Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego

4.5 out of 5 stars 46 Reviews

1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive (619) 557-5450

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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    The view is awesome!

    by travelgourmet Updated Jul 30, 2014

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    Not know by many tourists, due to the unbelievable amount of things to see and do in San Diego, but it is awe inspiring to see the view from the old Point Loma Lighthouse parking area. The entire city skyline is before you as well as the North Island Naval Air Station with the Coronado Bridge behind beckoning you come explore this beautiful city by the bay. Start right here by checking out the Lighthouse and the history it holds. Then see if you can spot a submarine coming into the harbor below your perch in the sky.

    The Visitor Center is on the same level as the parking lot and you must see the displays of Juan Cabrillo and his journey to the west coast. The look inside the center shows you what the old ships that sailed looked like and there is a theatre that shows movies. The show I saw was of the humpback whales migration. Out front, with the ocean as a backdrop is a statue in honor of Juan Cabrillo.

    Statue in honor of  Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. Graphics of a Spanish Galleon. Cabrillo's Mission Statement. A stark reminder.
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  • davesut's Profile Photo

    Monument Moment

    by davesut Written Mar 22, 2014

    Enjoyed the visit to the National Monument.
    - Good views of the bay area
    - good info in the information centre
    - a walk along the beach
    - a self guided tour of the old lighthouse
    - talks and video presentations (although did not stay for this)

    Take your own food and drinks there if you can.

    I reckon this place was good for 2-4 hours, a good afternoon excurion

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    Lighting the Way

    by goodfish Updated Dec 30, 2013

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    For information and my reviews on this historic spot, please see my Cabrillo National Monument pages:

    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/8da3d/b7732/

    Cabrillo National Monument
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  • tampa_shawn's Profile Photo

    Point Loma - Cabrilo National Park

    by tampa_shawn Updated Nov 11, 2013

    Cabrillo National Park is in Point Loma which is on a little spit just south of San Diego. It is one of the US's smallest national parks and one of the busiest. While this area is only 8-9 miles south of downtown San Diego it is easy to make a day out of it.

    There are quite a few things worth doing in this park and in the surrounding area
    1) Go at low tide to see the tide pools - Cabrillo National Park
    2) whale watching (winter) - do bring your binoculars - Cabrillo National Park
    3) Old Point Loma Lighthouse - Cabrillo National Park
    4) visit the visitors center - do one of the ranger talks there - they also have free movies I have seen both the whale one and the title pool one. the title pool one is VERY good.- Cabrillo National Park
    5) take a hike - Afoot & Afield (THE hiking guidebook for San Diego) has several hikes
    a) the bayside trail - 2 miles - easy hike - well marked from the park itself - Cabrillo National Park
    b) cliff side trail - 1 mile -easy
    6) visit the town of Point Loma
    * see the university http://www.pointloma.edu/
    * Dinner out - Point Loma Seafood - on the cliffs off of Emerson Street has great views
    * window shop and drive around to the various beaches
    7) stop at Rosecrants National Cemetery http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/ftrosecrans.asp
    8) watch the sunset

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Discover San Diego's Point Loma

    by Jefie Written Oct 31, 2013

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    If like me you're only expecting to see a statue when you visit Cabrillo National Monument, you'll be happily disappointed! Cabrillo National Monument is in fact a park that covers the tip of Point Loma. There are many things to see and do, so you need to set aside at least 2-3 hours to make the most of your visit. The park is named after Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the explorer credited for discovering San Diego in 1542. There is a statue of Cabrillo near the visitor center. Things to do include a tour of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, built in 1854 and in operation from 1855 to 1891. The keeper's quarters give some information about the keeper's duties and how he spent his free time in this secluded spot. It's also well worth making the quick detour to see the park's tide pools; the hiking trail that goes along the rocky coastline allows visitors to see the aquatic fauna that lives in the tide pools, especially at low tide - make sure to wear comfortable shoes as the rocks can be quite slippery. Another nice hiking trail in the park is the Bayside Trail, a 1.5 mile (one way) trail that runs along the edge of Point Loma, offering nice views of the city and the San Diego Bay.

    Old Point Loma Lighthouse View along the Bayside Trail Juan Rodr��guez Cabrillo statue One of the park's tidal pools On the tidal pools hiking trail
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  • garridogal's Profile Photo

    Vistas baby!

    by garridogal Updated Oct 4, 2013

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    Point Cabrillo has a museum about the San Diego's Spanish history as well as a lighthouse, but if you ask me, the view's the thing here. Perched at the top of a hill, you can see downtown, Coronado, the sea, and on a clear day maybe Barbra Streisand.

    It was hot the day we went to Cabrillo but I could easily picture taking a nice nature walk there when it's cooler. Hey, there's another reason to go back to SD!

    Stunning vistas The monument Downtown Succulents and sea The lighthouse
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  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Early Exploration of California

    by Basaic Written Jan 5, 2013

    Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo spent much of his life exploring "the new world" which would later become parts of Central and North America. On 27 June 1542, Cabrillo and his men sailed three ships north to "discover the shores of New Spain" (the west coast of the United States). On 28 September 1542 Cabrillo entered a harbor and set foot on a pristine sandy beach he names San Miguel (what is now San Diego). In 1913 Cabrillo National Monument was established on the southern tip of Loma Point to commemorate the life and explorations of Cabrillo. Attractions at the park include: A Visitors Center with a few historical displays; A Monument to Cabrillo; the Old Lighthouse with interesting displays and living area; the New Lighthouse; a couple of Coastal Military Displays; and a Hiking Trail. The park also offers great views of San Diego and the Pacific Ocean. Over 25,000 Gray Whales migrate past this point. You can take a drive down to the shoreline and explore tide pools or enjoy the majestic cliffs. The parks also preserves some unique plant and animal life.
    For more details and photos, see my Cabrillo National Monument Page (coming soon).

    Visitors Center Cabrillo Monument Old Lightouse New Lighthouse Military Exhibit
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  • al_mary's Profile Photo

    Cabrillo National Monument #1

    by al_mary Updated Apr 4, 2011

    The Cabrillo National Monument was
    established in 1913, to commemorate
    Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo's voyage of
    discovery.

    We had a great time here, great place
    with alot of history for the whole family.

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  • pacific_sol's Profile Photo

    Panoramic Views and San Diego History

    by pacific_sol Written Sep 30, 2009

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    Cabrillo National Monument, located at the tip of Point Loma, is a great place to get panoramic views of much of San Diego County and into Tijuana, Mexico. The monument is at the top of a hill and on very clear days, you can see the local mountains about 40 miles inland to the east and the Coronado Islands to the south (part of Mexico). This national monument is named after Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who led the first European exploration of the West Coast of North America. Legend has it that he stepped ashore at what is present day Ballast Point, which you can see below you when you are at the visitor's center. You can also visit the old Point Loma Lighthouse, a 19th century lighthouse that guided ships into San Diego Bay until a more modern lighthouse was built closer to the water. There are also several nature hikes you can take at the Monument, and you can also visit tidepools. To get here, you'll have to drive through a US Naval Installation, and you'll also pass by Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. There is a visitor's center with historical information, as well as a gift shop. Parking is free but there is an entrance fee to get into the national monument - the fee allows you to return as many times as you'd like within one week. They are open 365 days a year but just be aware in the late spring (May and June), views are often obsured by the marine layer, which are low lying clouds that roll onshore from the ocean in the afternoon and are affectionately referred to by the locals as "May Gray" and "June Gloom."

    Statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center Looking SE to Ballast Point, Coronado, Downtown Lighthouse/Coronado Islands in distance
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  • csordila's Profile Photo

    The explorer of California

    by csordila Updated Mar 7, 2009

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    The Portuguese explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo led the first European expedition to land on the west coast of America and discovered Point Loma peninsula in 1542.

    Atop Point Loma stand the star attraction, the four and half meter high, sandstone Cabrillo statue by Alvaro de Bree, a gift of Portugal to the state of California. The statue had long been sought by San Diegans, particularly by the Portuguese community, as one of their own.
    The actual spot where Cabrillo stepped ashore is on a spit of land downhill at Ballast Point. This magnificent statue is a worthy tribute to the brave explorer and his men, who ventured across uncharted seas to claim new territory for Spain.
    The original sculpture has been badly damaged in the salty ocean air and was brought indoors for restoration. An exact replica from denser limestone was dedicated in 1988.

    At the highest point of the park stands the Old Lighthouse providing a panoramic view of the harbor and coastline, On clear days you can see the downtown, Mexican border and far out to sea. From here, you can watch as boats and ships go in and out of the harbor. With luck, you may even see the Marines practicing airborne or amphibious assaults, or Navy warships patrolling the coastline. It is an ideal spot for solitude and contemplation.

    In the visitor center you can find a museum, bookstore, gift shop, some vending machines offering snack food, and a small theatre, showing films about the history of the park.

    Open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm. For security reasons, the main gate is closed at 4:45pm, and all visitors have to leave by 5:00pm.

    Statue of Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo ...panoramic view of the harbor and coastline Interstate 5-San Diego Freeway South Cabrillo painting in Visitor Center
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  • AVG2319's Profile Photo

    Cabrillo National Monument & Museum

    by AVG2319 Updated Nov 10, 2008

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    The first time we visited here it was really foggy, a shame because on a clear day you can see to Mexico and the views from Cabrillo National Monument are incredible. We were happy to visit on a clear day this time and enjoy the views of the bay, the city and the many ships and sailboats below.
    Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo,was a Portuguese explorer, who departed from Mexico to explore the west coast of what is present day California. He was the first European explorer to navigate the coast and on September 28, 1542, he landed in what is now San Diego Bay and named it "San Miguel". A national monument in his likeness was constructed in 1913 at the tip of the Point Loma Peninsula. There is also a museum and visitor center to explore the history of this area. This area is a great spot to take photos of San Diego,learn some of its history and take in the beauty of southern California.
    Cabrillo National Monument is the most southwesterly spot in the contiguous United States.

    Cabrillo Monument Cabrillo Monument Coronado
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  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Cabrillo National Monument Vistor Center

    by Yaqui Written Oct 11, 2008

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    Here you will find a wealth of information about the park. The books store offers many publications about the local area, plant life, wild life, and the military history that still abounds here. There are snack machines and restrooms too. Take the time to stroll around the building and enjoy the beautiful vista views of the bay, sailing ships, and awesome San Diego.

    Here at the center you will find restrooms and vending machines too.

    Cabrillo National Monument is open 365 days a year, including all weekends and holidays, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
    (619) 222-4747

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  • caseyso's Profile Photo

    Cabrillo National Monument

    by caseyso Updated Aug 10, 2008

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    Cabrillo National Monument is a depiction of Jose Rodriguez Cabrillo's landing at San Diego Bay at September 28, 1542. It was established October 14, 1913, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

    Here, you will see the statue of Cabrillo dramatically overlooking the bay. During one Sunday of October of each year, the Cabrillo Festival Open House is being held, where a reenactment of his landing is presented.

    A lighthouse, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, stands on the highest point of the park, and has been a San Diego attraction since the 1800's. This was closed down at one point, and was later re-opened at a lower location in the park.

    As you go walking around the park, you will witness various former military installations used in the past to protect San Diego from foreign attackers.

    Aside from these man-made attractions, the park is also rich in natural attractions. Since it is located along the bay, during winter, migrating gray whales can be seen off the coast. There are also a number of species of birds flying around the park. On the west side of the park, there is a beautiful rock formation where tidal pools are present during low tide.

    Cabrillo depicted to be looking out over the bay
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  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Cabrillo Point Monument Statue

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 29, 2008

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    Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo led the first European expedition to explore what is now the west coast of the United States. Cabrillo departed from the port of Navidad, Mexico, on June 27, 1542. Three months later he arrived at "a very good enclosed port." That port is known today as San Diego bay. Historians believe he anchored his flagship, the San Salvador, on Point Loma's east shore near Cabrillo National Monument. Cabrillo later died during the expedition, but his crew pushed on, possibly as far north as Oregon, before thrashing winter storms forced them to back to Mexico.

    This area offers some wonderful breath taking views. It was really neat to visit it again and taking in the wonderful beautiful day. Gosh, we love the ocean. The boys had a great time!

    Daily: 9:00 - 5:15. Open until 6:15 p.m. during the summer, July 4 through Labor Day. Winter and spring are especially good times to visit the park.

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    Cabrillo National Monument

    by Dabs Written May 4, 2008

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    Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was the first European to set foot on the west coast of the United States, 50 years after Christopher Columbus landed in the US. He sailed north from Mexico with three ships, the San Salvador, the Victoria and the San Miguel. Much of his life is unknown, it is uncertain if he was Spanish or Portugese, no one knows where he is buried or how he died and his navigational logs were lost. The land here was set aside for a National Park in his honor in 1913, it is one of the most visited national monuments in the US, I suspect more for the view of the surrounding area and the tide pools than to pay homage to the explorer. I had never heard of him before coming here so it wasn't something taught in my schools here in the midwest part of the country.

    I visited the tidepools first, then drove up to the Visitor Center to see the Point Loma Lighthouse and have a brief stop at the Visitor Center. There is a statue of Cabrillo near the Visitor Center and a nice view over the San Diego Bay, the Naval Air Station and you can even make out the blue bridge going from downtown San Diego into Coronado.

    The Visitor Center has an auditorium where you can watch a movie on Cabrillo or the area, during grey whale season they also run a movie on them. You can also visit the "Age of Exploration" exhibit if you want to learn more about Cabrillo.

    Admission to the National Park is $5 per car and is good for 7 days, $3 if you walk, bike or ride a motorcycle. The National Park is open from 9am-5pm.

    Cabrillo monument View of San Diego Bay View of the naval base and downtown San Diego

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