November 28, 2022

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Just Do Travel

Once free, Bay Area’s Point Bonita Lighthouse tour to begin charging fees

Evening tours of the Point Bonita Lighthouse could return as soon as May this year, allowing visitors a chance to see the historic lighthouse in action after sunset, but for the first time, the park is adding a fee for the tour.

The sliding scale ranges from $16 for adults (ages 16 and up), $10 for children between the ages of 7 to 15 and $8 for both seniors and “access pass” holders. These fees are only during the Point Bonita Lighthouse Evening Tour, and there will be no fee charged during the lighthouse’s public hours on Sunday and Monday from 12:30-3:30 p.m. The lighthouse opened to the public for the first time in two years last month.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area announced it will begin charging or raising its parking fees at two other locations within the park to generate revenue for its operations. 

Two parking lots within the Presidio change their fee structure as soon as April 1. The two lots are near Fort Point — the Battery East lot and the West Bluff lot — and already have a fee system of $1.60/hour and $7 daily max. Beginning in April, the payments increase to $3/hour and $10 daily max at both lots.

At the Northwest Commuter lot, located on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge off Conzelman Road on the western side of Highway 101, it will cost $3/hour and $10 daily max fees beginning sometime in the next two years. This is the first time the lot will include a fee. 

Evening tours of the Point Bonita Lighthouse will begin charging visitors a fee. 

Evening tours of the Point Bonita Lighthouse will begin charging visitors a fee. 

Jason Sanqui/Moment Editorial/Getty Images

Nearly 14 million people visited the park last year, and the fees are a response to the increased foot and car traffic.

“As a result of heavy visitation, many of our facilities received higher use than in previous years,” said Julian Espinoza, spokesperson for the park. “The money will go to park operations, custodial services and visitor protection, including coastal rescue operations.”


Espinoza added that this new fee system followed a public engagement period that considered also adding fees to parking at eight coastal areas in San Francisco and Marin counties. Following public response, the park decided to only add fees for the evening lighthouse tour and for the Northwest Commuter lot.