An old lighthouse, a beautiful beach, the Cabrillo statue, Kelp Forest and Whale Overlook, and exhibits…all kept us in awe at the Cabrillo National Monument. I haven’t ever traveled this far south in San Diego and even my phone thought I was in Mexico! Please refer to the map here and the National Park Service official website for Cabrillo Monument here. Their Junior Ranger Program kept the kids busy while we all learned a bit of history and enjoyed the views.
We began our visit at the Visitor Center for the map and Junior Ranger Program pamphlets. The rangers were extremely friendly and highlighted areas of interest. Everything was within walking distance except for the tidepools. The exhibits were close by, where we learned more about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and life back in the 1500s. There was also an auditorium where one could learn and watch videos about tidepools and whales.
Next, we took a little walk over to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The views were magnificent along the way. I really enjoyed the trees, wildflowers, and surrounding ocean scenery.
The lighthouse was really neat…I don’t remember ever being in one so it was quite interesting to see there were rooms for kids, parents, storage, a living area, kitchen, and steep narrow winding stairs up. One could peek at the lens that is up there, but access is closed off at the very top.
When we got back down, I stopped to admire their nice little veggie garden and then made our way into the assistant’s quarters next door. This room was full of interesting exhibits and facts to learn. Below is a photo of the giant lens used to focus the light. There are various exhibits on the types of lenses, lights, and about life living in the lighthouse.
The Whale and Kelp Forest Overlook was next and we thoroughly enjoyed the views. One of my kids is fascinated by whales so this was a real treat! There were educational panels about whales and the Kelp Forest. Appropriately placed, because when I looked down below, I could see some brown spots in the clear water below…along with some awesome waves splashing the cliffs. I didn’t see any whales but we spotted some seals and pelicans.
After quite a bit of learning, the kids answered all of their questions from their Junior Ranger pamphlets, so we went back to get the kids sworn in. This little badge was quite precious because it’s actually wooden! The ranger stamped the date on the back and it made for an extra special souvenir. 🙂
Next up: Tidepools! Actually the ranger warned us that low tide was at 7am, so likely the tide pools would be covered by midday. No matter, we just wanted to enjoy the views…so we drove down and parked at the second parking lot. There are 3 parking lots in total, with the last being the coastal overlook and the first one had no parking spaces left. The second one had clear access to this cliff, where many were enjoying the waves near the edge. The stairs are a bit steep on the way down, but not too bad.
The next two photos were my views standing near the edge of the cliff: the left and right as I’m facing the ocean. It was a magnificent sight. Because the waves were pretty high, I did not get as close to the edge as others…some of us got pretty wet!
Some of you may have heard of the ‘hidden’ cave here. It’s definitely closed. We saw a few attempt to go towards it. However, the waves were so strong most turned back after a few feet. There’s a big warning on the NPS website and the first thing they mentioned is that it is dangerous and I absolutely agree. We saw a couple go that way and I’m not sure how far they got but I know the ranger followed them soon afterwards.
The views are gorgeous enough so we were all pretty satisfied. I took so many photos of this same area, so I will spare you from looking at ALL of them, but here was one last look at nature’s beauty before we left.
Thanks for reading! 🙂