What had been the last manned lighthouse in California is once again allowing people inside, as Marin Headlands attraction Point Bonita Lighthouse resumed tours this weekend.

There are a number of unique historical distinctions to the Marin Headlands coastal destination Point Bonita Lighthouse. A 30-year member of the National Registry of historic places, the 145-year-old Point Bonita Lighthouse remains the only lighthouse in the entire country with an attached suspension bridge. It was also the last manned lighthouse in the state of California. But it hasn’t had any people in it for the duration of the pandemic, as the indoor facility is quite tiny and cramped.  

But the light at the end of its tunnel has arrived. KPIX reports that the Point Bonita Lighthouse reopened this weekend, with Sunday’s tours being the first the lighthouse has hosted since March 2020.

“Today’s just a good day. I’ve been smiling all day,” one of the lighthouse’s first new visitors Tara Longnecker told KPIX on the Sunday reopening. “It’s just good to be out around people again, you know? You don’t think you miss it until you do stuff again.”

The scenery is more the star of the show at this lighthouse, though. Visitors cannot even go inside the beacon anymore, and there are no formal tours (except on rare, special occasions), only self-guided tours. There is so little lighthouse access that KPIX reports “a tour of the place only takes about 10 minutes.”

The walk to the lighthouse is more memorable and scenic than the lighthouse itself, but the place remains a popular tourist attraction. Yet even during normal times, its open hours are few. According to the National Park Service, “The Point Bonita Lighthouse is open on Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Lines to get into the lighthouse can be long. Please arrive well before 3:30 pm to ensure you are able to cross the suspension bridge.”

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Image: Frank Schulenburg via Wikimedia Commons