- Hours: Generally open Saturdays, some Sundays and holidays. Get the current schedule
- Reservations: Reservations are required. Call the Keepers at 805-540-5771
- Cost: Fee required for all tours
- Location: Near San Luis Obispo
- How Long: Allow a couple of hours
- Best Time to Visit: Any time, but weather will be nicest in spring and fall
It is open to the public for guided tours only and not visible from public roads.
History of Point San Luis LighthouseIn 1867, United States President Andrew Johnson issued an executive order directing the Department of the Interior “to take the necessary steps to cause the reservation for Light House purposes of an area … of land at … Point San Luis” and in 1877, Congressman Romaldo Pacheco of San Luis Obispo introduced a bill to build a lighthouse at Point San Luis.
All the orders and bills didn't add up to an immediate building project, though. The San Luis Obispo Daily Republic newspaper reported on June 24, 1886 that the United States government had "appropriated the sum of $50,000 for the construction of a lighthouse." High construction costs and inability to secure the land delayed the project even further, until 1889 and the light was officially lit for the first time on June 30, 1890.
A single kerosene lamp illuminated the Point San Luis light from a 40-foot-tall tower, which projected a beam of light 20 miles out to sea, made possible by collecting all the lamp’s light with a Fresnel lens. In 1933, an electric bulb replaced the kerosene lamp. In 1969, the Fresnel lens was retired and replaced by an automated electric light. Point San Luis Lighthouse closed in 1974.
In 1992, the Federal Government deeded the 30-acre site to the Port San Luis Harbor District, requiring that the station be restored and opened to the public. It has taken volunteers over 65,000 hours to restore it. The original Fresnel lens is now on display and several of the site's buildings have been restored.
Visiting Point San Luis LighthouseTo get to the Point San Luis Lighthouse, you have pass through property belonging to PG&E and unescorted access is not allowed. You can take a trolley from nearby Avila Bay or join a guided hike, which is 3.5 miles round trip over hilly terrain. No matter how you decide to go, you should make reservations ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
If you love lighthouses, you may want to combine a trip to San Luis with a tour of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, which is on the coast north of Morro Bay and Hearst Castle. You may also want to find more California lighthouses to tour on our California Lighthouse Map
Getting to the San Luis Lighthouse
San Luis LighthouseThe Point San Luis Lighthouse is located on Avila Bay, just north of San Luis Obispo. It sits on the grounds of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and the only way to get there is by trolley or by taking a docent-led walk to it. Details are here and tours meet in Avila Bay.
San Luis Obispo, CA
Point San Luis Lighthouse Website