San Diego 2015: Point Loma/Cabrillo National Monument

As if this particular day during my San Diego 2015 trip wasn’t busy enough with visiting the U.S.S. Midwayvisiting Harbor Island, Little Italy, and the Basilica Mission, I decided to end it with going to Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument. I realized after the fact that Point Loma refers to the peninsula, but I mostly visited grounds around the Cabrillo National Monument.

I had done some research briefly the night before, and I knew it would have some great views.

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There are two major things I learned abbout this scenic point overlooking San Diego Bay. Various “exhibits” and informational resources are scattered through the area.

First, the Cabrillo National Monument is here, and the resources available chronicle and commemorate the landing of Spanish explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.  He was crucial in exploring and establishing settlements in the area and along the Pacific coast. I didn’t take the time to read and experience every exhibit related to Cabrillo, but it still fascinates me to learn about Spanish exploration in our history.

The other aspect of Point Loma that I learned about is its military history. It was immediately obvious when I drove through the peninsula to reach the tip that I knew that these here soils harbored military presence. As I was exploring the peninsula and some of the “exhibits” scattered throughout, I learned that many of the harbor cities along the Pacific coast intensely fortified their defenses in wake of the Pearl Harbor attack in World War II, San Diego very much included. Point Loma houses a fort! Cannons everywhere! But it makes a lot of sense because San Diego Bay is just on the other side of Point Loma (see map above).

Even before the war, Point Loma was important in that it also has a prominent lighthouse.

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They don’t use this one anymore, but they’ve since turned it into an “exhibit” educating visitors what life was like in running a lighthouse as well as lighthouse technology. Very interesting! I forget the name, but there was a family that ran this lighthouse for a long while. It seemed like a pretty legit, colonial-like life in living and running a lighthouse.

The part that sticks out to me the most about visiting Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument is the incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Pictures can only do a certain amount of justice and for sure it is a great place to visit and experience for oneself. I was fortunate enough to visit on a clear day (it had been cloudy and rainy the day before) so it was difficult to not enjoy clear, blue skies. I probably would have stayed until it closed at 5:00PM, but it was cold and windy out there. And I didn’t prepare myself to be out in the cold for a while.

On my way out, I decided to drive down to the west side of Point Loma where the more interesting rock formations are. I couldn’t park at the actual place where the tide pools are located because the lot was full, so I drove further and still was able to see some cool things.

Some pictures from my visit:

 

Pretty cool!

Most of Point Loma is occupied by military installations. To visit the tip where most of these points of interest are, including the Cabrillo National Monument, there is a parking fee of $10 per vehicle.

When I left, I decided to also go visit the National Cemetery on the way out from Point Loma. The Cemetery covers an area on both sides of the island, and I wanted to spend some time in reflection.

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I’ve been to the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in the past, but man, Virginia doesn’t have these kind of views for peaceful rest. I always find it interesting in visiting a National Cemetery because the tombstone depicts what faith background that soldier has. Many were Christian. I found myself in a Catholic section (denoted by celtic Catholic crosses), and it made me think back to visiting the chapel in the U.S.S. Midway earlier in my trip because I know a lot of Masses were said there. I just think its cool that a soldier’s faith is actually relevant and important or at least enough to warrant a chapel on an aircraft carrier and an emblem on a tombstone.

After visiting the Cemetery, I headed back to the Hilton on Harbor Island to recoup before visiting with my cousins again.

This ends my sightseeing San Diego trip. The rest was filled with playing with my cousins’ kids and watching Frozen multiple times, making friends with a bartender at an AMC Theater over anime and watching Daddy’s Home with my cousin, epic sauce spillage at a Korean BBQ outing with my cousins, and engaging in under-the-table meat-stuffed pastry trading with my cousin. You know, the usual.

-JD