With a three day weekend on the horizon, My Man and I talked about going a lot of different places. We looked into a VRBO down in Paso Robles, another in Carmel Valley, and a few up in the Napa and Somona areas. With everything running $300 a night, we decided instead to stick around the Bay Area. We started planning for a day trip to some place we had never been. These days we are working hard to live one day at a time and this day would provide us a great opportunity to relax and really be present, enjoying each other’s company.
We considered going hiking in Muir Woods. As I did more research, I realized Muir Woods was really close to Point Reyes. After some conversation, we decided to head up to Point Reyes Lighthouse on Saturday. The weather was supposed to be warm and sunny, close to 70 degrees. We just hoped it wasn’t foggy when we got to the lighthouse!
As a matter of full disclosure, I am obsessed with lighthouses! Obsessed! I bought a print when I lived in the south that hangs in our bathroom. I have gone to six of those lighthouses pictured on the print; and a few others in North Carolina as well.
Together, we have been to a number of lighthouses in California, including Pigeon Point Lighthouse (near Pescadero), Point Bonita (just north of San Francisco), Point Arena (south of Mendocino), and Point Cabrillo Lighthouse (north of Mendocino). I went to Heceta Head Lighthouse in Oregon years ago on a track trip.
Because it was going to take 2 hours plus to get to Point Reyes, we planned to leave at 7 am Saturday so we could hike a bit in the Redwoods as well. We woke up late and didn’t leave until 9:45 am so we scrapped the hiking idea, but we did put the convertible’s top down. We left the fog and mist in Los Gatos and were overjoyed to be greeted by bright sunshine a few miles up the road! We made good time driving up through Oakland, even if we weren’t totally certain where we were headed once we got off the highway.
After we exited at San Rafael, we drove west through a number of cute small towns, including Woodacre, Lagunitas, Tocaloma, Point Reyes town, and Inverness. Normally we would have stopped and walked around, but we were clearly on a mission! We wanted to get to the lighthouse! We also drove on some gorgeous windy roads with so many redwoods.
When we got to Drake Beach, we parked and went in the visitor’s center to use the bathroom. We quickly found out we wouldn’t be driving to Point Reyes Lighthouse. Instead, we bought tickets for $7 each to ride the bus up to the lighthouse.
The 20 minute bus ride to Point Reyes was fun. Both bus drivers gave us a number of interesting tidbits about the countryside we were riding through, what kinds of animals and birds we might see, and more information about the farms we were passing. I loved seeing all the cows, goats, and elks eating grass. Growing up in a small farming town (we weren’t farmers!), I have a secret love of farm animals and crops.
We were so lucky we went on Saturday! Point Reyes is known as the windiest place on the Pacific Coast. It’s also the second foggiest place in North America (not sure how they know that). The lighthouse is located at the tip of a headland that juts out 10 miles into the sea – an ideal spot to put a warning light. But there wasn’t a cloud in the sky on Saturday and NO FOG!
Once we got off the bus, we walked up a hill and then walked down the 308 steps to the lighthouse. We both wondered how easy the trek back up would be. As self-proclaimed ‘savvy travelers’ who walk fast and understand being at the right place at the right time, we were practically alone at the lighthouse for the first few minutes. It was gorgeous!
We also went in the small museum at the foot of the lighthouse. Nick loves to read about all the history! I loved seeing all the old-time equipment they used, including the fog horns.
We took a lot of pictures! I was so happy to finally see this lighthouse!
I couldn’t get over how clear the sky was!
After about 20 minutes of nosing around, we hiked back up the steps, taking selfies along the way. It was one of the best lighthouses I have ever been to in regards to the views. You could see the ocean for miles! And the cliffs were just beautiful. The moss on the rocks was a shocking orange color. It was beautiful. I read about the moss later. Click here and find out about it as well!
The walk down to the bus stop was also scenic. There were so many amazing views of the ocean! It was so windy at one point – I thought my hair might fly away!
We rode the bus straight back to Drake Beach, skipping the sea lions stop. We see enough of them in Santa Cruz. We took a different road back to Mills Valley, smiling and laughing in the beautiful sunshine. We ate a lovely dinner at Piatti in Mills Valley, watching the sun set over the mountains. We got in the car and started to drive toward the Golden Gate Bridge and I had to take a picture because there was no fog!
Driving home, we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge without a care in the world, not bothered for a minute by the traffic. What an amazing day!
Why Travel, Cooking and DIY? A creative type, I have always loved painting and decorating as a hobby. Upcycling is a real passion. My mom was a Home Ec teacher when we were growing up. I learned a lot from her and because I love hosting get-togethers, I had to step up my game in the kitchen as well. And lastly, my love of travel comes from my Grandma Schmitt.
An Illinois native, I worked in the White House Communications Agency early in my career (President Reagan), prior to returning to Illinois State University to finish my undergraduate and Master's. After a couple of post-graduate internships (minor league baseball and Big Ten Conference), I then worked in college athletics full-time for more than 22 years -- first at the University of South Carolina for 15 years and then at Santa Clara University for the last seven years. We moved to Tampa, Florida in Dec., 2016 after spending 8.5 years in Northern California.