There is plenty to do during your visit to Cabrillo National Monument. Spend the day enjoying all the beauty of nature that the park has to offer!
Start off at The Cabrillo National Monument Visitor Center Historic District Visitor Center. This modern building is full of information, and also offers panoramic views of the Pacific. Here you can find the day's schedule of ranger talks and programs that are happening in the auditorium.
There are multiple opportunities for kids to learn about nature and experience all the national parks have to offer. Kids can pick up a Junior Ranger activity or get their National Parks Passport book stamped!
While in the Visitors' Center you can also learn about the day’s weather, and timetables for tide pools. This is essential if you plan to visit the tide pools, because you are unable to get to them during high tide.
Point Loma Tide Pools
The Point Loma Tide Pools, or rocky intertidal area, are a popular attraction for those visiting Cabrillo National Monument. The best time to visit the tide pools is during the fall and winter months during low tide. Keep an eye out for critters in the tide pools this time of year!
It is important to check the tide predictions before planning your visit. In general, the tide pools can be visited approximately two hours before low tide time (when the tide is receding) and two hours after (when the tide is coming back in).
Please note when visiting the tide pools, there is no phone service in the area. Also, it is necessary to wear appropriate footwear and clothing. Shoes with closed toes and good grip are highly recommended.
In the winter, Pacific Gray Whales migrate past the Cabrillo National Monument. During the summer months, the whales live in the Arctic and once winter comes, they migrate south towards the Baja Peninsula. When they reach the area, they are at the end of their incredible 12,000-mile journey!
Mid-January is the perfect time to see the whales, but you can see them in the area from December to March. Old Point Loma Lighthouse area is an ideal spot to watch from and spot the whales. Make sure to bring your binoculars because the Visitors Center only has a limited amount to lend out to guests.
Learn about the Park
Cabrillo National Monument offers different programs to help you learn about the history and nature of the area. The science programs offer classes about tidepool exploration, plant adaptations, and an array of other classes.
Historical classes are also offered, with classes about the Voyage of Cabrillo, Kumeyaay tribe, and the Point Loma Lighthouse. Check out our article on the Kumeyaay Indians - The first people in San Diego.