Plan Your Visit
Activities at Cabrillo National Monument are as varied as the resources:
• Who was Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo? Find out more about the 16th century explorer that the park is named for.
• Hiking: The two-mile Bayside Trail affords spectacular views of San Diego Bay and the city beyond, and takes you through one of the last remaining remnants of coastal sage scrub habitat in the world. The Coastal Tidepool Trail provides views along the ocean leading to the tidepools.
• Tidepooling: The rocky intertidal area at Cabrillo National Monument is one of the best protected examples of these unique ecosystems in Southern California.
• Visiting the Lighthouse: Be sure to see the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, one of the original eight lighthouses on the West Coast, restored and refurnished to reflect what life was like in the 1800s. In the adjacent Assistant Keeper's Quarters, interactive exhibits tell the story of the Lighthouses of Point Loma. You can learn about the Lighthouses of Cabrillo here.
• Military History: In an historic radio station building, the exhibit "They Stood the Watch" presents the military history of Fort Rosecrans.
• Whale Watching: Experience the annual migration of the Pacific Gray Whale as these majestic mammals pass by the park from December through February. Here is a link to help you learn how to watch for whales at Cabrillo.
The Visitor Center is a good place to start your day at Cabrillo National Monument. The "Age of Exploration" exhibit, films, and ranger-guided programs present interesting insights into the history of Cabrillo, and rangers and volunteers are available to offer suggestions on what to see. Films are scheduled on the hour:
Did You Know?
Did you know that in World War II, the Japanese Navy was ordered to avoid San Diego because of the coastal defense systems in place, some of which can still be seen today within Cabrillo National Monument?