Main Content

Local Experts with International Connections

Great places to visit in Palos Verdes: The Point Vicente Lighthouse

Sunset at Point Vicente

Searching for fun things to do in Palos Verdes? One of the best spots to visit is the Point Vicente Lighthouse, a historical and romantic destination that’s perfect for sightseeing and other enjoyable recreational activities.

The lighthouse also attracts fans of mystery and otherworldly elements. According to legend, the tower is home to the ghost of a lady whose lover perished at sea. Realists however, have a more technical explanation – images appearing atop the tower are only reflections cast on the Fresnel lens.

We leave it up to you to uncover the mystery yourself! If you’re planning a trip to the Point Vicente Lighthouse, here’s some information as well as a few helpful tips on how to make the most out of your adventure.

History of the Point Vicente Lighthouse

The Point Vicente Lighthouse was constructed in 1926 as a response to a petition from numerous shipmasters who frequently navigated this potentially dangerous stretch of coastal waters. Its original five-foot lens, which was manufactured by Barbier & Bernard of Paris in 1886, is powered by a 15-watt bulb emitting two million-candlepower white light. It was used in Alaska for over 40 years before it was eventually brought to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The Point Vicente Lighthouse is perched on a cliff and stands 67 feet high, generating a light source almost 200 feet above sea level and is visible for over 20 miles at sea.

The bright beam cast by the lighthouse posed a problem during World War II. It was dimmed in order to make it more difficult for enemy submarines to search for land. After the war, some residents of nearby communities also complained about the brightness. To resolve conflicts caused by the light, the light keepers applied an opaque white coat of paint on the lantern room’s landward side.

Several civilian lighthouse keepers were in charge of manning the lighthouse until 1939, when the US Coast Guard took responsibility over its operations and maintenance, turning it into their primary communication center in Southern California, as well as a base camp for rescue operations.

1971 marked the start of automated operation of the Point Vicente Lighthouse.

Activities to enjoy

The picturesque views of the Palos Verdes Peninsula from the Point Vicente Lighthouse are absolutely stunning. If you’re searching for a great place for a romantic date or just somewhere where you can take in gorgeous views, then this is definitely a perfect spot to visit. In case you want to catch a glimpse of the lighthouse offshore, the beam is visible for up to 20 miles at sea.

Visitors can check out the expansive 10,000 square foot Interpretative Center. Opened in 1984, the center aims to showcase and interpret the rich history and unique features of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The center features an array of exhibits on the cultural and natural history of the Peninsula, including in-depth info on the Pacific gray whale. The whales can be spotted from the lighthouse and the park during their migrating season on the months of December to April.  Remember to bring binoculars and head to the park or the 150-seat outdoor amphitheater at the Interpretative Center if you want to get a good look at the gray whales.

In addition to taking in spectacular views of the sunset, many visitors also enjoy exploring or jogging on the nearby trails. Guided hikes are also available in nearby areas surrounding the lighthouse.

Point Vicente Lighthouse is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. It’s very ideal for families in LA as they won’t need to travel far to enjoy relaxing outdoor activities while surrounded by captivating scenery.

Visiting the Point Vicente Lighthouse

You can find the lighthouse at 31550 Palos Verdes Drive, West Rancho Palos Verdes, right at the southwestern tip of the peninsula and close to the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive and Hawthorne Blvd.

The Point Vicente Lighthouse itself is closed to the public most of the time. The grounds and the nearby Coast Guard Museum however, can be visited on selected dates. Be aware that barbecues and bonfires are prohibited on park grounds. If you’re visiting the lighthouse with your dog, remember to keep your pet on a leash at all times.

Looking for more great places to visit in Palos Verdes? Take a look at some of our previous blog articles on activities and destinations you can enjoy around the area. If you’re looking for a home in this scenic peninsula, work with our top-performing team of real estate experts today! Get in touch with The Stephen Haw Group at 310.503.9886, or email skh8828(at)gmail(dotted)com.