Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument is the site where Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to land on the west coast of what would become the United States in 1542. If you visit the site today you can walk through an old lighthouse from the 1800s, hike through the nearby scrub forest or wade through tidal pools. A nearby overlook has a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean, and whales can often be seen from here in January and February. The Visitor Center offers films and exhibits about the area, and nearby buildings house displays about the lighthouse and Fort Rosecrans, a former coastal defense installation.
The site is located at the very end of Catalina Boulevard, within San Diego city limits. Cabrillo National Monument is only a few minutes away from the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Ocean Beach and Mission Bay. San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit Service stops at the Visitor Center every hour. The Cabrillo National Monument is open every day of the year except Christmas, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM- the entrance gate closes at 4:30. The entrance fee is $5.00 per car, or $3.00 per person for pedestrians and cyclists. Organized commercial tours pay a different rate.