Cabrillo National Monument

Point_Loma_LighthouseLocated in a bustling metropolitan area just west of Downtown San Diego, Point Loma encompasses more than 660 acres of native habitat. Cabrillo National Monument and the Point Loma Lighthouse lie protected on 160 acres at the southern-most tip of the peninsula. This national monument is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the San Diego Bay on the east, and the cities of Point Loma and Ocean Beach to the north.

Cabrillo National Monument enjoys San Diego’s Mediterranean climate characterized by warm, semi-tropical summers and cool, relatively dry, mild winters.

The Cabrillo National Monument boasts one of the best harbor views in the world. On clear winter days, you can experience a panorama that stretches from Mexico to the snow-capped mountains east of Los Angeles.

The Voyage of Discovery

As the park’s name indicates, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo navigated the first European expedition to explore what is known as the west coast of the United States. Cabrillo started his journey from the port of Navidad, Mexico, in June, 1542. Three months later he arrived at what he described as a very good port. This very good port is what we know today as the San Diego Bay. Historians believe Cabrillo anchored his flagship, the San Salvador, on Point Loma’s eastern shore near Cabrillo National Monument.

Cabrillo National Monument was established in 1913 and was erected to honor Cabrillo’s discovery of San Diego. A valiant statue of Cabrillo sits perched atop the southernmost tip of Point Loma.

The Point Loma Lighthouse

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse stood high watching over the entry to the San Diego Bay for 36 years. In November of 1855, the lighthouse was retired due to a serious flaw. Being that it was situated 422 feet above the water, fog and low clouds often obscured the light. In March, 1891, the light was extinguished and the lighthouse keeper moved to a new lighthouse location closer to the water at the tip of the Point.  This lighthouse is still in use today and on a clear day can be seen from as far as 25 miles off shore.

Today, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse still stands watch over San Diego, sentry to a vanished past. The National Park Service has refurbished the interior to its historic 1880s appearance – a reminder of a past era.

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