• The tidepools of Cabrillo National Monument


    National Monument California

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  • Cabrillo National Monument Theater Closed on Selected Dates

    Due to National Park Service alternate uses, the Cabrillo National Monument theater will be closed to the public on the following dates: October 28 all day, October 29 9am-12pm, November 6, 2014 12pm-5pm. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

Cabrillo Festival

Colorful Spanish dancers
Folkloric dancers are a highlight of the Cabrillo Festival.
NPS Photo

Cabrillo Festival – Held each year at the end of September at Ballast Point, the Site Where Cabrillo Came Ashore in 1542

Be a part of history and welcome 16th century explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo as he steps ashore on Ballast Point on for the annual Cabrillo Festival.

Sailing under the Spanish flag and taking those first steps onto what is now Ballast Point, Cabrillo became the first European to set foot on the west coast of what would become the United States of America.

The Cabrillo Festival is a fun event for the entire family, with educational activities, cultural demonstrations, and exciting folkloric performances. Brightly colored clothing and dramatic music and dancing bring to life the traditions of the Native American, Mexican, Portuguese, and Spanish cultures that are part of the Age of Exploration. The Festival features booths with traditional foods, and cultural artisans will showcase their wares.

Kumeyaay Indians demonstrate intricate basket weaving techniques and how to prepare acorns to eat, while flint knappers show how Native Americans made arrow points, knives, and scrapers.

Historic re-enactors offer a glimpse into daily life of the 16th century soldiers and sailors who explored New Spain with Cabrillo, Coronado, and DeSoto.

The highlight of the Festival is the re-enactment of Cabrillo’s landing on the shores of San Diego Bay. Cabrillo, his soldiers, and a priest sail into the bay on the San Salvador (represented by the Californian), and once again claim the land for Spain.

For more information, click here to visit the official Cabrillo Festival website.

Spanish dancers
Colorful Spanish dancers delight visitors to the Cabrillo Festival.
NPS Photo
Cabrillo lands on Ballast Point
Cabrillo lands on Ballast Point and claims the land for Spain.
NPS Photo
Aztec dancer
Dynamic Aztec dancers bring color and sound to the Cabrillo Festival, with drums, rattles, and conch shell calls.
NPS Photo
16th century ladies of Cabrillo Festival
Sixteenth century ladies adorn the Cabrillo Festival.
NPS Photo

Did You Know?


Did you know that the tidepools at Cabrillo National Monument are one of the last and best-preserved rocky Intertidal areas open to the public in Southern California?