Cabrillo National Monument


It’s one of the most well-known landmarks in San Diego, and a must-see for anyone staying at a hotel in Santee. When Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived to the Golden Coast in 1542, he was the very first European settler to step onto the shores of what’s now the West Coast. He was a storyteller, revealing the details of 16th century explorers, and this historic spot is now a hub of cultural resources. It’s also a gorgeous space and part of the National Park Services area. What will you discover at Cabrillo National Monument?

Visit the Old Point Loma Lighthouse in the spring, when the wildflowers are in full bloom. It was the watchtower to San Diego Bay’s entrance for 36 years, beginning in 1855. At 422 feet above the sea, it seemed ideal, but there was a problem—fog and low clouds made it impossible to see the light. The lighthouse was moved in 1891, but the tower remains. Many believe it still “keeps watch” over the city.

A Piece of History

The flora and fauna of the area is diverse and impressive. Stretching from the peninsula ridge all the way down to the San Diego Bay, you’ll discover a rich scrubland habitat. Four community types thrive on Point Loma, home to a plethora of plant species like the prickly pear cactus and Shaw’s agave.

In the Rocky Intertidal Zone at the southern tip of Cabrillo, you’ll discover one of the most protected and accessible regions in the entire state. Tide pools are readily available, letting you get up close and personal with marine ecosystems. Earmark a full day, if you can, to explore Cabrillo—who knows what you’ll uncover?