DAY TRIP: Point Loma

History, Views, Nature, Marinas… Point Loma!

Point Loma is a peninsula in the city of San Diego which includes Ocean Beach, Liberty Station, Harbor Island, and Shelter Island. It is known as the place “where California began” since it is the landing place of the first European expedition to come ashore in 1542. Great restaurants, activities, and stunning views of downtown San Diego’s skyline await you.
OLD POINT LOMA LIGHTHOUSE
Completed in 1855, the lighthouse is 422 above sea level.The lighthouse served for 36 years until it was realized that it’s elevation was subject to fog, low clouds and marine layer. On foggy nights the lighthouse keeper would sometimes discharge a shotgun to warn ships away. A new Point Loma Light Station (Point Loma Light) was established at a lower elevation in 1891 and still operates today. In October 1913, a presidential proclamation set aside the 1/2 acre of ground surrounding the lighthouse as Cabrillo National Monument. The monument was turned over to the National Park Service in1933.
When you arrive at Cabrillo National Monument, take a self-guided tour of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and visit three different exhibit rooms renovated to reflect it’s original 1850s splendor. You may also see the wonders of the tidepools during the winter months, hike the Bayside Trail or just enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the city of San Diego.
Fun Fact! The New Point Loma Lighthouse, located near Cabrillo National Monument, is the setting of Viper’s house in the movie Top Gun.
SHELTER ISLAND
First recorded as a “mudbank,” visible only at low tide, Shelter Island is not an island but is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. It was built up into dry land using material dredged from the bay in 1934 and developed in the 1950s.
Per a special city overlay zone, all buildings on Shelter Island are supposed to follow a “Polynesian” theme, which was very popular in the 1950s when the area was first developed and attracted a concentration of multiple exotically themed restaurants and “tiki bars.” Still operating since 1954, the famous Bali Hai Restaurant has a tiki bar and its own yacht dock.
The Half Moon Inn, with its attached Humphrey’s restaurant and summer concert venue, also retains a Polynesian theme. Humphrey’s Concerts are a unique and wonderful experience. Situated right on the bay, the intimate 1,450 seat venue features international performances with an incredible backdrop of sunsets and moored sailboats.
Shelter Island is known as a destination for superyachts because it contains one of the few marinas in San Diego Bay with a deep enough harbor for these oversized vessels.
Fun Fact! Point Loma hosts the biggest sport fishing fleet in Southern California.
LIBERTY STATION
Liberty Station was built upon naval roots and was originally the Naval Training Center (NTC) that opened in 1923. NTC transitioned into Liberty Station and became a cultural hub of art, leisure, and history—creating a timeless destination. Today, Liberty Station is San Diego’s signature neighborhood, inviting residents, the community and visitors to connect through events and experiences while discovering and exploring all of Liberty Station’s offerings. The neighborhood features an array of boutiques and shops, over 70 local galleries in the ARTS DISTRICT, and dozens of delectable dining spots. Built by design, Liberty Station creates an
authentic experience—encompassing beautifully landscaped promenades, restored historic buildings that have been preserved for today’s commerce, storied corridors, historic landmarks, and spacious plazas.
Be sure to head to Stone Brewery for lunch where you can sit at a table where the US Navy mess hall once was or play bocce ball while you enjoy a famous Stone IPA.
Fun Fact! During the 1920s there was a dirt airstrip known as Dutch Flats in what is now the Midway neighborhood of Point Loma. That is where Charles Lindbergh first tested and flew his airplane, The Spirit of St. Louis, which had been built in San Diego by the Ryan Aeronautical Company.
SUNSET CLIFFS
Sunset can’t be beat at Sunset Cliffs. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a 68-acre regional park which extends 1½ miles along the Point Loma peninsula’s western shoreline. This unique coastal environment features expansive ocean views, dramatic cliff and rock formations, and caves, and a fascinating intertidal area, which provides connectivity to the adjacent Point Loma Ecological Reserve.
With its rugged coastline and panoramic views, this area is popular with surfers, ocean-gazers, and folks who like to cruise Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, which offers breathtaking views and the most amazing sunsets that you will ever see.
Fun Fact! Sunset Cliffs has 120,000 year old sandstone on the top layer, known as the Bay Point Formation. The 75-million year old darker shale and sandstone mix in the deeper layers, is known as the Point Loma Formation, and contains dinosaur fossils from the Cretaceous Period.

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