One of the many reasons why people visit San Diego is to admire some of the picturesque spots along the coast. Another reason why people visit is to learn more about the history of the area. If natural beauty spots and history are two things that interest you, then one of the best places to visit in San Diego is Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument. This both one of the most picturesque spots in the area, and also one of the most historically significant. Here are just 10 of the reasons why you should include a trip to Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument in your itinerary during a stay in San Diego.
1. Visit Point Lomas Lighthouse
Old Point Loma Lighthouse is one of the most historically significant landmarks in the area. Sadly, it has nearly been demolished on several occasions in the past, despite being a huge draw to the area for tourists. Another reason that this lighthouse is interesting is that it is believed that it is the highest lighthouse in the United States. During its lifespan, it has helped to save countless lives.
2. Learn About the History of the Area
Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument is a historically significant place, says the National Park Service. It is where Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped off his boat in 1542 and became the first European to set foot on the West Coast of the United States. You can learn more about this during your visit. The Visitor Center is where you will find most of the information, but there are also learning opportunities as you walk around the park.
3. Take a Leisurely Stroll or Hike
This picturesque spot is ideal for taking a leisurely stroll, just to enjoy the fresh air and to take in the surroundings. If you are feeling a little more energetic, then there are also the Cabrillo National Monument hiking trails to enjoy. A pleasant one to try is the Bayside trail, which covers 2.5 miles and has lovely views of the ocean, the mountains, and of Ballast Point. The starting point of this trail is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The trail then winds around the side of the park and finishes facing San Diego Bay. You do not necessarily need to stick to the trails, as there are many open areas to enjoy.
4. Explore the Tide Pools
When the tide goes out, the ocean leaves tide pools on the rocky beach at the base of Point Loma, says La Jolla Mom. This becomes a natural playground for visitors to enjoy and explore. You can turn over rocks to see what tiny marine life has been left behind by the tide. The Cabrillo tide pools are considered some of the best in San Diego.
5. Enjoy the Panoramic Views
The highlight of a trip to Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument for many people is the spectacular panoramic views. Its elevated position means that you can enjoy views over the surrounding area and across the ocean. As you walk around the park, the views will give you some excellent backdrops for photographs.
6. A Good Spot for Bird and Whale Watching
For those who enjoy nature and like to spend lots of time outdoors during their vacation, this is an excellent spot for admiring nature. Bird watching is a popular activity at this attraction. It is also possible to go whale watching if you visit in the right seasons. There is also plenty of other wildlife and flora to enjoy during your visit.
7. See the World War II-Era Defense Structures
Another point of interest at Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument Park is the World War II defense structures. These were erected during World War II when the Cabrillo National Monument became part of the War Department’s coastal defenses as they feared an attack from Japan. There are now 15 defense structures at this location, but some of these are underground. Some you can see while enjoying the hiking trails, while others are only periodically open to the public. Therefore, how many of the defense structures you will see depends on when you visit. It is fascinating to learn the role this area played in protecting the United States during the war.
8. Have Fun with the Kids
This is a fantastic place to visit if you are traveling with your children for two reasons. The first is that it is an opportunity to enjoy an educational activity with them. Second, there is lots of room for them to run around and burn off some energy. A good idea is to take along a picnic if you plan to spend the full day there. Not only is this a free way to eat during your visit, but children also love the novelty of eating outdoors. The only other food and drink facilities are vending machines that have sodas, coffee, and snacks, so a picnic is a practical option.
9. Pay Your Respects at the Monument
The Cabrillo National Monument is a statue that was created as a tribute to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. The statue has stood at Point Loma since 1939 when it was given to the United States by the Portuguese government. During a visit, you should make time to go to the monument to pay your respects to the explorer. This is also a great opportunity to take a photograph to commemorate your visit to the area.
10. It’s a Free Attraction
The final reason that you should consider adding a visit to Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument to your itinerary is that this activity is completely free. Therefore, you can enjoy a full day of interesting activities without spending a cent. This is ideal for those who are visiting the area on a limited budget.