The Pearl Hotel, San Diego: Near the Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma History

Point Loma is a neighborhood of dramatic contrasts encompassing at least four distinct districts. Down by the Midway you'll find strip malls with familiar restaurants and retail destinations. Down by The Midway you'll find seedy strip shows. On the Ocean Beach side, surf pounds the rugged coastline, while The Harbor side, home to The Pearl Hotel, is a safe haven for yachts.

A peninsula jutting into the sea, it's easy to think of Point Loma as a dead end - "land's end" in fact. But, as the site where San Diego was discovered in the first place, it seems more appropriate to consider Point Loma as a starting point - the start of a new land, a new dream, a new way of looking at things. And that's just the place to start your own exploration of San Diego, with a voyage around Point Loma.

Cruising Around

For starters, take "the high road" and take a ride out Catalina Boulevard to Cabrillo Memorial Drive. You'll pass through the Fort Rosecrans Military Reserve and National Cemetery with its orderly rows of grave markers commemorating soldiers lost in battle and sailors lost at sea. At the end of the road, on a promontory high above the water, three inspiring sights await you at the Cabrillo National Monument (619-557-5450). The first is the Cabrillo Monument itself, a simple statue honoring the momentous occasion in 1542 when European explorers discovered San Diego Harbor and set foot on the West Coast of what would later become the United States. The second is the historic, 150 year old Point Loma Lighthouse that guided ships safely home from the sea. But the most worthwhile reason to make the trip to the tip, is the spectacular 360 degree view. To the north, miles of white, sandy, San Diego beach. To the west, open ocean stretching to the horizon. To the east, sailboats racing in the protected waters of San Diego Bay. To the south, the Downtown San Diego skyline, Coronado Island and Mexico beyond.

Outside The Pearl Hotel, Rosecrans Street leads you past the new planned residential communities around the Airport, to North Harbor Drive and the Harbor Island and Shelter Island yacht harbors. Here you'll find shipyards and marinas, tackle shops and marine supplies, every conceivable need to serve San Diego's voracious boating community. Racing enthusiasts will enjoy the daily spectacle of America's Cup Class sailboats training offshore, while hands-on seafarers can book fishing trips, whale-watching tours and harbor cruises at any of a dozen other private charter operations in The Harbor area. The beaches on the Harbor side aren't really suitable for swimming but they're great for jogging. There are excellent tide pools to explore below the lighthouse at the west end of Point Loma and, in the winter, you stand a good chance of spotting Gray Whales here.

Ultimately, Point Loma isn't land's end at all; it's a beginning, the start of great adventures and new discoveries during your stay in San Diego.

Courtesy of San Diego Visitors and Convention Bureau. Used with Permission