My last night in California, I decided to stay at an old lighthouse turned hostel right on the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s called Montara Lighthouse.
NoCal 2015 Day 4: Montara Lighthouse
The decision wasn’t much of a tossup really, though I missed my nieces as soon as I left them, because the other thing I wanted to do before returning to Washington, D.C., was to watch the sunset right by the ocean. I also wanted to inhale as much ocean breeze as possible because it maybe months before I gaze at it again.
I left Modesto just a little pass 1 p.m. and was very fortunate because there wasn’t any traffic at all on the way to the Montara Lighthouse. Montara is a small town near Half Moon Bay, just a mere 28 miles south of San Francisco. I arrived around half past three and was immediately delighted by what I saw, smelled, and heard as I walked towards the check-in desk. The views were stunning. The sun was high above the sky with barely any clouds. Then there was the salty smell of the ocean and the crashing of the waves against the cliffs. It was practically paradise.
Upon reaching the Montara Lighthouse Hostel office, a nice gentleman named Ben checked me in. I also met one of my future roommates, whose name escaped me (apologies!) Thankfully, I was the first one to the room so I had my pick of beds, a perk that I was extremely glad to have especially since it was a six-bed dorm. I chose the bottom bed near the windows so I can see the ocean on both directions. The room was pretty decent considering. It had sufficient hangers, plenty of hooks, and its own bathroom in the room. The only thing I would suggest is for the room to have more outlets.
The hostel has dormitories and private room options but due to its popularity and limited availability, private rooms sell out really quickly. Even our six-bed dorm which remained empty for most of the afternoon, suddenly filled up by nightfall. The hostel has two open kitchens, one with a view of the ocean, and two common room spaces. It also has an outdoor picnic table and a vista lookout equipped with a couple of benches where I spent most of my time while there. Within the Montara Lighthouse hostel property are information plaques that tell visitors about the lighthouse as well as small trails that lead to another lookout location and a small private beach.
After exploring the trail and the beach, I settled on the vista lookout for a bit to work but the ocean proved to be a distraction rather than an inspiration because all I wanted was to look at it. But since I am a professional, I soldiered on and got some work done. Around 6 p.m. I went inside briefly to eat my packed food (leftover from lunch at my cousin’s.) I was tempted to eat outside but the restaurant I wanted to try was closed that night. After dinner, I drove to Half Moon Bay to grab some postcards and a magnet for mum and drove straight back. I wanted to make sure I was around for the sunset.
When I got back, I took a seat at the vista and stayed until it was pitch black. The California sunset was very nice, though not the prettiest I’ve seen in my lifetime. I was able to catch up on some work while I listened to the waves crash. It was exactly how I wanted to end my last night in Northern California.