The National Park Service calls the Cabrillo tide pools "one of the best-protected and easily accessible rocky intertidal areas in southern California."
  • The National Park Service calls the Cabrillo tide pools "one of the best-protected and easily accessible rocky intertidal areas in southern California."
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San Diego is such a beautiful part of the country. One might even go as far as to say the most beautiful part — there's so much to see and explore, even in our own backyard.

Case in point: Cabrillo National Monument and Tide Pools. This little mini-adventure is packed with history, natural beauty, and views for days.

Fort Rosecrans Cemetery sprawls out with a view of the San Diego Bay below.

Fort Rosecrans Cemetery sprawls out with a view of the San Diego Bay below.

On the drive up to the Cabrillo National Monument, you pass by Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. A sprawling sight of neatly lined white tombstones overlooking the San Diego skyline on one side, and the great Pacific on the other. Walking among the headstones you can see some dates back to the late 1890’s: men and women, husbands and wives. The placement of this cemetery, along this narrow peninsula in such a beautiful place, with so many lives of men and women who served for our country, is a humbling experience.

From there, we entered the park itself, which is nestled on the edge of the peninsula. The monument is dedicated to the explorers who came to these shores from Spain. (You can read more about Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo here.)

Reading about the monument while taking in the views of the city and realizing that this is now my backyard made me count my lucky stars. It’s a spectacular vantage point of the San Diego skyline.

We wandered up to check out the historic lighthouse on the hill. You can get a sense of what it must have been like to warn ships of the land they were approaching. The stairs are narrow, the building small. I felt the isolation (and claustrophobia) of being out on this peninsula, alone in the lighthouse. Lighthouse keeper is not on my list of future jobs.

So close, yet so far from downtown.

So close, yet so far from downtown.

After all the obligatory history lessons, we headed down the hill to the tide pools. Which were awesome! Seriously, one of the coolest and most tranquil places, even with all of the kids and tourists. There's something so dreamy about salt air, sunshine on your face, a soft breeze, and all of these little pools of water to discover. This is someplace you can picture mermaids hanging out in the turquoise water below.

When you stop and look closely there is life happening in all of the pools. Crabs, starfish (I’m told, but didn’t spot any), anemones, snails. And the views were breathtaking.

This treasure is just in over in Point Loma, available all year round. And the pass to get in is valid for a week. Go! Explore!

Cabrillo National Monument

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