Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 Reviews

1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive (619) 557-5450

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  • Cabrillo National Monument
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  • Cabrillo National Monument
    by Yaqui
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    Cabrillo tide pools
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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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    Cabrillo National Monument

    by caseyso Updated Aug 10, 2008

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    Cabrillo depicted to be looking out over the bay

    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.

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    Old Point Loma Keepers Quarters - Exhibit

    by Yaqui Written Jul 30, 2008

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    Just some of the wonderful exhibit
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    The assistant keeper had their own quarters and was constructed at the same time as the lighthouse. It now serves as the Lighthouse Exhibit. It is filled with some really nice information about the keepers and what they endured. Please don't miss it. Take the time to explore and read some of the wonderful features and facts. Some really nice displays.

    22 assistant keepers had lived here and two of those assistant keepers where including two women Eliza Jenkins and Maria Israel who keep the light glowing welcoming sailors to safety into San Diego harbor.

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    Old Point Loma Lighthouse - 1855-1891

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 30, 2008

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    New picture of the light house, 2008
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    There are two light houses. The first was complete in 1855, keeper James P. Keating lit the oil lamp for the first time and keeper Robert Israel was the last that had served 21 years here. It was in serviced for 36 years with 11 keepers and 22 assistant keepers including two women Eliza Jenkins and Maria Israel who keep the light glowing welcoming sailors to safety into San Diego harbor.

    Eventually another was built closer since the other was 422 feet to high, since fog was closer to the shore, so the newer one was built closer in 1891 so the ships could see the newer light house better.

    You can go inside and see the interior behind secure door with viewing glass. It is nice to see to so you can understand the hardships and yet the comforts during this time period. There is a really neat spiral wood stair case that takes you to the top quarters. Be careful because it is steep and narrow.

    Saturday and Sunday, March 1 - 2, and March 15 - 16

    9:00 a.m.

    Bird Watching Tours – Mendocino Coast Audubon Society

    10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Daily

    California Historical Landmark NO. 51 OLD POINT LOMA LIGHTHOUSE and on the National Register of Historical Landmarks

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    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-Old Point Loma Lighthouse

    by Dabs Updated May 4, 2008

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    Old Point Loma Lighthouse
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    While at Cabrillo National Monument, you can visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Park in the parking lot for the Visitor Center and walk up the hill to get to the Lighthouse, don't confuse it with the Point Loma Light Station closer to the tidepools, I was looking for parking down there but it is part of the US Coast Guard station and there is no access.

    The Old Point Loma Lighthouse was the 1st lighthouse in San Diego and was operational from 1855-1891 when they built the other lighthouse at the lower elevation. The Old Lighthouse's serious flaw was that it was built at 422 feet above sea level, the fog and low clouds made the old lighthouse difficult to see.

    You can visit the interior of the lighthouse which has been restored and furnished to look like it would have back in the 1880s when the Israel family lived there and imagine what it would have been like to live in such confined quarters. Inside the assistant keeper's quarters you can see the French made brass and crystal light that was used to guide ships.

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    Cabrillo National Monument

    by Dabs Written May 4, 2008

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    Cabrillo monument
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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.

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    Cabrillo National Monument tide pools

    by Dabs Updated May 4, 2008

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    Cabrillo tide pools
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    The tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument were a bit of a disappointment for me, I had really wanted to see the tide pools so I looked up to see when low tide was and headed over for the afternoon low tide so I could see the creatures that hang out in the tide pools when the tide goes out. If I had read the website more carefully I would have realized that I wasn't going at the right time, the low tide should be a negative number for optimal viewing and this happens most frequently during daylight hours in the winter but also at certain times of the month depending on the cycle of the moon. So I didn't get to see any sea creatures at all. If you do hit low tide you should be able to see crabs, starfish, sea urchins and maybe even a squid.

    Check either the salt water tides site for the time of low tide or the projections on the NPS website, remembering that the tide pool area is only open between 9 am-4:30 pm and the National Park closes at 5pm. For my visit, the really low tide was at 6am, at the other low tide at 4:30pm it was still at 2 feet which wasn't low enough to see anything.

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    Worth the time to go

    by kooka3 Written Nov 18, 2007
    Cabrillo lighthouse
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    I had no idea what to expect when I went out to Cabrillo, but it was a lot of fun, and there were gorgeous views of San Diego Harbor as well as the Pacific. There's a lot to learn at the tidal pools, the lighthouse, and the visitors center. Plan 1-2 hours, especially of you stay for one or two of the films at the visitor's center.

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    Cabrillo National Monument

    by Tom_Fields Updated Oct 15, 2007

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    Park entrance
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    Juan Cabrillo was a Portuguese sailor in the service of the Spanish Navy during the early 16th century. He was the first European explorer to set foot in what is now southern California.

    This spit of land overlooks San Diego, providing the best views of the bay. The lighthouse is the highest in the country. It's often obscured by the fog, so a new one was built closer to the water's edge. Today, it's no longer in use.

    Nearby is Ft Rosecrans National Cemetery. A burial ground since at least 1847, it is now a California Registered historic landmark. Today, over 70,000 veterans are buried here.

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    Cabrillo LightHouse

    by anagrettel Written May 3, 2007

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    cabrillo Light House
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    In November 15, 1855 the keeper lit the light for the first time. Located 422 feet above sea level, but it had a serious flaw; Fog and low clouds often obscured the light. In 1891 the light was extinguished and the keeper moved to a new lighthouse built closer to the water.

    Today, you can visit the interior of the lighthouse, and learn about how the lighthouse work and was build.

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    Cabrillo National Monument

    by anagrettel Updated May 3, 2007

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    Cabrillo view
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    Named after Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to explore California, sailing under the flag of Spain. Cabrilllo, is believe to have been born in Portugal,he took part in the exploration of Mexico under Hernan Cortez. Cabrillo commanded 2 ships to explore the Pacific Coast. And in 1642, he sighted San Diego, the San pedro bay, San Cataline Island and Santa Monica Bay.In 1543 he died from complication of a serious fall and broken leg, he is believe to have been buried in the Channel Islands.

    Today, you can find Cabrillo Monument overlooking San Diego Bay, the view is spectacular!. There's also a light house,walking trails, whale observation, a visitors center with a small museum about Cabrillo explorations, great views of the city over the harbor, that are the best part.

    Fee: $ 4 per vehicle, $2 per person walking or bicicle.

    Hours: 9-5

    Whale Season (Dec. 15 - March 1)

    Others: Rattlesnakes are sometimes seen specially on the trail. Pets are not Allowed.

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  • wwliu's Profile Photo

    Point Loma

    by wwliu Written Apr 12, 2007

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    Of course there is a very interesting museum. However, I prefer the location which can view the whole city. Standing there, the San Diego bay does under the foot. The Downtown in front of view. I like that feeling.

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    Cabrillo National Park

    by tvdandy Written Jan 7, 2007

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    beautiful lighthouse
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    A way to spend a glorious half day is to head out to Cabrillo National Park. What is there is a historic lighthouse, a cool monument overlooking San Diego Bay, and some wonderful trails all around the lighthouse area with breathtaking ocean views. This is located in the Fishing town of Point Luma. This is really a good place to bring your camera for great Lighthouse shots, which are always kind of fun.

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    Cabrillo National Monument

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Sep 30, 2006

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    The Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma across the harbor from downtown San Diego marks the spot where the first European explorer set foot in the present-day United States. In 1542 the expedition led by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who fought under Hernan Cortes in earlier battles with the Aztecs, landed here at Point Loma after setting sail from Mexico. Cabrillo died as the expedition continued, but his men explored as far as Oregon before turning back.

    Cabrillo National Park has a light house, whale observation overlook, trails, a visitors center, great views of the city over the harbor, and rocky beaches.

    Entrance is $5 per vehicle or $3 per person if biking or walking.

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