On Mother’s Day we tackled our first National Monument as a family- The Cabrillo National Monument. With over 300 National Monuments in the country, they are much easier to find and visit than the 59 National Parks. You’d be surprised how close some are to where you live- the National PArs Service has a really cool map. The closest one to us is Cabrillo National Monument on San Diego’s Point Loma, about 30 minutes from our house. We’ve never explored Point Loma and Mary wanted to check it out for Mother’s Day, so we packed the kids in the van and headed out.

Before we even entered the park, we had to drive through Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, a beautiful cemetery for our veterans and their families. The beauty of the design and simplicity is truly remarkable.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (Photo credit Ruthanne Annaloro)
Once we entered Cabrillo National Monument, we explored the Visitors Center to get our bearings and plot our course through the relatively small park. The park can be really be seen as two separate spaces, one is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and structures on top of the hill. The other is the tidepools along the western coastline with sandstone cliffs creating a dramatic landscape.
The National Monument is named after Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer, was the first European to set foot on the west coast of the present day United States.
We started with the Lighthouse first and strolled the girls around while we checked out the San Diego skyline, mountain ranges to the east, and Coronado Islands of Baja California, Mexico, to the south.
San Diego Harbor


Looking up the hill to the lighthouse
Juan Cabrillo memorial statue- a gift from Portugal


Coronado Island from the lighthouse
After exploring up around the lighthouse and soaking in the amazing panoramic views, we hopped back in the van to check out the tidepools. We only had about 2 hours before the park closed and the tidepools closed 30 minutes earlier than that, so we put the girls in the Ergobabies, since the walking trails were uneven, steep at points, and not stroller friendly, and headed down to the tidepools.
With the low tide still a few hours away, many of the tidepools were submerged, but the sandstone cliffs were more than attractive to check out and admire.
Mary up on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific


Mary and Quincy checking out the sandstone cliffs


The tidepools creating a nice place to relax or play


I bet when big storms roll in, the spray is double in height
Because the rocks were slick with moss, we didnt get too adventurous around the visible tidepools, but we know that we need to check the tides the next time we go to get the full experience. As we were heading out, we took a final look at the ocean and saw a few seals swimming around 50 yards offshore.
Overall, I think Mary enjoyed her first Mother’s Day and our first National Monument is in the books!


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