rocky beach and white lighthouse

Cabrillo National Monument & Point Loma Lighthouse

Sharing is caring!

If you are visiting San Diego and have some spare time, I highly suggest visiting Cabrillo National Monument. The beautiful views and the tide pools are something I’ll never forget!

To learn more about visiting Cabrillo, the Point Loma Lighthouse, and the tide pools, keep on reading!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through a link, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read full disclosure here.

rocky ocean shoreline with "a day at cabrillo national monument, point loma lighthouse, and the tide pools" written below it

How to Spend a Day Trip to Cabrillo National Monument: Visit the Tide Pools and the Point Loma Lighthouse

Cabrillo Park and Visitor Center Hours

The entire park and the visitor center is open every day of the year from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Christmas and Thanksgiving.

What is the best time to visit Cabrillo & the tide pools?

You can see Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma Lighthouse during any time of year.


The best time to visit the tide pools is during the winter when the low tides happen during the day.

During these low tides, various species of marine life can be seen.

Most suggest visiting when the tides are receding, that way you have more time to enjoy the tide pools.

waves crashing against rock ocean shoreline

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument is named after Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who was the first European to land on the west coast.

The Guatemalan government sent him & his crew to explore the Pacific Ocean. He landed on the west coast of North America in 1542 and named the place San Miguel, which was later changed to San Diego.

First named a National Monument in 1913, a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo wasn’t built until much later. In 1939 the Portuguese government donated a statue of Cabrillo to the U.S.

Crab on a rock wall

The Tide Pools

Seeing the tide pools was such a unique experience!

During low tides, you can see various marine life such as barnacles, sea urchins, crabs, different types of snails, and much more!

Click here for more information from the National Park Service on visiting the tide pools!

Make sure to wear non-skid shoes with good tread! The wet rocks and algae are slick!

I had no clue what I was getting myself into when visiting so I wore tennis shoes. Once I got down the rocks I took my shoes off and just went barefoot. The water is quite cold but I adjusted rather quickly.

ocean waves crashing and a shell on top of a rock
bare feet in the ocean

Read more about my adventures from my trip to San Diego by clicking the links below! 

Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

Whale Watching & Wildlife Tour of Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park

Point Loma Lighthouse

Point Loma Lighthouse was built in 1855.

During its time, it was the lighthouse of highest elevation.

However, being that high up, clouds and fog often limited the beam of light it projected.

A small house was built near the lighthouse for the assistant lighthouse keeper to live in. This house is open as a museum and it’s quite interesting to walk through. I would suggest doing this first before visiting the tide pools! No one likes walking around with wet feet.

white house lighthouse with white picket fence and green grass

Don’t forget to stop at the visitor center at the top and get your National Park Passport Book stamped!! This is a fun way to collect a stamp from each site of the National Park Service that you visit!

aerial view of ocean and green grass with trail to the ocean

I hope you enjoyed my short post on Cabrillo! It was one of my favorite experiences while visiting San Diego, and I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy it as well!

melissa of dogwoods & driftwood travel blog

Like visiting National Monuments? Check out my post on how to visit Muir Woods and Point Reyes in the same day!

"don't forget to pin on pinterest!"

All About Visiting Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma Lighthouse, and the tide pools in San Diego, California!

"spend an afternoon at cabrillo" written on a pinterest pin

Sharing is caring!


    1. You should definitely check it out! I enjoyed it. I wish I had known about the “secret sea caves” while I was there, they look fun! Google them and see if you can find them when you go!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.