Built in 1872, Pigeon Point Lighthouse will still beam bright into the 2017 New Year, and beyond. This iconic mainstay on the San Mateo Coast is great to visit any time, but go in the next few weeks and get a big bonus: It’s the start of gray whale migration season, and Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park is one of the best places for spying them.
The best vantage point for spotting grays is a short stroll away on a boardwalk overlook. Volunteer docents can be found here most weekends, lending binoculars and dishing information on the whales and shipwreck lore. Or walk a few minutes in the opposite direction down to Whalers Cove, a quaint little beach saved by the Peninsula Open Space Trust.
BONUS STAY: Hostelling International’s Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of only a few accommodations on this stretch of the coast. The four guesthouses, salty and weathered, each have a private room and fully equipped kitchens and are ideally situated next to the old lighthouse. What else is sweet about this spot? Guests have access to a secluded hot tub perched above the bluffs facing the ocean. Jacuzzi jets and whale watching—hot combo!
The Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park is 50 miles south of San Francisco on Hwy. 1. The address is 210 Pigeon Point Rd., Hwy. 1 Pescadero. The day-use area is open from 8:00 a.m. to sunset. No dogs.