Cabrillo National Monument

#7 in Best Things To Do in San Diego
Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument
1 of 5
russellstreet/Flickr

Key Info

1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive

Price & Hours

$10 per vehicle; $5 for bicyclists and pedestrians
9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

The southernmost tip of Point Loma is where you'll find the Cabrillo National Monument. The statue depicts Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who, in 1542, was the first European explorer to navigate the Californian coast. Situated about 10 miles southwest of downtown San Diego, this monument is much more than just a memorializing effigy. The main reason people make the journey to the monument is its incredible views. From the Cabrillo Monument, you can enjoy sweeping views of the Pacific as well as the Point Loma naval base below (where Cabrillo initially docked his ships), downtown San Diego, Coronado, and on a clear day, the mountains of Tijuana, Mexico.

Once you've gotten your fill from the top, walk or drive down Cabrillo Road to experience the Point Loma Tide Pools (best experienced during the winter months), or take a scenic walk along the adjacent bluffs. There's also the 2.5-mile Bayside Trail that cascades down into the east side of the point and ends right above the bay waters. For those more interested in the historical aspect of the attraction, the NPS site features ranger-guided talks further explaining the story behind the Cabrillo Monument as well as the restored Old Point Loma Lighthouse, located a short walk south from the monument on Humphreys Road. 

Recent visitors proclaim that this is the best view in San Diego. Travelers also strongly recommended taking advantage of the trails and especially the tide pools. Some even said to make sure to plan your trip around the low tide to best see the creatures that dwell within. Others enjoyed learning about the history of the monument the most, saying a trip to the visitors center enhanced their experience. 

The Cabrillo National Monument is open to the public every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 per vehicle and $5 per person for walk-ins and cyclists. While public transportation stops here, getting to the Cabrillo Monument from downtown will be lengthy. You'd have to take the trolley from downtown to Old Town Transit Center then take the 28 bus to connect to the 84 bus that drops off at the monument. It's important to note to take caution while exploring the tide pools. During high tide, do not attempt to traverse the rocky areas to get from one tide pool to the next. The water at the beach is also not safe for swimming. For more information, visit the Cabrillo National Monument website

See all Hotels in San Diego »

More Best Things To Do in San Diego

Balboa Park
Mission Beach and Pacific Beach
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 12
#1 Balboa Park

Home to the renowned San Diego Zoo. this 1,200-acre park is the city's cultural hub. Located in downtown San Diego (about 2 miles north of the city center), Balboa Park is a great place for a stroll, bike ride or picnic. Wander around the park's many gardens while admiring the intricate Spanish-Renaissance architecture that permeates the grounds (the best examples are the California Building and the House of Hospitality). The Botanical Building is a great starting point in Balboa Park. The building is one of the most photographed places in Balboa Park and is one of the largest lath structures in the world. But don't just look at it. The famous botanical building features more than 2,100 permanent plants, including striking collections of tropical plants and orchids. The park also features a cactus garden, rose garden, a Japanese-style garden as well as a palm tree canyon, among many others.

Read more
f11photo/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in San Diego »

Explore More of San Diego

Recommended

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019

15 Epic Outdoor Adventures to Enjoy Across America

Plan an unforgettable trip in your own backyard or on the opposite coast.

Will WalkeyMarch 12, 2019

The 30 Most Famous Landmarks in the World

Explore the globe in search of these intriguing historic sights.

Gwen PratesiMarch 11, 2019

The 50 Best Hotels in the USA 2019

U.S. News ranked 3,877 top properties for 2019. Check out the 50 best.

Zach WatsonFebruary 5, 2019

30 Hot New Hotels to Check Out in 2019

See which new properties offer surprising and fun features.

Lyn MettlerFebruary 5, 2019

10 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in the USA

Go all-in for these luxe resorts flush with amenities.

Will WalkeyFebruary 5, 2019

The Caribbean Comeback: 12 New and Renovated Caribbean Hotels to Visit

These island properties are sure to impress travelers.

Erin ShieldsFebruary 5, 2019

17 Amazing Kid-Friendly Hotels

Discover which properties offer ample amenities for children.

Christine SmithFebruary 5, 2019

AAA Announces 2019 Diamond Award Winners

Of the more than 27,000 properties evaluated, 1,843 hotels earned Four and Five Diamond awards.

Zach WatsonJanuary 31, 2019