The California’s West Coast is arguably one of the most preferred and loved tourist destinations in the world. Known for its lengthy coastline and amazing number of tourist spots, the West Coast only increases in popularity each year. The credit for discovering the West Coast goes to Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo, who first stepped on the shore in 1542 on behalf of the Spanish Empire.
To honor the discoverer, the Cabrillo National Monument was established at the tip of Point Loma in San Diego, California. It is one among the nearly 400 National Parks in the United States and was created by the Presidential Proclamation signed Woodrow Wilson on October 14, 1913. The monument was created to commemorate the voyages and discoveries of Cabrillo. The park spans an area of around 144 acres and overlooks the the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Downtown San Diego skyline to the east. It has many visitors on an annual basis, having recorded close to 1 million visitations in 2017.
The area between the intertidal zone and the tide pools hosts some of the most diverse and thriving animal species ranging from coralline algae to sea urchins, unicorn snails and hermit crabs. The tide area provides an amazing tourist spot for visitors, but visitors are advised to visit the place during late winter or fall when the tides are low.
The Whale Outlook Station situated in the park provides a great view of the sea and migrating gray whales can be seen during the winter months between December and March. Established in 1950, this station has been credited as being the first public whale lookout point in the world.
The Bayside Trail along with the native coastal sage scrub habitat provides for a nice hiking destination along with being host to a variety of wildlife.
A stand-out feature of the park is the – Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built on a crest 422 feet above sea level. It was built in 1854 and began functioning in 1855. The lighthouse functioned on an oil lamp and for the next 36 years and welcomed sailors and ships until the flame was permanently extinguished in 1891, as the light was being marred by clouds and fog. A new Point Loma Lighthouse was built at a lower elevation in 1891 whose light was not marred by the clouds and fog.
The Visitor Center at the park is a place for visitors to explore and purchase various souvenirs and know about the park’s history. The place also allows visitors to interact with volunteers and park rangers and learn more about the park and its features.
There are several events conducted throughout the year at the Cabrillo National Monument including – Whale Watch Weekend, Founder’s Day, and Open Tower Day to name a few. To make it more accessible and enjoyable to visitors there are also the “Free Fee Weekends’’ where there is no fee charged for visitors for select weeks during the year.
The Cabrillo Monument provides the visitors from all over the world the unique opportunity to enjoy current and historical San Diego at the same time. Visitors get to have a view of the nearby military operations, the San Diego Bay & Harbor, shipping activities, wildlife and a view of the Pacific Ocean and the Mexico Coast.
Point Loma has a rich and significant military history because of its natural and strategical location. It is the only peninsula in the area providing a very tactical advantage to the military and it has one of the largest concentration of military personnel and veterans. The Naval Base Point Loma is a designated Naval area was established in 1998. The Naval base consists of seven facilities which form a close-knit and highly technical hub for the military operations.
The Naval base has about 22,000 military plus civilian population and the city of San Diego host more than 2,40,000 veterans, making it the most favored place in the United States for the military and veteran community. The active duty service members in the military community are split between the U.S Navy and the U.S Marine Corps.
San Diego is a military friendly town, encouraging more than half of the 15,000 military personnel, who transition from active duty every year, to stay back in the town. The popularity of the town is such that there are more retired veterans than active military personnel in the place. It is also said that the town houses more retired admirals than any other in the world, speaking highly of its acceptance and welcoming nature for the military community.
Another reason the life of a veteran is so enjoyable and stress-free is that “military discounts’’ are offered to all veterans in a variety of places from restaurants to entertainment centers to car dealerships. Since it can be difficult for retired personnel to find houses, the Military Family Housing Offices are situated in all the bases to help personnel who are transitioning to find the best possible housing for good rates.
Point Loma, San Diego city is an amazing place, situated right along the West Coast, it is a natural habitat for various flora and fauna while also making for an ideal tourist destination. The Cabrillo National Monument is a must visit destination to visitors of San Diego not only for its historic significance but also for the lovely surroundings that it provides.