Cabrillo National Monument

Overview

Cabrillo National Monument is the best way to view San Diego's harbor and skyline. A statue and museum in the visitor center commemorate Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's exploration of the coast of California. On September 28, 1542, Juan Rodriguez 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 visitor center is a good place to start your exploration of the park. The "Age of Exploration" exhibit, films, and ranger-guided programs present interesting insights into the history of Cabrillo. A short walk leads to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. This picturesque structure is restored to its 1880s appearance and presents life as it was for the light-keepers and their families. In the adjacent Assistant Keeper's Quarters, interactive exhibits tell the story of the Lighthouses of Point Loma and, in a nearby historic military building, the exhibit "They Stood the Watch" presents the history of Fort Rosecrans.

In the winter, migrating gray whales can be seen off the coast. Native coastal sage scrub habitat along the Bayside Trail, a scenic two mile 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. Cabrillo National Monument is a great place to take the family to learn about the history of the region, view spectacular views of the bay and the Pacific Ocean and enjoy nature's beauty.

Map

Activities

Seasonality / Weather

Cabrillo National Monument is open 365 days a year, including all weekends and holidays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. For security purposes, the entrance station closes at 4:30 p.m., the main gate into Cabrillo National Monument is closed at 4:45 p.m., and all visitors must exit the park by 5 p.m..

Consider bringing a windbreaker as it can be chilly.

Directions

Driving: 

Follow State Highway 209 south, from Interstate Highways I-5 or I-8, to the tip of Point Loma.

From downtown San Diego
Take Harbor Drive past the airport. Turn left onto Rosecrans Street. Turn right onto Canon Street. Turn left onto Catalina Blvd. (also known as Cabrillo Memorial Drive). Follow Catalina Blvd. all the way to the end

From interstate 5 northbound
Take the Hawthorne Street / airport exit and follow the road to the left under the freeway towards the bay. Turn right onto Harbor Drive Take Harbor Drive past the airport. Turn left onto Rosecrans Street. Turn right onto Canon Street. Turn left onto Catalina Blvd. (also known as Cabrillo Memorial Drive). Follow Catalina Blvd. all the way to the end

From interstate 5 southbound
Take the Rosecrans / Highway 209 Exit. Stay on Rosecrans Street into Point Loma. Turn right onto Canon Street. Turn left onto Catalina Blvd. (also known as Cabrillo Memorial Drive). Follow Catalina Blvd. all the way to the end

From interstate 8 westbound
Take the Rosecrans / Highway 209 Exit. Stay on Rosecrans Street into Point Loma. Turn right onto Canon Street. Turn left onto Catalina Blvd. (also known as Cabrillo Memorial Drive). Follow Catalina Blvd. all the way to the end

Flying: 

Plane - San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field) serves the area, and is within sight of the monument. Follow State Highway 209 south, from Interstate Highways I-5 and I-8, to the tip of Point Loma. Major car rental agencies are available in San Diego

Public Transport: 

Public transportation is an environmentally-sound way to visit Cabrillo National Monument.

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) offers bus service throughout the county, including hourly stops daily at Cabrillo National Monument via Routes 28 and 84C. For added convenience, the bus stop is located right at the Visitor Center complex.

Taking the bus to the park is a great choice to reduce congestion and pollution, and a relaxing way to enjoy the scenic road on top of Point Loma. Please note that the bus does not go to the tidepool area on the west side of the park.

Taxicabs and local tour companies also serve the park.