The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is an historic structure located on the Point Loma peninsula inside the Cabrillo National Monument. Although it hasn’t been in use since 1891, the public is still welcome to visit it and explore the grounds.
This is a great day trip as with so much to explore on the grounds including a ton of hiking trails, old bunkers and tide pools! The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a nod to simpler times, as you will see when touring the home.
Today the Old Point Loma Lighthouse is a museum which can be toured during regular hours. All of the rooms are glassed off but well-preserved to what they would have looked like during this time period.
Built to completion in 1855, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse had the highest elevation of any lighthouse in the U.S. Due to it being on a 400 ft. cliff, this also meant that fog and low clouds often created obstructions of where the lighthouse actually was.
The lighthouse keeper is said to have had to shoot warning shots to alert ships to stay away from the cliffside on foggy nights.
This huge flaw meant that the lighthouse was only in use for 35 years and relocated to a better area further below.
Beyond helping ships come in, the lighthouse was also home for the Israel family, whom took care of the lighthouse. The husband, wife, their three sons and niece all grew up in this unique home.
In fact, one of the sons was born here and Juana Machado, of Old Town San Diego, helped deliver the baby. The Machado home is still preserved as a museum to Old Town to this day! It’s so much fun putting the pieces together.
They loved to garden, which you can still visit their garden today. They raised chickens, pigs, goats and horses and had to row the children across the bay each day to attend school at the Mason St. Schoolhouse in Old Town.
The lighthouse is said to be haunted. There are reports of of heavy foot steps coming from upper rooms, cold spots, heavy breathing, lights turning on. This site is no longer considered an “active haunted” location though.
Visit the grounds keeper’s beautiful vegetable garden which is still maintained today: