A tiny coastal community on Highway 1 between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay is home to Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel. The lighthouse is one of unique origin, having served at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and San Francisco Bay’s Yerba Buena Island before finding a permanent home perched on the rocky shores of Point Montara.
The late 1800s saw over 90 shipwrecks in the area and prompted Congress to allocate funds for a fog signal at Point Montara. Various improvements to the strength of the steam whistle and the later addition of the lighthouse helped guide sailors safely into San Francisco Bay. The fog signal has since been moved farther out to sea, but the lighthouse, installed in 1928, remains on the property and operational.
The fog signal building, still intact today, is used as a common activity area for hostel guests. Free Vipassana meditations are held there Wednesdays from 7 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.
Adjacent to the fog signal building are private rooms that are perfect for couples or groups traveling together. The main building houses shared dorms with bunk beds, two fully equipped kitchens, coin operated laundry facilities, and a comfortable common living room. Espresso drinks and limited sundries can be purchased from the main office. Linens and Wi-Fi are complimentary. Picnic tables, a fire pit, and plenty of additional seating are available in the outdoor areas and gardens, many of which have beautiful ocean views. A small cove to the north can be reached by foot from the property.
Private rooms can sell out two months in advance, especially for weekend dates. Shared dorms provide more flexibility and affordability at $27 per person. Both co-ed and gender specific rooms are available.
Operated by Hostelling International, a membership fee is required in addition to room rates. Annual membership is $28 or one can opt for the daily rate of $3. Youth, seniors, and groups may get discounted or free HI membership.