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Point San Luis

First Operational: 1890

Height: 40 feet

Accessibility: Grounds and lighthouse buildings closed except on guided walking tours or van tours

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Visitor Information


Grounds and buildings: Wednesday (10:30 - 1:30pm)  and Saturday (10:30-2:30pm)

(805) 540-5771


1 Lighthouse Rd, Avila Beach, CA 93424

Parking is Located at Wild Cherry Canyon. Located in between the Cal Poly Pier and the Harford Pier. As you pass Avila Beach heading towards Port San Luis stay on Avila Beach Drive. On your right side there is a parking lot, there will be Lighthouse banners on the fence. The gate may be closed, pull up and check in with the gate attendant. It is recommended you arrive 15-20 minutes before your tour time. Vans will leave promptly on the hour. 


In 1870, the town of Port Harford (today Avila Beach) averaged 400 ships per year, and recognizing the need for a lighthouse, congressman Romualdo Pacheco had authorizing its construction, although was unsuccessful. It was later in 1886 when Congress passed the funding authorization for the lighthouse at Point San Luis. The construction was further delayed until the night of April 29, 1888, when a ship called the Queen of the Pacific sank near Port Harford, with no lives lost. However, it was argued that had there been a functioning lighthouse the ship would have easily been able to reach the pier.


The lighthouse finally finished construction and was first lit on June 30, 1890, and the fog whistle became operational in 1891. The lighthouse had a 4th order Fresnel lens, which would alternate red and white flashes of light every 30 seconds and would be visible nearly 17 miles out at sea. In 1974, the lighthouse was decommissioned by the Coast Guard and in 1995, the non profit organization Point San Luis LIghthouse Keepers was created in order to manage the lighthouse as a historical, educational, and recreational site for the public. The 4th order Fresnel lens was returned in 2010 and is now on display at the station.

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