Point Pinos Lighthouse
80 Asilomar Avenue
Photo by Lisa Corson, AFAR Media
Point Pinos LighthouseStanding its ground between a cypress grove and the Pacific Ocean, the Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the U.S. West Coast—and one of seven lighthouses for which Congress appropriated funding shortly after California statehood was ratified. But this lighthouse wasn’t just an aid to navigation; it was also a social hub in early Pacific Grove. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about lighthouse keeper Allen Luce and his piano playing, while a fondness for entertaining inspired locals to call keeper Emily Fish the Socialite Keeper. The lighthouse beacon, a third-order Fresnel lens, has flashed nightly since 1855 and is still used in the tower today—the light is visible up to 17 nautical miles out to sea. Docents are on duty to answer questions as you tour the lighthouse, from the 1890s-style parlor to the 1920s-style kitchen, and up to the Emily Fish bedroom and lookout. Right behind the lighthouse is the El Carmelo Cemetery, one of the most peaceful seaside cemeteries, with deer wandering through to nibble on the grass.