Frequently Asked Questions

Old Point Loma Lighthouse with sun behind
"Can we visit the tower of the Lighthouse" is a frequently asked question at Cabrillo National Monument.

NPS Photo


Are there any days that the park is closed? No. We are open every day of the year, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

What can we do there? Lots! You can take a self-guided tour of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse; visit three different exhibit rooms; see the wonders of the tidepools during the winter months; hike the Bayside Trail; see a film or slideshow in the auditorium; or enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the city of San Diego.

Are pets allowed? Dogs are allowed at the tidepool area, as long as they remain on a leash. Only service animals are permitted in all other areas of the park. Click here for more information.

When can we go into the tower of the lighthouse? To preserve the structural integrity of the lighthouse tower, it is normally closed to the public. However, it it is occasionally open for visitors. Information about the next Open Tower Day is listed below.

Are there activities for kids? Yes! Be sure to stop first at the Visitor Center to pick up a Junior Ranger activity. Then, have your child take it with them on their visit around the park to find the answers to the questions. Once completed, bring it back to the Visitor Center, where a Park Ranger will check the answers and award a Junior Ranger badge! Click here to learn more.

When is the best time to view the tidepools? During the winter. That's when the good low tides occur during daylight hours, and when we have Park Rangers and Volunteers stationed in the tidepools to answer questions. Click here for more information.

Do you take volunteers? Yes! We have an active volunteer program. Folks help us in many areas: tidepool monitoring and visitor education, natural resources, Visitor Center - you name it, we've probably got a need for a volunteer! Click here to learn more.


The Open Tower Day planned for Saturday, April 4, 2020 has been postponed. Additional Open Tower Day dates for 2020 are not yet scheduled.

Half-hour guided tour between 10:00am - 3:30pm are the only way to access the top tower of the lighthouse and will give participants a glimpse into life at this lighthouse station between 1855 - 1891.
Tickets will be available on the day of the event, first come first serve. Please stop by the ticketing table near the lighthouse early in the day to ensure a ticket time.
For those who do not wish to climb to the top tower, you will still be able to experience the kitchen of the lighthouse with historic interpreters. All activities are available at no additional cost to the entrance fee.
The next Open Tower Day dates for 2020 are not yet scheduled. Please visit our website at for the most up to date information.

Safety Messages:

  • In order to climb the tower, you are required to have closed-toed shoes with a back. You will have to climb 8 steep ladder rungs and a spiral staircase to get to the lens deck.

  • If you do not feel comfortable climbing a ladder without assistance at home, then you should not participate in this activity. Due to the risk of serious injury, we will not allow family members to help each other up the ladder. Please consider a different activity, such as touring the assistant keepers quarters or the first story of the lighthouse.

  • This activity is not safe for small children. Any children participating must be at least 48”

Open Tower Day is always dependent on the weather. Please check with the Visitor Center or call 619-523-4285 for updated information.

Last updated: November 23, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive
San Diego, CA 92106


(619) 523-4285

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