The Four Beacons of the Los Angeles – Long Beach Harbor Area

California, Los Angeles, USA
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Attention Lighthouse fans. If you are looking for a way to fill your Lighthouse Passport with stamps, come to Los Angeles. You can get a whopping 4 stamps of lighthouses that are located within a relatively short distance from each other. Even if you don’t collect any stamps, these lighthouses are located in interesting areas along the California shoreline. It’s absolutely worth checking these places out. These lighthouses are also great for photography fans. You can’t really get wrong by visiting them.

Below you can find the 4 lighthouses in this area. Each section gives you a brief history and description of the lighthouse, location, and where to get your stamp.

Point Vicente Lighthouse

Point Vicente was built in 1926 and manned by civilian lighthouse keepers until the U.S. Coast Guard took over its operation in 1939. When put into operation, the Point Vicente Light was the brightest beacon in Southern California, thanks to a 1000 Watt bulb. While focused through a five-foot lens, the light could be seen over twenty miles out on the ocean.

Point Vicente Lighthouse

In 1971 the lighthouse was automated and remote control operators took the place of the lighthouse keepers. Eight years later, the lighthouse was added to the National Registry of Historic Sites.

The lighthouse is still used today and modern electronics took over the operation of the light and foghorn. Active coast guard members, assigned to nearby ships, stations, and offices live in the housings of the lighthouse grounds.

This lighthouse welcomes visitors once a month. Every second Saturday the lighthouse is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The only exception is during the month of March. In March the lighthouse opens the first Saturday of the month from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to coincide with the City’s Whale of a Day event. Admission is free during these open days.

While visiting the Lighthouse, I highly recommend you to check out the nearby Point Vicente Interpretive Center. This regional museum is showing the natural and cultural history of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. From December through mid-May this is a great location for Gray Whale watching.

Visiting the Lighthouse

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed Mondays and major holidays)
Tours: Tuesday -Sunday at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.
Admission: Free of charge

Lighthouse Stamp

The stamp for the Point Vicente Lighthouse is located inside the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. Here you can find also the stamps for Queen’s Gate Robot Light, Point Fermin Lighthouse, and Angel’s Gate Lighthouse

Point Fermin Lighthouse

This is the oldest lighthouse in the area and one of the oldest lighthouses on the West Coast. Point Fermin Lighthouse was built in 1874 and the first navigational light into San Pedro Bay. California Redwoods was the main construction material for this Stick Style Victorian lighthouse. The 4th Order Fresnel lens was first lit on December 15, 1874. One of the lenses is displayed at the lighthouse.

Point Fermin Lighthouse

Point Fermin Lighthouse was operated for 67 years to guide ships safely into the ever-growing Los Angeles harbor. The first lighthouse keepers at Point Fermin were two sisters. The light was extinguished and removed by the Navy during WWII and a radar station was put there instead. The building was restored in 1974 for its 100th birthday and was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Across from the lighthouse, you can see an old building, referred to as the coast guardhouse, but was used during the war to station troops here, while they were operating the lookout post.

In 2002 the lighthouse underwent another restoration and was opened to the public on November 1, 2003. Visitors can now climb the tower and enjoy amazing views of the bay. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed on the first two floors, where you see all the historic interiors. You can snap a few pictures on the third floor while making your way up to the tower. If the windows are open, you can get a few unique shots. Once you reach the top of the tower, you can take pictures too, but all the glass windows prevent taking good pictures and nobody is allowed outside.

Visiting the Lighthouse

  • Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Sunday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
  • Admission: Free of charge but a donation is requested for each visitor
  • Tours: Guided tours are offered by volunteers at 1 p.m. 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday.
  • Website: http://pointferminlighthouse.org/

Lighthouse Stamp

Available during opening hours of the lighthouse and at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center.

Angel’s Gate Lighthouse

Another lighthouse in the Los Angeles harbor is the Angel’s Gate Lighthouse. It is located on the 9,250 foot long San Pedro breakwater. It sits on a forty-foot concrete square at the end of the breakwater. Angel’s Gate Lighthouse was built in 1913 and automated in 1973, which eliminated the need for lighthouse keepers. The well-constructed lighthouse was built to withstand even rough seas. This lighthouse guides mariners into the Los Angeles harbor, the nation’s #1 container port. Mariners are guided by the green rotating light as well as the 2 foghorn blasts every thirty seconds.

Angel’s Gate Lighthouse

Unfortunately, the lighthouse is not open to the public, and walking on the breakwater is too dangerous and therefore prohibited. Your best chance to get close to the lighthouse is hopping aboard one of the harbor tour boats.

Your best and closest viewing point from land is from the end of the Cabrillo Beach Pier.

Lighthouse Stamp

Available at Point Fermin Lighthouse and Point Vicente Interpretive Center

Queen’s Gate Robot Light

The lighthouse got its name because of its rectangular base and the six columnar legs, which resembled a 1950s robot. It’s also known as the Long Beach Harbor Lighthouse. Long Beach Harbor sits adjacent to the Los Angeles Harbor. From just looking at a map you won’t notice that the harbor area here is actually two separate harbors. 

Long Beach Harbor Lighthouse

The Queen’s Gate Robot Light is located at the west entrance to Long Beach Harbor and sits on a breakwater as well. When it was completed in 1949 it was hailed as the world’s most modern lighthouse and forerunner of what’s to come in future lighthouse generations. The lighthouse was designed to withstand earthquakes, winds, and waves as well as be fully automated.

Because of the location, the lighthouse is not open to the public. Best views can be obtained by taking a harbor boat tour or by taking ferry boats to  Catalina Island, which departs near the Queen Mary in Long Beach. From land, your best option is from Pier F in Long Beach Harbor. This pier is open to the public. To get to Pier F take I-710 over to the harbor and Queen Mary. There follow the signs for Pier F.

This lighthouse is also referred to as the ugliest lighthouse on the West Coast, maybe even in the whole United States.

Lighthouse Stamp

Available at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center.

Faux Lighthouses

There are a few buildings in the area resembling the shape and looks of a lighthouse but are not actual lighthouses that are used or have been used for navigational purposes. They are only for aesthetics. Both of these lighthouses are located in Long Beach.

There are no Lighthouse Stamps available for these faux lighthouses but they are still worth a visit and a picture.

Lions Lighthouse

This lighthouse is located in the Shoreline Aquatic Park in Long Beach. The 10-story tall lighthouse is officially named the “Lions Lighthouse for Sight”. It was built as a reminder of the Lions Club International’s dedication to ending blindness in the world. The building was funded by the Downtown Long Beach Lions Club organization and dedicated in December of 2000.

Lions Lighthouse

The Lions Lighthouse and Parkers’ Lighthouse sit on either side of the entrance to Rainbow Harbor of Long Beach. At night you can see the Lions Lighthouse illuminated in rainbow colors.

Lions Lighthouse at Night

Parkers’ Lighthouse

Parkers’ Lighthouse is just across the water from the Lions Lighthouse. It is an award-winning restaurant. The Queensview Steakhouse is located on the third floor of Parkers’ Lighthouse and I can highly recommend it. Parkers’ Lighthouse offers great views of Queensway Bay while you enjoy a delicious meal.

Parkers’ Lighthouse

Map

Conclusion

The harbor area has quite a few attractions for visitors. If you are looking to stay near the harbor, check out the Residence Inn or Hyatt Regency. Check out the Shoreline Village and the Shoreline Aquatic Park in Long Beach.

What is your favorite lighthouse in the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbor area? It doesn’t matter if real or faux. Let us know in the comments.

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