On September 28, 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo landed at San Diego Bay. This event marked the first time that a European expedition had set foot on what later became the west coast of the United States. His accomplishments were memorialized on October 14, 1913 with the establishment of Cabrillo National Monument.
The park offers a superb view of San Diego’s harbor and skyline. At the highest point of the park stands the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which has been a San Diego icon since 1854. A statue and museum in the Visitor Center commemorate Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo's exploration of the coast of California. In a former army building an exhibit tells the story of the coast artillery on Point Loma. In the winter, migrating gray whales can be seen off the coast. Native coastal sage scrub habitat along the Bayside Trail offers a quiet place to reflect and relax. On the west side of the park is a small but beautiful stretch of rocky-intertidal coastline.
Many visitors come to Cabrillo National Monument simply to enjoy the dramatic view of San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The park has one of the best harbor views in world! To the east, the skyline of downtown San Diego framed by the Cuyamaca mountains serves as a backdrop to the bay. To the south, visitors can see Mexico across the shimmering waters of the bay and, to the west, the Pacific ocean extends to the horizon and beyond. Four hundred feet below the park overlooks, it is common to see sailboats, commercial ships and ships of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet glide in and out of the harbor entrance.
Park overlooks are open during normal park operating hours. For a unique perspective of the city and harbor, take a two-mile walk along the Bayside Trail which starts at the lighthouse. Ranger-led harbor-view talks are sometimes given on the Visitor Center patio.
Passenger Vehicle: $5.00
Walk-ins, bicycles, motorcycles: $3.00 per person
Follow State Highway 209 south, from Interstate Highways I-5 or I-8, to the tip of Point Loma.