Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument (1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr., 619/557-5450, www.nps.gov/cabr) celebrates the initial discovery of San Diego Bay by Spanish Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in the mid-16th century. This was the first landing of the Spanish—indeed of any Europeans—on the West Coast of North America.
Today, a large statue of Cabrillo stands within the monument lands, overlooking the San Diego Bay. At the visitors center, you can learn more about the history of Cabrillo’s life and explorations.
The wildlife and the scenery are other great reasons to visit the national monument. Views from the high places here are second to none. Turning around, you can see the harbor, the San Diego cityscape, the Pacific Ocean, and all the way south to Mexico. Be sure to bring your camera!
For a micro-view of San Diego’s seas, check the tide tables and head down to the tide pools on the west side of Point Loma. Here you’ll find a myriad of sea life waiting for discovery. Just be sure that you and your children look with your eyes, not your fingers—many tide pool creatures can be injured or even killed by a mere touch from a human.
The parkland of Cabrillo offers hiking trails through the southern coastal scrub ecosystem so precious and unique to this part of the state. Enjoy the wildlife and lovely plants, and come in spring for the best profusion of wildflowers.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition