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Cabrillo National Monument

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who led the first European expedition to explore what is now the West coast of the United States.

Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who led the first European expedition to explore what is now the West coast of the United States.

Cabrillo National Monument is named after Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who led the first European expedition to explore what is now the West coast of the United States. Cabrillo departed in his flagship, the San Salvador, from the port of Navidad, Mexico on June 27, 1542 and three months later arrived at what is known today as San Diego Bay.  Cabrillo would later die during the expedition, but his crew continued on, and possibly made it as far north as Oregon.  It is believed that winter storms forced them to head back to Mexico.

The monument was established in 1913 to commemorate Cabrillo's voyage of discovery.  A statue of the explorer looks out over the San Diego bay. 

A unique part of the Cabrillo National Monument experience is the incorporation of living history into the monument.  Living History Interpreters wander around the park, lighthouse or Military History Exhibit portraying people involved in the great Spanish expeditions of the 1500s, among others. The interpreters discuss clothing, armor and weaponry of sailors and soldiers, helping visitors relate their lives to those of the men who came ashore on this land in 1542.  Women even have the opportunity to try on women's clothing worn 450 years ago!

Did you know?

  • Cabrillo National Monument is the most southwesterly spot in the contiguous United States.

  • The tidepools at CBM are one of the best-preserved rocky Intertidal areas open to the public in Southern California

Learn more/get involved:

  • Be Considerate of Ocean Wildlife & Habitats.   Whether you're exploring the ocean by diving, surfing, boating or by relaxing on the beach, be sure to show your appreciation and clean up after yourself. Keep your distance from sea birds, mammals and other ocean wildlife so that you don't disturb their feeding or nesting grounds. Tread lightly on tide pools and other shore habitats. Don't remove rocks or corals.  For more information, visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/