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- Itinerary for Point Loma San Diego
- Cabrillo National Monument
- Old Point Loma Lighthouse
- Cabrillo Tidepools
- Two Other Things to See at the Cabrillo Monument
- Liberty Station
- Dinner and a Movie at THE LOT
- Local Art
- Officine Buona Forchetta
- Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay
- Point Loma Seafoods
- Fisherman's Landing
- More Point Loma-Area Places to Explore in San Diego
- Other Must-Visit Areas in San Diego
The community of Point Loma in San Diego offers up stunning Pacific Ocean views and more. A National park, tidepools and seafood dining are just the start of what families can explore in this beautiful Southern California city.
The seaside community of Point Loma San Diego is considered the landing place of the first European expedition ashore California. Point Loma’s peninsula houses two major military bases, a national monument, parks and glorious ocean views. That’s plenty of entertainment for locals and visitors alike. As a San Diego native, my family and I have toured Point Loma San Diego often.
Itinerary for Point Loma San Diego
The Point Loma peninsula is described as “where California began.” Point Loma San Diego is still a fresh location waiting to be discovered, with much to see and explore in this diverse area!
My grandfather was in the military and my father spent his first 6 years living in Point Loma. As a child we would visit Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (where my grandparents rest). Over the years I’ve come back to Point Loma again with my own family to explore more of this diverse area.
From historical interests, arts and music, shopping, sunset watching and even a night on the town, Point Loma really does have it all. And Point Loma is very close to the downtown area so it’s easily accessible for out-of-town travelers.
This itinerary for Point Loma San Diego will give you a taste of the city’s rich past and present-day edge. I’ve also included details on how to explore other attractions within the downtown San Diego area.
TravelingMom Tip: Visit during late spring/early summer and keep your eyes open for the beautiful jacaranda trees in bloom all over Point Loma. Their brilliant purplish-blue flowers are a highlight in the San Diego area.
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr. San Diego, CA 92106
This trip itinerary begins at the farthest tip of the peninsula of Point Loma, at the Cabrillo National Monument. Here you’ll be able to view the location where Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped off his boat nearly 400 years ago. The monument is also home to the old Point Loma Lighthouse and Cabrillo tidepools.
The two lane road leading out to the Cabrillo National Monument cuts through Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. Due to the surrounding military buildings and equipment, it almost looks like you’re going into the wrong area, but continue down the road. At the end, there is an entrance station. Cost per vehicle is $20 and credit cards are accepted.
Start at the Visitor Center with the short film, “In Search of Cabrillo.” There is an exhibit hall with fascinating details about what life was like 400 years ago, including clothing worn and information about the native Kumeyaay Indians.
The area around the Cabrillo Statue offers beautiful views of the bay below along with a view of Coronado Island and downtown San Diego. On a clear day you can see the Coronado Bridge, Hotel Del Coronado and beyond. You may find that the skies are overcast, as they were during our early summer visit.
Beginning in 1855, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse served the San Diego Bay. However, fog and low clouds often obscured the light. After 36 years, operations were moved to a new lighthouse location closer to the tip of the Point.
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Visitors to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse can get a glimpse into life lived in a lighthouse. The rooms have been preserved with artifacts from years past. My kids loved walking up the narrow staircase to see the tiny bedrooms inside the lighthouse. The actual lighthouse tower was closed. My kids were able to ascend the ladder to peek up and see the Fresnel lens.
Explore the Cabrillo Tidepools as part of your trip to the monument. You’ll need to time the visit along with the tide, choosing to come when tides are low. Explorers will be rewarded with in-the-wild views of crabs, sea stars and anemone. Guides are available to answer questions and remind guests not to lift creatures from the water or remove shells from the area.
Parking near the tidepools is extremely limited. Most guests park in the upper lot near the visitor center, then take the long walk downhill towards the water. Wear water-resistant shoes with decent traction to avoid slipping on the wet rocks. Plan your visit between late fall and in winter for the best tide conditions.
Two Other Things to See at the Cabrillo Monument
- Over 25,000 gray whales pass through Point Loma on their yearly migration from the Arctic to Baja California. The spouting whales can be spotted from this high vantage point. Viewing is best in winter (January and February). Consider a San Diego whale watching tour if you’d like a closer look.
- Up for a long hike? The Bayside Trail is 2.5 miles round trip and gives visitors a good look at San Diego native plants. There are also remnants of World War I and II defense systems on the trail.
TravelingMom Tip: There is no food for sale at the Cabrillo Monument (except for a few snack machines). Consider bringing a picnic lunch or eating beforehand.
2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106
In its former life, Liberty Station was known as the Naval Training Center (NTC). From 1923-1997, Naval recruits began their training here and the NTC provided a valuable military resource. In 2000, The City of San Diego gained ownership of the property, re-purposing the site into a center for commerce, history and arts.
Today Liberty Station offers a fantastic range of entertainment. There’s the Liberty Public Market, Liberty Station NTC waterfront park, boutique shopping, dining and entertainment.
Foodies will enjoy strolling through the Liberty Public Market, open every day of the week. The offers are varied from boba tea and acai, to Filipino rice bowls and French pastries. Take your treats outside to enjoy them on one of the many rustic patios.
Read More: 50 Free Things to Do in San Diego with Kids
THE LOT Liberty Station takes movie watching into an elegant direction with an up-scale experience. Comfortable leather recliners, in-theater dining and drinks elevate movie-watching.
There are swing-away trays to hold your food over your lap as well as plenty of cup holders and a side table. The sound quality in the theater is incredible and the food is delicious. Choose from flatbreads and salad to heartier dishes like Wagyu Beef Carpaccio and Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwiches. Or stick to traditional movie theater popcorn (they offer buttered as well as chili, caramel, salt & vinegar or zebra).
TravelingMom Tip: This upscale cinema restaurant also features a bar and cafe out front so you can indulge in a meal before or after your film.
The ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station is the place to create and buy local art. Various art installations are located on display throughout the Station along with art galleries.
The first Friday of each month is dedicated to community artists, offering visitors a deeper experience. Look for live music, artist workshops, family art classes and free kids crafts.
You know that an Italian restaurant is going to be good when you’re surrounded by other guests speaking Italian. If the Italian locals eat here, the food has got to be on point, right? And Officine Buona Forcetta, located at Point Loma’s Liberty Station, is definitely on point.
From the quirky and rustic interior that houses gold-tiled wood pizza ovens to the front and back patios where guests can soak in the atmosphere, Officine Buona Forcetta is upscale dining that’s still warm and cozy.
This restaurant is almost always busy, so be sure to call ahead for a table. With young children, request to sit on the back outdoor patio. While parents sip Bellinis, little ones can play on the grassy lot or on the swing set. Liberty Station sits under the path of planes leaving the airport. Be prepared for a few pauses in the conversation when jets pass overhead!
TravelingMom Tip: Just the two of you? Check out the vintage red Fiat that’s been converted into a cozy table for two. You’ll need to request it in advance when you book your reservation.
2303 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106
This outdoor venue serves up live music in a San Diego summer tradition. Concert musicians err on the older side so this might be an activity to do without younger kids.
Read More: 40 Fun Things to Do in San Diego with Kids
2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106
When on the west coast, one must indulge in the local catch! Point Loma Seafoods offers fresh fish to take and cook but if you’re traveling, the take-out menu is where it’s at. Choose from fresh made seafood cocktails, plates, sandwiches, sushi and salads.
Expect a wait to order, especially on weekends when crowds are heavy here. I also highly recommend sitting indoors if possible. The local birds are adept at swooping in to snag a bite of your meal!
Read More: Best Kid Friendly Restaurants in San Diego
2838 Garrison St, San Diego, CA 92106
If you’re ready to try your hand at catching your own fish, this is where to get onboard! Book a trip online to catch calico bass, sand bass, sculpin, tuna or yellowtail. Open party fishing trips are available for 1/2 day, full day and overnights.
This is an intense and competitive sport, best left for older teens and adults. My husband is an avid fisherman, often fishing from his kayak in La Jolla. But when he books a charter boat trip, Fisherman’s Landing is his first choice. Rod rentals are available.
More Point Loma-Area Places to Explore in San Diego
- Shelter Island is home to Shoreline Park, a mile-long promenade that stretches along the bay side. There is a public fishing pier, boat launching ramp and grand views of the San Diego skyline.
- A San Diego sunset over the ocean can’t be beat. The Sunset Cliffs locale is a favorite. Enjoy the evening at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, a seaside park with sweeping views of the Pacific and cliff rocks.
Other Must-Visit Areas in San Diego
To embrace more of the cultural history of San Diego, visit Old Town. It’s the best spot for authentic Mexican food as well as shopping and free museums. You’ll find Old Town along with SeaWorld and Gaslamp Quarter in this San Diego 3-day itinerary.
Mission Bay is one of the top beaches for families in San Diego. Check out the list for other best beach spots to take kids.