Best Day Trip - 2012
Point Reyes Lighthouse
Ever feel like life is a series of repeated exercises that bounce you between your office and the couch? Escape the doldrums with a trek north to the Point Reyes Lighthouse in the Marin County headlands. This enduring lighthouse, which opened in 1870, guided seafarers for over 100 years through the second-foggiest waters on the North American continent from one of the windiest places on the Pacific Coast. The 1906 earthquake moved the cast-iron colossus a whopping 18 feet north, but the ever-vigilant lighthouse was only offline for 13 minutes. Visitors can view the original clockworks and the first-order Fresnel lens, manufactured in 1867; perhaps more exciting is the chance to ascend a narrow, 300-step walkway to reach the beacon and survey the surrounding seashore from the equivalent of 30 stories up. Point Reyes — which spans 65,000 acres of grass-tufted dunes, and gives refuge to 1,500 species of plants and animals — celebrates its 50th year as a national seashore in September, which makes it something like the lighthouse itself or the maritime legacy they both represent: They endure.