A visit to Cabrillo National Monument in Southern California

The High point at Point Loma is where the Cabrillo National Monument sits overlooking the massive harbor and San Diego laid out in panoramic view. This monument commemorates the Spaniard explorer, Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo’s setting foot in the Americas at San Diego and exploring this area of California. It fits that this monument sits overlooking the entire region with gorgeous views from above as a national as a national monument with a visitor’s center, museum and the Old Point Lomo lighthouse further uphill to guide ships into the harbor safely.

The visit to San Diego’s only national park is another world away in the peninsula and above the rest of the San Diego metropolis below. The establishment of the monument in 1913 shares the history and founding of California under Spanish expeditions to the New World in Mexico and California.

A visit to Cabrillo National Monument in Southern California

Visiting the Cabrillo National Monument and Center

Located at the tip of Point Loma, the drive to the national monument is very scenic and unobstructed with natural views and no development at the peninsula outside of the naval base, cemetery and housing grounds you drive through before you reach the national monument. The drive leads you to different parts of the park area but a first visit should stop to the visitor’s center which is a good place to start off your tour of the park. You can check out a nice video show, visit a wonderful museum called the “Age of Exploration” and detailing Cabrillo’s discovery of the area and some well-done dioramas and talk with rangers and others in the center to educate and share information about this historic site. You can walk outside to the various vista points and then stroll over to the monument itself which sits right on a bluff overlooking the entire bay and San Diego skyline.

Visiting the Cabrillo National Monument and Center
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Explore the Old Point Lomo Lighthouse

A short walk uphill on a paved path takes you to the Old Point Lomo lighthouse which was built in the 1880s and restored as a living museum to show how the early lighthouse keepers lived and you can actually walk into the light house and check out the rooms with the slanting walls giving you a slice of life in this harsh area during it time frame and use. The interactive exhibits share the story of all the lighthouses in the area and the lifestyle including the gardens grown outside for the owner’s personal consumption. It’s a fascinating self-tour and learning about life and work as a light house caretaker in the late 1880s.

Explore the Old Point Lomo Lighthouse

Hiking around the tidepools and other trails

There are a variety of trails that takes you to different parts of the park and even down to the lower beaches and tidepool areas to explore the coastline area of Point Lomo. You can hike the 2.5-mile Bayside Trail or the coastal Tidepool trail to check out the range of marine and plant life living in the intertidal zones of the park. The coastal areas are picture places to look at for local and migratory birds coming through the area and also spotting migratory whales passing through the area.

Hiking around the spring to summer season is a fantastic time to explore the point and seeing all the California wildflowers blooming all around the park area.

Hiking around the tidepools and other trails
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Further reading

Check out the Cabrillo National Monument site for more information and details about this monument and Cabrillo’s discoveries in the area and other fascinating notes about exploring California.

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If you are looking for places to stay in San Diego area to base yourself while explore all the cool things to do and see around the city, check out all of these fantastic and well-reviewed places to stay below.

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Have you visited the Cabrillo National Monument?
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Have you visited the Cabrillo National Monument?

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