As the park’s namesake, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo led the first European expedition to explore what is now the west coast of the United States. Cabrillo departed from the port of Navidad, Mexico, on June 27, 1542. Three months later he arrived at "a very good enclosed port," which is known today as San Diego Bay. Historians believe he anchored his flagship, the San Salvador, on Point Loma's east shore near Cabrillo National Monument. Cabrillo later died during the expedition, but his crew pushed on, possibly as far north as Oregon, before thrashing winter storms forced them to back to Mexico.
Cabrillo National Monument, established in 1913, commemorates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's voyage of discovery. A heroic statue of Cabrillo looks out over the bay that he first sailed into on September 28, 1542. At the Visitor Center, the film "In Search of Cabrillo" and an exhibit hall present Cabrillo's life and times. Ranger-led programs about Cabrillo are usually available on weekends and on many weekdays during summer months.
Known as "Americas Finest City", elegant and sunny San Diego is truly a city with something for everyone. In town, a whole day or more could be spent in Balboa Park, playing golf, touring the world-famous San Diego Zoo or visiting a museum. Just outside of town, Torrey Pines State Reserve offers a somewhat wilder terrain where visitors can view rare birds and the stately trees the park is named for. Children, and in turn parents, will be delighted with the city's wide range of family-oriented activities. From SeaWorld to the historic Gaslamp Quarter, there are events and exhibits to keep even the most hard-to-please happy. San Diego boasts an array of fine and trendy restaurants covering a melting pot of cuisines, world-class shopping and hotels from lavish to budget. San Diego is the eighth largest city in the United Sates and the second largest city in California. Relatively free from smog and byzantine freeways, San Diego, set around a gracefully curving bay, represents the acceptable face of southern California. Although it was the site of the first mission in California, the city only really took off with the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad in the 1880s, and in terms of trade and significance it has long been in the shadow of Los Angeles. However, during World War II the US Navy made San Diego its Pacific Command Center, and the military continues to dominate the local economy, along with tourism and the Biotech Industry. San Diego is also home to one of the 2009 top ten beaches in the US. Coronado beach has just moved up from the number 8 position to number 4. You can enjoy the 100 year old Hotel Del Coronado visited by Kings, Presidents and movie stars behind you while taking in the ships and sail boats in front of scenic Point Loma.