Did you know that the Cabrillo National Monument is more than just, well, a monument? The statue itself is a beautiful commemoration of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, founder of the San Diego Bay. But that’s just the beginning!
Explore the Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma with National Charter Bus San Diego. Call 619-344-0549 to reserve a San Diego charter bus for a field trip or private tour of an important location in San Diego’s history
Even if you’ve lived in San Diego your entire life, there’s still plenty to learn about how the area came to be. If you’re traveling with a group of out-of-towners, great! There’s even more for you to learn.
On September 28, 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed in what’s now known as Point Loma along the San Diego Bay. The Spanish expeditionist is hailed as the founder of the San Diego Bay area and his likeness was immortalized in a sandstone sculpture in 1949. Unfortunately, this original sculpture succumbed to extensive damage from the elements while waterfront at Point Loma. Never fear; the statue was swapped with a sturdy limestone replacement in 1988 and has served as a beacon for Point Loma visitors ever since.
The Cabrillo statue isn’t the only historic landmark at the tip of Point Loma. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse has been a beloved piece of SoCal history since 1851 and is a popular site among monument visitors. The entire Cabrillo National Monument encompasses a 144-acre area that includes the Cabrillo statue, a visitor center, two lighthouses, hiking trails, and tide pools.
The monument is located at the southernmost tip of the Point Loma Peninsula, right across the bay from Downtown San Diego. Cabrillo Memorial Drive is the only way in and out of the National Monument.
If you’re traveling from Downtown San Diego, the drive will take around 25 to 30 minutes via I-5. Looking for a leisurely waterfront drive as opposed to taking the highway? Take North Harbor Drive to appreciate the bayfront views from your bus’s panoramic windows.
Due to its waterfront location and extensive history, Point Loma and the National Monument is frequented by groups of tourists. One of the best ways to visit every spot on your San Diego itinerary is by renting a motorcoach for your entire trip.
Consolidate your group into a compact minibus or a full-size charter bus on your trip down the Point Loma peninsula to the Cabrillo National Monument. Compared to carpooling in rental cars, traveling via motorcoach will keep entrance and parking fees to local attractions as low as possible. Although attractions like the National Monument, USS Midway Museum, and Balboa Park are tourist-heavy areas, there’s always plenty of motorcoach parking.
Admission fees to the National Monument are dependent on your mode of transportation and the number of visitors in your group. Visitors traveling by a motorized vehicle will pay per car/bus while walkers and cyclists will pay per person.
Passenger vehicles: $20/vehicle
Walkers and cyclists: $10/person
Buses under 25-passenger capacity: $45/bus
Buses 26+ passenger capacity: $100/bus
Entrance to the National Monument includes parking, access to trails, the visitor center and the tide pools, and self-guided tour options.
The Cabrillo National Monument is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Inclement weather or unsafe conditions may warrant partial or full closures of the monument.
This is usually the best place to start your visit to the national monument. The visitor center houses an auditorium with educational films about Point Loma’s history, a bookstore, a gift shop, and, of course, helpful park rangers to assist your group. Adjoining buildings include informative exhibits covering Cabrillo’s journey and the peninsula’s military history during WWII. After exploring the visitor center, head over to the iconic Cabrillo statue overlooking the water.
Bayside Trail is the most frequently traveled trail at the Cabrillo National Monument. The two-mile trail follows the peninsula's eastern coastline and offers scenic views of the bay. The Coastal Trail is a short one-mile hike along the western coastline and gives guests sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. During the winter months, you can catch gray whales traveling close to shore from the highest points of the Coastal Trail.
The tide pools on the western coast of the Point Loma peninsula are a prime location to get your toes wet and to get hands-on with wildlife. When the tide is low, you can walk among the flourishing sea life. To protect the ecosystem, large groups of 10 or more must request a permit to visit the tidepools during low tide. Be sure to wear your sturdiest shoes, as the rocks here can get slippery!
Point Loma has two lighthouses, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse located in Cabrillo National Monument and the New Point Loma Lighthouse located at the southernmost coast of the peninsula. The charmingly small Old Point Loma Lighthouse first began service in 1850 and was replaced by the new lighthouse in 1891. The old lighthouse is now a historic center where visitors can climb to the top and admire the coastal views on Open Tower Days.
The Cabrillo National Monument is the perfect location for all types of activities and events. From science field trips to special military ceremonies, the monument allows reservations for a wide range of occasions.
Self-guided and guided field trip options are available year-round. Ranger-led programs include history tracks that explore the history of Cabrillo’s voyage and science programs that explore the tide pools and biodiversity in the ecosystem. Reservations are required for guided programs, but self-guided school groups are free to visit whenever they please. Keep in mind that large self-guided groups will need to request a permit to visit the tide pools.
Are you looking to plan a waterfront wedding? The Cabrillo National Monument accepts applications for wedding ceremonies at least 21 days in advance. The historic location has one of the best views of the water in San Diego and is a beautiful spot for a ceremony. You can rely on National Charter Bus for wedding shuttles to transport your guests from your waterfront ceremony to your reception venue anywhere in the city.
Point Loma has a long military history, making it a popular location for important ceremonies. Small ceremonies with less than 10 people can be held at the Cabrillo statue as long as access to the location for other visitors is not blocked. Larger ceremonies are welcomed at the national monument with an advance application.
Make your next group visit to the Cabrillo National Monument as easy as possible with a motorcoach from National Charter Bus. We’ll have the transportation covered so you can enjoy a day of learning about San Diego history by the water. Give us a call at 619-344-0549 to get a charter bus quote for your trip!