I practically got "blown away" at the Point Reyes Lighthouse because it was so incredibly windy the day I visited. In fact, this is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place in North America, making it very dangerous for ships on their way to nearby San Francisco. Today, the Point Reyes Lighthouse is part of the Point Reyes National Seashore, a place of incredible wild beauty. This peninsula sticks 10 miles out into the Pacific, creating dramatic views all around.
A Clear Day at the (2nd) Foggiest Lighthouse in North America
Although Point Reyes Lighthouse is considered to be the "windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent", we managed to cruise up here on an incredibly clear day. If the sun is shining and the skies are clear, I highly recommend leaving the streets of San Francisco for a lovely hour cruising through West Marin and into the Point Reyes National Seashore. There is lovely hiking all along the coast as well as a great overview of the history of the Lighthouse.
Visitors and locals alike must take an afternoon to explore Point Reyes, just north up the coast from San Francisco. For those looking for a light walk with an incredible view, a stroll to the Lighthouse is the way to go.
More likely than not, the cliffs of Point Reyes will be blanketed in fog, making for a mysterious trail to the very tip of the point. But once you reach the light house, if the fog has parted just enough, your breath will be taken away by the staggering cliffs and booming crash of the waves.
The National Park Service is unusually active in limiting liability at the Point Reyes Lighthouse.
Warning signs above the 310 stairs down to the house cite that the descent is not for the faint of heart or weak of knee. While it may be easy to descend the steps, the reverse trip is the equivalent of climbing a 30 story building.
Access is also denied if the wind reaches 40 miles per hour--which on this wild point jutting out into the Pacific happens rather frequently.
But even if you capitulate to the warning signs, the views from the visitor center up top are well worth the visit.
The Point Reyes Lighthouse is located about two hours north of San Francisco. Be sure to check the Point Reyes website and/or the Bear Valley Vistor Center for current visiting hours and weather conditions.