Cabrillo National Monument


The Cabrillo National Monument makes a good day trip for any van or RV nomad looking for a little California history. The Monument is located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego. It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay in 1542. This event marked the first time a European expedition had set foot on the West Coast of the United States. 


Cabrillo National Monument makes for a great day excursion for any van or RV lifer visiting beautiful San Diego. The site was designated as California Historical Landmark in 1932 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

The monument offers tremendous views of the San Diego region and is an excellent opportunity to explore the natural, historical and cultural history of the area. While you are there check out the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, visit the tide pools, hike the Bayside Trail, visit the Visitor Center, or enjoy the panoramic views. 

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse was operated in the 1880’s and was home to the lightkeepers and their families. In the adjacent Assistant Keeper’s Quarters, interactive exhibits tell the story of the Lighthouse. South of the Lighthouse is the Whale Overlook. This vantage point offers pleasant views of the Pacific Ocean and the New Point Loma Lighthouse. Whales are often seen from here in January and February.

Hike Point Loma Tide Pools

On the western side of Cabrillo National Monument lies the Point Loma Tide Pools.  There is a Coastal Trail at the tide pools that is a 1 mile out and back and is good for all skill levels.  Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash. During periods of low tide, pools form along this shore in rocky depressions where you can find anemones, elusive octopus, spongy deadman’s fingers, and a myriad of other creatures. 

References and Other Adventures:


Balboa Park

Balboa Park is one of my favorite places to spend the day and explore. The park offers a wide variety of activities to include hiking, cycling, golfing, frisbee golf, swimming, and the world-famous San Diego zoo and Science Museum. Along with these attractions, the park boosts plenty of areas where you can park your van and spend the day lounging on the grass and watching the birds go by.

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Kate Sessions Park

Kate Session Park is a 79-acre park perched high atop Lamont Street at Soledad Road on the border between Pacific Beach and La Jolla. It’s named after noted local horticulturalists and “Mother of Balboa Park” Kate Sessions. The park has an amazing view of Pacific Beach, Mission Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and downtown San Diego.

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