NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Lighthouses for Rent

Pt. Arena Lighthouse

Pt. Arena Lighthouse- Click to enlarge

Okay. Lets be frank. You'll not be renting an actual lighthouse, but another building near the lighthouse. Even the lighthouse keepers didn't sleep in the actual lighthouse, unless they alienated their spouse. But it's hard to beat the locations, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

There are four of these located in northern California. Two are hostels, and two are not. Amenities vary so click the links associated with each to learn more before you rent.

The Hostels

There's a common perception that hostels are dorms where folks below the voting age congregate and occasionally sleep. These have dorms, but also private rooms where you can have some privacy and are good for people whose physical attributes aren't worthy of sharing.  Both are managed by Hostelling International, with a long history and a presence all around the world.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel

This is the second tallest lighthouse on the West Coast, at 115 feet. It was completed in 1872 and sits on a bluff near the town of Pescadero on Hwy. 1 between San Francisco and Monterey. The area was named after a ship sailing from Boston to San Francisco (the Carrier Pigeon) that went aground here in 1853 with no loss of life. For information or to make reservations visit the website or call (650) 879-0633.

Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel

Established in 1875 as a fog signal station, this facility is still an operating aid-to-navigation station operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. The hostel has been in place since 1980 and is managed in a partnership with California State Parks. It is located on the California coast near the city of Half Moon Bay about 25 miles south of San Francisco. For information or reservations visit or call (650) 728-7177.


Point Cabrillo Light Station

By lighthouse standards this one is a newbie. Construction began (in 1908)after the infamous earthquake of 1906 that leveled much of San Francisco. Lumber to fuel reconstruction was much in demand and the ships transporting it needed to be protected. It became operational in 1909. The property is owned and managed by the California Parks and Recreation Dept. as a State Park. It is located just north of the village of Mendocino off Hwy. 1 on a beautiful stretch of California coast.

There are three cottages for rent, including the Head Lightkeepers house. One is pet-friendly. They all have been beautifully restored. The lighthouse itself is a museum. For information or reservations call (800) 262-7801 or (707) 937-5033. Visit their website at

Point Arena Lighthouse

Located on a spit of land off Hwy. 1 outside the village of Pt. Arena, this is one beautiful spot. Pt. Arena is about halfway between the villages of Bodega Bay to the south and Mendocino to the north; traveling the coastline doesn't get much better. The 115 foot lighthouse is actually open and can be climbed to the top. Rental units range from houses to cottages to a single room. Some are pet friendly. Visit their website at or call (877) 725-4448.