Map &
Directions

Hours
mode_edit
Been here?
Rate it
chevron_left
 
chevron_right

Top Tours

 
San Diego GoCar Tour
"Venture into parts of San Diego that tour buses cannot go! Your self-drive tour by GoCar can take anywhere from one hour to a full day depending on which option you select on booking. Explore San Diego sights on your own schedule — just pick up a GoCar see what you want and bring the vehicle back when your time is up. Each 3-wheeled car seats two and has a lockable trunk for your belongings. The small size makes parking a breeze and in San Diego that's a major bonus. You can even squeeze the tiny vehicle into motorcycle parking. No experience is necessary and you will receive helmets and a briefing on how to operate the car before you head out.The talking GPS highlights specific locations throughout San Diego as you drive and provides clear directions and informative facts on notable sights. See the Itinerary below for suggested routes and time options available.Price is per person based on two passengers per car."
From $31.00
 
San Diego Seal Tour
"This 90-minute fully-narrated journey departs from Seaport Village located on Harbor Drive at the Embarcadero. As you travel along the beautiful Big Bay by land you will hear stories of early sailors as well as the history of the 14-mile long working bay. You also will learn about the importance of the military in San Diego. Pass by San Diego International Airport dedicated to aviator Charles Lindbergh just one of the many people you will hear about on your San Diego Seal Tour. Then you will splash down into the San Diego Bay off Shelter Island where you begin the water-tour segment of the journey. As the seal travels through the north end of the Big Bay keep your eyes peeled for a chance encounter with a California brown pelican. The Big Bay provides views of Point Loma
From $39.00
 
Coastal Tour of San Diego
"Departs from downtown and go through Point Loma Rosecrans National Cemetary and the 3rd fleet naval base up to Cabrillo National Monument where we stop for 40-minutes to enjoy the incredible views museum and lighthouse. We descend down to Sunset cliffs park where we stop for a few minutes and continue on to Newport Ave in Ocean Beach famous for its Haight Ashbury Hippie Vibe. The van goes through Mission Bay park
From $129.00

Cabrillo National Monument Tips (46)

The view is awesome!

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.

travelgourmet's Profile Photo
travelgourmet
Jul 30, 2014

Cabrillo Point Monument Statue

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.

Yaqui's Profile Photo
Yaqui
Jul 29, 2008

Cabrillo National Monument Vistor Center

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

Yaqui's Profile Photo
Yaqui
Oct 11, 2008

---

The Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the exploration of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo to California. The park is open for day use only (9am - 5:15pm) and charges an entrance fee of $5.00 per car for a 7-day pass and $2.00 for pedestrians and cyclists. The highlights of the park include it's sweeping views of the bay city and neighboring Mexico, as well as the Cabrillo statue, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, the whale overlook, walking trails, and the tidepool area (to which you must drive to). This is a great spot for photo opps and just admiring the beautiful city that is San Diego.

Phalaenopsis03's Profile Photo
Phalaenopsis03
Apr 04, 2006
 
 
Sponsored Listings

Hotels Near Cabrillo National Monument

Hotels
1551 Shelter Island Dr, (formerly Shelter Pointe Hotel), San Diego, California, 92106, United States
Show Prices
Hotels
2051 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, California, 92106, United States
Show Prices
Hotels
2131 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, California, 92106, United States
Show Prices
Hotels
2303 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego, California, 92106, United States
Show Prices
Hotels
1150 Rosecrans Street, San Diego, California, CA 92106, United States
Show Prices
Hotels
1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, California, 92118, United States
Show Prices

The explorer of California

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.

csordila's Profile Photo
csordila
Mar 07, 2009

Cabrillo National Monument

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.

Dabs's Profile Photo
Dabs
May 04, 2008

Cabrillo National Monument tide pools

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.

Dabs's Profile Photo
Dabs
May 04, 2008

Cabrillo National Monument

The view from this monument is one of the best in San Diego. The monument is named after Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo who stumbled upon San Diego Bay in 1542.

Aside from the statue commemorating Cabrillo, another notable landmark is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse that stands tall amidst the park. There's views of a naval station, Coronado Bridge as well as the rest of Coronado Island, the Pacific Ocean, and even Mexico.

arasnosliw
Jan 15, 2005

Top 5 San Diego Writers

lmkluque's Profile Photo

lmkluque

"San Diego, California"
View Member
Yaqui's Profile Photo

Yaqui

"San Diego ~San Dieguito"
View Member
Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

Jim_Eliason

"Jim_Eliason's San Diego Page"
View Member
Pawtuxet's Profile Photo

Pawtuxet

"Warm up to San Diego"
View Member
matcrazy1's Profile Photo

matcrazy1

"PAGE DEDICATED TO LINDA (lmkluque on VT)"
View Member
 
 

Panoramic Views and San Diego History

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."

pacific_sol's Profile Photo
pacific_sol
Sep 30, 2009

Whale Watching

Each winter (late December through mid-February), Pacific Gray Whales pass through Point Loma on their annual 12,000 mile migration. So if you love to whale-watch, the best spot for you to view the whales is from the western overlooks of the national park. Just DON'T forget to bring your binoculars!

Phalaenopsis03's Profile Photo
Phalaenopsis03
May 29, 2006

Cabrillo National Monument

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.

anagrettel's Profile Photo
anagrettel
May 03, 2007

Vistas baby!

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!

garridogal's Profile Photo
garridogal
Oct 04, 2013

Things to Do Near Cabrillo National Monument

Things to Do

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

This area has been a burial ground since before 1847. It became a post cemetery in the 1860s, and a national cemetery in 1934. Most of the people who fell at San Pasqual in 1846 and the victims on the...
View More
Things to Do

Point Loma

I always do something to honor our vets on Veterans day. This year I went to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. There were no ceremonies or anything when I was there just families. Fort Rosecrants is...
View More
Things to Do

Seaport Village

While walking by the water of the Seaport Village we came upon this man who was stacking rocks in interesting formations. He was happily going about the task and only required you throw a donation in...
View More
Things to Do

U.S.S. Midway

This is listed as one of the VERY Top things to do in town. On some lists it's #1. We were in town for 4 full days and this was the only thing he asked to do and he really enjoyed it. Personally I'm...
View More
Things to Do

SD Convention Center

San Diego Convention Center, steps away from Gaslamp Quarter, is a huge downtown venue beloved by a great variety of visitors every year. Usually attended by business types, the center is great for...
View More
Things to Do

Museum of Contemporary Art

Located at 700 Prospect Street, right near La Jolla Cove, this museum and a distinctive shipwreck sculpture that makes is hard to miss. This is one of two contemporary art museum locations, the newer...
View More

Getting to Cabrillo National Monument

Address

1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive

Hours

  • Sunday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Monday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Tuesday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Wednesday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Thursday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Friday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Saturday 09:00 to 17:00

Map