In 1542, explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to step foot on what would become the West Coast of the United States. Since its founding more than four centuries later, the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation has celebrated this accomplishment—as well as the greater history and the natural scenery of San Diego's only national park, located on the southwest tip of the U.S.
Size: a two-mile hiking trail and three exhibit rooms fill a sprawling indoor-outdoor space
Eye Catcher: historical re-enactors dress in 19th-century clothing thanks to the Living History program—a sight rivaled only by the view of San Diego's coastline from 400 feet up
Permanent Mainstay: The Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which first lit up the night's sky on November 15, 1855
Annual Celebration: September's Cabrillo Festival, which recreates the voyage of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
Don't Miss: an old radio-station building where They Stood the Watch profiles the military history of the Point Loma peninsula
Special Programs: take a ranger-led bayside walk under the full moon, watch whales, or feel famous while whales watch you
Pro Tip: at low tide visitors can peer into tide pools and see the diverse wildlife that's normally hidden