Cabrillo National Monument

Light House


We stumbled upon Cabrillo National Monument by accident on our last trip to San Diego. I had heard about the tide pools at Point Loma, and we were interested in checking them out, so we headed in that direction.  The drive through the Point Loma Ecological Conservation Area and past the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is absolutely beautiful.

 Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo Statue

Cabrillo National Monument is a tribute to Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo. Cabrillo was an explorer who is believed to have been the first European to set foot onto the west coast of what is now the United States.  He is considered by many to be the founder of San Diego, since he first landed there in 1542. Kid with Night Halmet on


To get to the Cabrillo National Monument, you actually drive onto the old Naval base, which was a little strange, but pretty cool.  The National Parks pay station is near the end of the Point Loma peninsula.  You must pay (or use your National Parks Pass) to enter the park area.  It really is worth it, because there are so many interesting things to see. 


We drove down and visited the tidepools first, because we were getting there right at low tide.  You do have to check online daily to see when the lowest tide times are, in order to get the most out of a visit to the tidepools.  It was really neat to see the tidepools and the amazing cliffs in the area.  We definitely want to go back in January or February sometime, because it is also supposed to be a great area to view the migration of the Gray Whales.

 Cabrillo National Monument1

After we saw the tidepools, we drove along the road to the wastewater facility, then turned around.  The road offers several vantage points for spectacular ocean views and photo opportunities. Light Lenses


We headed to the Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center next.  The Visitor Center has a lot to offer. They have a nice, informative museum, a movie, some hands on interactive displays, as well as costumed staff. There is also a Coast Defense Exhibit and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The Visitor Center also had vending snacks and drinks for sale, as well as a good size gift shop.  The best part of the Visitor Center was the views of San Diego. If you are there on a clear day, it would make some amazing pictures.  There are also some beautiful areas to picnic and see the views.


To get the old Point Loma Lighthouse you need to walk up a path across from the Visitor Center. It was an easy path to take, but it was on a slight uphill incline.  I walked all the way with my broken foot in a boot, with no problems. It just took me longer than some!  However, I did find out that you can get a special pass to drive to the lighthouse at the entrance station, if you are unable to walk to it. Once you are at the lighthouse, it is worth taking a moment to look at the little museum and go inside the lighthouse to see how they lived. It was very interesting to learn about the lighthouse keepers and their families, as well as the technology of the time.

 Junior Ranger Program

The new lighthouse is down below, in the Coast Guard area. As it turns out, the Old Lighthouse was only used in the 1800’s until they found that it was located in an area that was affected by fog too.  So, a new lighthouse was built. You can see it near the tidepools but it is fenced off.


The little kids participated in the Jr. Ranger program at the park. They got their booklets and badges at the Visitor Center. It was simple, age appropriate, and interesting. As always, they loved getting their badges!Sign


If you have a few hours, or half a day, I would highly recommend checking out Cabrillo National Monument.  Who knew that just outside of the hustle and bustle of the city of San Diego lay this amazing sanctuary with such beautiful views! We sure are glad we stumbled upon it!




You can find Cabrillo National Monument at:

1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr., San Diego, CA 92106