The Cabrillo National Monument is a beautiful coastal area at the southern edge of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California. This monument celebrates when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed at San Diego Bay in 1542. He was the first person from Europe to set foot on the West Coast of the United States. In the modern day, you will enjoy exploring the nature and culture of the area. Learn about the history, visit the lighthouse that was constructed in the 1800s, and then, kick off your shoes and explore the coastal tide pools. This area has beautiful weather throughout the year, so it is a wonderful destination.
RV Parks & Campgrounds Near Cabrillo National Monument
The Cabrillo National Monument is located at the tip of the Point Loma Peninsula along the scenic coastal route at the edge of San Diego, California. There is plenty to see and explore in the area, so an RV is a convenient way to travel. If you do not own an RV, consider finding the perfect model to fit your needs on RVshare.
RV Rentals Near Cabrillo National Monument
Things To Do Near Cabrillo National Monument
There is plenty to explore at Cabrillo National Monument. If you arrive when the weather is bad, you can enjoy indoor activities including a self-guided tour of the lighthouse. There are exhibits like the "Age of Exploration" that are located near the visitor center. When the weather is nice, you can explore the tidepools and grounds around the park. There are brochures that will help you to identify the local plants and wildlife as you explore.
Point Loma Tide Pools
The Point Loma Tide Pools are available to explore at low tide and are one of the best-protected intertidal areas in the state. The fall and winter seasons are the best time to see them since the tide is typically low during the hours when the monument is open. It is a short walk down the hill, down the steps, and on to the sandstone. From there, you can wander and check out the tide pool wildlife.
Cabrillo Memorial Drive
The Bayside Trail is open every day from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and begins at the lighthouse. You will follow the pavement to a dirt path. You can follow the self-guided tour with signs that tell you all about the vegetation, habitat, weather, and animal life. Take in some of the history, too, and see a power plant and searchlight shelter that was built in 1919 and used during both world wars. Benches along the route give you spots to rest, reflect, and enjoy the wildlife.
Point Loma Lighthouse
Sunset Cliffs Coastal Trail
The Sunset Cliffs Coastal Trail is a beautiful hiking trail in the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean. From here, you can enjoy views of the sunset or whale watching if you are there during the right season. The Sunset Cliffs is a favorite spot for weddings with rock arches, coastal bluffs, and sea caves to form a breathtaking backdrop.
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
Old Point Loma Lighthouse
The Old Point Loma Lighthouse was built by the U.S. government in 1855 after California became a state. It is not operational anymore, but they have set it up as a museum, so you can learn about the history of the monument and the area. Be sure to climb the tight spiral staircase and see the awesome view from the top.
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego
Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave
Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave is a tunnel running from a shop to the sea cave. It was dug in 1902 and was once used for bootlegging. It is a bit of a climb down steps into the cave, but it is definitely worth the trip if you are physically up for it. If you go during high tide, you can see the waves coming in.
La Jolla, California
USS Midway Museum
The USS Midway Museum is located at the Navy Pier. It is a naval aircraft carrier museum in the aircraft carrier Midway. You will be able to see a huge collection of aircraft. Explore the Hangar Deck, Flight Deck, and Below Deck Exhibits. It features 30 restored helicopters and other aircraft. They are dated from the Battle of Midway in 1942 to the Korean and Vietnam Wars and on to modern-day aircraft. There are also stories from Midway and a Remembrance Wall. Make sure you try the flight simulator as well.
910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego
Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Maritime Museum of San Diego was established in 1948 to preserve a large collection of historic ships, one of the largest in the United States. The crown jewel is the world’s oldest active ship called the Star of India. The museum has many fascinating exhibits including Wish You Were Here, Man-Of-War, and the Wind and Water Photography Exhibit. There are also on-the-water adventures like the Historic Bay Cruises, the Naval History Bay Tour, and the Tall Ship Adventure Aboard Californian.
1492 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego
Nearby Shops and Restaurants
Port Loma Fish Shop
The Port Loma Fish Shop opened in 2010 and has a reputation for giving customers the freshest seafood, excellent customer service, and a relaxed atmosphere. They hand-make all their sauces and seasonings as well as hand-cut the French fries and onion rings daily. Soups and salads are also made from scratch.
1110 Rosecrans Street, #100, San Diego
Bobby B’s Coffee Company serves Starbucks coffee drinks as well as Teavana hot and cold tea. They also serve hot pasties and other baked goods.
3900 Lomaland Drive, San Diego, CA
Fathom Bistro Bait and Tackle
Fathom lets you enjoy your brew right on the dock with 15 types of beer on tap. Their specialty food is sausage including spicy Italian sausage and chicken basil sausage with sun-dried tomatoes. They also serve hot dogs, sandwiches, burgers, snacks, and salads.
1776 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego
Seaport Village offers waterfront dining and shopping right on San Diego Bay. It includes more than 70 galleries, shops, and restaurants.
849 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego
Great Souvenirs of San Diego
Right near the USS Midway, you'll find Great Souvenirs of San Diego, where they have a ton of fun t-shirts that will memorialize your trip. Whether you're looking for a fun tie-dye, a cozy sweatshirt to fend off the sea breeze, or a cool trucker hat, you'll find it all here.
910 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego
How To Get To Cabrillo National Monument
To get there, just follow Interstate 5 south toward San Diego. Take Exit 21 for Sea World Drive/Tecolote Road. Continue south on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Turn right on Chatsworth Boulevard, and merge onto Catalina Boulevard. From there, you will find Cabrillo Memorial Drive.
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego, CA 92106
Fee: Entry Fee (per non-commercial vehicle) $20.0
Fee: Entry Fee (per motorcycle) $15.0
Fee: Entry Fee (per walker or bicyclist) $10.0
Fee: Entry Fee (per commercial vehicle with 1-6 passenger) $30.0
The entry fee is $30 for commercial vehicles with 1-6 passengers.
Fee: Entry Fee (per commercial vehicle with 7-25 passengers) $45.0
The entry fee is $45 for commercial vehicles with 7-25 passengers.
A visit to the Cabrillo National Monument is a treat for anyone interested in the history of the West Coast. Explore the lighthouse, climbing the stairs to see a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. If you visit in the fall or winter months, you will be there at the right time to see the tide pools during low tide and explore the tiny wildlife. If you travel by RV, your needs are self-contained, and you can truly take your time and enjoy the area.