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Point Sur

First Operational: 1889

Height: 48 feet

Accessibility: museum/gift shop, grounds, lighthouse open when tours are available

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Visitor Information


Tours: Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. -1 p.m. 

Tours are limited to 40 Visitors - first come, first served.

(831) 625-4419


Point Sur State Historic Park,

Highway 1

Monterey, CA 93940

Meet along west side of Highway 1 at the farm cate, 19 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel, 1/4 mile north of the Point Sur Naval Facility.


Point Sur is a 361 ft tall rock broken off from the nearby Santa Lucia Mountain Range. Water used to cover the land connecting the rock from the mainland, causing it to look like a separate island; however, even after the outcropping was revealed to be attached to the mainland, it remained a significant hazard to shipping. The construction of Point Sur began in 1887, and large areas of the rock were blasted away to create large enough spaces to place buildings on top. The lighthouse was built in the northwestern area of the rock and a three storied triplex was built in the south end, which was designed to house the keepers and their families. A first order Fresnel lens was installed into the lantern room and first illuminated on August 1, 1889. A 450 pound weight would be hand-cranked by the light-keepers and rotated the lens for 4 hours before it needed to be cranked up again. When rotating the lens produced an alternating white and red light every 15 seconds 272 feet above sea level. Other facilities like a barn, blacksmith, and a schoolhouse was built on Point Sur for the light-keepers and their families to create a more self sufficient environment, as Highway 1 was not completed until 1937. 


During World War II, men were stationed at Point Sur in order to protect the coastline, and as a result a mess hall and a bunkhouse was built to accommodate them. Additionally Point Sur Naval Facility was built in secret during the Cold War as a way to detect Soviet submarines. The public was told that the facility was built for oceanographic research. This Naval Faculty was one of 30 secret naval bases worldwide that was built to detect Soviet submarines.


Today, visitors can explore both the lighthouse and naval station through regularly scheduled tours available throughout the year.

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