area, if we'd gone the hotel route it would have easily been $100 more per night so I guess we got a bargain.
The tent camp sites are nicely cared for, and come with a fire ring as well as a picnic table. Ours was in the back of the campground and had a little stream running behind it, giving a natural ambience, which was nice since the rest of the campground feels like a mini township.

Point Reyes and the surrounding towns of Inverness & Olema are beautiful but be warned that this area is not cheap- a no-frills meal for 2 at a diner in Olema could cost you $50.
There is an upside, in that the businesses are locally owned & operated and while there you will most likely be dining as a Locavore and not eating/buying food from a chain.

Once at the seashore, the Point Reyes Lighthouse was our main destination so we made the short 1/2 mile trek uphill from the parking lot to the Lighthouse Visitor Center and then began the steep 30 story descent to the main attraction. The stairs are very narrow and so steep that at times you need to walk sideways like a crab in order not to go tumbling to your death below.

The Lighthouse was built in 1854 and still has the lens that was made for it in 1867.  It's gorgeous inside, and there is a helpful guide to give you all kinds of Historical facts in you're into that kind of thing......which I am :)

This spot is known for being one of the foggiest places on the West Coast, and the day we were there it was also one of the windiest. But looking at the crystal waters below, and the beautiful green pastures surrounding us makes it all worthwhile.

That is, until you realize that those 30 stories of steep, narrow steps you had to climb down to get to this amazing view?
Yeah, you're gonna have to climb back on up.

I am not a lazy person, but I am not exactly a triathlete, either.
At one point during my ascent, I thought I might just sit down on the stairs and die. It really sounded like the best plan at the moment.  Look at that picture. I am miserable, haha.

My shins were on FIRE when we finally reached the top.
if we ever do that again, and I mean big IF, we are most definitely going to have to be in better shape.  I saw a few families with small children who were really struggling and I wouldn't recommend bringing any kids that will need to be carried back up, or people with a phobia of heights, either.  other than that, I'd say everyone else should try it once.
It's an adventure, after all!

I'd love to hear about other Lighthouses along the California Coast that you've been to, and even ones that are not in California. I've got a fascination now, and maybe someday I'd come visits one where you live :)


  1. 30 stories, holy crap!
    I love that picture of you drinking...well...let me assume it's coffee;)
    Sounds like a challenging but nice trip:)

  2. sounds like an awesome vacation! My hubby's 30th is coming up in about a month... I'm hoping we can get away somewhere too :)

  3. Very nice story, Casey - I can vouch for the stairs, having climbed them (and - like you - considered sitting down to die)!

    Since you're interested in other lighthouses, how about Point Cabrillo Light Station, just north of Mendocino. It's still active as a light station and you can actually stay in the refurbished Head Light Keeper's house.

    Best part? No stairs! :-)


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