San Diego/Point Loma-Ocean Beach
Sitting at the mouth of San Diego Bay on a peninsula west of the city's airport, Point Loma offers a pleasant diversion from the city's busy tourist-filled neighborhoods and beaches, with lovely scenery and the historic attractions of Cabrillo National Monument overlooking the area's spectacular coastline. Nearby sits laid-back Ocean Beach, a small, relaxed beach town without all of the usual bells and whistles typical of the popular beach neighborhoods just to the north.
By carIf driving, there are three primary access points into Point Loma: Rosecrans Street from Old Town to the northeast, Harbor Drive past the airport from the east, and Nimitz Boulevard from Mission Bay to the north.
By public transitThe Metropolitan Transportation System (MTS) operates buses in San Diego, but service to the Point Loma area is slim, with routes few and far between and running pretty infrequently. Route 28 on Rosecrans Street and Route 35 to Ocean Beach connect to the Trolley station in Old Town, while Route 923 connects Ocean Beach to Downtown on the weekdays and the airport on Saturdays via Harbor Drive.
If you want to go to the Cabrillo National Monument or Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery via the bus, take the #28 bus to Shelter Island Drive and Rosecrans Street and then take the #84 bus towards Cabrillo Monument. But note that the #84 runs only on the weekdays, and very infrequently at that.
Fort Rosecransaddress: north of Cabrillo National MonumentA former World War II military outpost, situated on Point Loma to protect the Naval Base on Coronado from attack by sea. The fort contains bunkers, weapons emplacements and the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, which holds a number of monuments including the USS Bennington Monument. An exhibit in Cabrillo National Monument displays some of the history of Fort Rosecrans.
Cabrillo National Monument
In addition to its main sights, Cabrillo also offers a few other attractions:
- There is a a few miles drive from the Visitor Center, down the cliff on the Pacific Ocean side, where visitors can explore a living tide pool ecosystem. Just be cautious of the marine life and slippery rocks! Wearing shoes with proper grips is a must when visiting any tidal ecosystem.
- A about Point Loma is near the parking lot, which preserves a few of the old coastal defense mechanisms which were in place during both world wars. Occasionally, a docent will be present to answer any questions about the military history of the area.
- A , near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, offers a great place to watch the annual Gray Whale migration every winter.
- The gives you a chance to stroll through a native coastal scrubland. Sea lions are very often seen from this trail, playing on the buoys bobbing in the ocean below. The trail is one way.
address: Main lifeguard station at 1950 Abbott StA large sandy beach, which cater to just about every beach-going type, offering designated surfing and swimming zones, which are monitored by the local life guards.
Dog BeachAt the northern end of Ocean Beach, dog lovers can bring their pets along for a romp in the waves or a swim in the flood channel.
Ocean Beach Municipal Pieraddress: at the south end of the beachExtends out over the waves and offers great views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean and coast. A tackle shop in the middle of the pier provides bait and supplies for the many fishing enthusiasts who frequent the area. This is one of the few places that visitors can fish without a California fishing license. Pole rentals are available at the bait shop as well.
Sunset Cliffsaddress: along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard south of Ocean BeachA lovely setting, Sunset Cliffs is an excellent place for sightseeing, picnics, watching sunsets (as the name suggests) or just driving along the rim of the beautiful cliffs along Sunset Cliffs Blvd. There is also a rather secluded beach there, but it's swim at your own risk. It is quite popular with the more adventurous and seasoned surfer as the surf is rather rough for the area. Be warned, however, that there are no lifeguards at this secluded beach and it is only accessible by scaling a gently eroding (but long-standing) cliff face. Local surfers have been kind enough to provide a rope that aids in 'safely' repelling down the cliff face. Some upper body strength is required to return to the top.
phone: +1 619-220-8497address: 2241 Shelter Island DrA concert series held every May through October, showcasing some famous entertainers (Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jewel, The Moody Blues, Bonnie Raitt) at Humphrey's Half Moon Inn & Suites. A wide variety of styles, from rock and jazz to comedy, blues and international music. Humphreys Restaurant also has live blues/jazz/disco/classic rock music every night in its lounge.
BoatingPoint Loma, as the home of Shelter Island and Harbor Island, offers plenty of opportunities for boating on the San Diego Bay.
Shelter Island Boat Launching RampProvides the closest access to the Pacific Ocean (approximately 3 miles away) of the four boat launch ramps on San Diego Bay. Restrooms and a large parking lot are immediately available. For visiting fishermen, the bait receivers, where anchovies and sardines can be purchased, are on the right side of the channel as you exit the harbor. The bait barges are open 24 hours per day.
- There are two anchorages here; , east of Harbor Island, is set aside for visiting boaters. A permit is required to anchor here; permits are valid up to 30 days at a time. Permits can be obtained at the Shelter Island Harbor Police Facility, 1401 Shelter Island Drive, +1 619-686-6272. , near several yacht clubs in the Shelter Island yacht basin, has room for around 25 boats. La Playa allows stays on weekends only, up to 72 hours. Nearby yacht clubs include: San Diego Yacht Club and Southwestern Yacht Club.
- Harbor Island West Marina is a full-service marina that is also popular for convenience. Dock services include restroom/shower facilities, electric, water, telephone, dock boxes & carts, fuel dock/pumpout station, swimming pool, saunas, boathouse restaurant, deli/liquor store, boutique, sailing club, picnic area, and laundry facilities, to name a few. Liveaboards are also welcome. is on the east side of Harbor Island, with more than 600 boat slips. Dock services such as electrical hookups, telephone jacks, satellite television, wireless internet, fresh water service, and a waste pump-out station are available.
- There are also several moorings throughout the harbor for vessels ranging from two to 65 feet in length. They are available north of the Grape Street Pier and south of the Coast Guard Station, near Downtown. Mooring balls that are strictly for transients are also available. Visit the SD Mooring Company Office, 2040 N. Harbor Island Drive, +1 619-291-0916, for an application.
- The local Kiwanis Club hosts the Ocean Beach Kite Festival each Spring, filling the sky above a local park with color. Children get to enjoy kite making and a carnival, and there also vendors and live music.
- Every April, Point Loma hosts the annual Day at the Docks sportfishing tournament and festival, where you can learn how to catch and cook fish, take part in fishing contests, take a boat ride on the bay, and enjoy lots of food and entertainment.
- The Ocean Beach Street Fair takes place annually in late June and includes live entertainment, displays by local artists, and a chili cook-off festival.
- The Cabrillo Festival is held every September to commemorate Cabrillo's landing on Point Loma in 1542. Festivities include demonstrations of Native American, Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish culture, food, dancing, and a reenactment of Cabrillo's landing.
- In December, the Parade of Lights starts at Shelter Island in Point Loma, as dozens of boats decked out in Christmas lights make their way across the bay towards Downtown.
phone: +1 619-224-2733address: 2804 Canon StBoating materials, supplies, and equipment are available here.
phone: +1 619-225-8585address: 4051 Voltaire StThe place to go for silver, crystal, china, oriental rugs and lamps, and has been highly rated since opening day.
phone: +1 619-223-8989address: 1254 Scott StA lot of boating products here, like navigational charts, sailing guides, plotting tools, and nautical-themed books and gifts.
Newport Avenue Antiquesphone: +1 619-224-1994address: 4836 Newport AveWell known amongst antique collectors for the range of antique lighting and cigar and smoking accessories.
phone: +1 619-224-4623address: 5010 Newport AveThis restaurant is very popular, especially on weekends; sometimes the line outside reaches the street corner; their logo is a caricatured surfing burger with a caricature Hispanic person riding on top. they also have a Hodads van parked outside. It's a burger joint with fries and shirts and shoes are not required. A pair of seats inside is shaped like a car, and you sit in the driver seats. Their milkshakes are huge and should not be ordered with a meal.
phone: +1 619-224-3369address: 1852 Bacon StGreat food and a lovely patio seating area.
phone: +1 619-222-1880address: 4941 Newport AveFamily owned and operated for over 35 years; a local favorite for breakfast. They will also serve you bottomless cups of coffee.
phone: +1 619-226-7619address: 1830 Sunset Cliffs BlvdCreative Mexican food with an eye towards organic and healthy options. Many vegetarian and vegan options, though the extensivity of the menu caters to every meat-lover's Mexican food dreams. Ample portions, casual service, smoothies and juices and organic salad bar available. Popular, but large enough to handle its crowds except at prime weekend times.
Tower Two Cafephone: +1 619-223-4059address: 5083 Santa Monica AveThis is a family-friendly atmosphere where childless singles can enjoy a good time.
phone: +1 619-224-0606address: 2253 Sunset Cliffs BlvdGerman food isn't the first thing most people associate with San Diego, but this place has been serving top quality Bavarian fare since 1980. Has a lively Biergarten with typical German pub food and a more sedate restaurant with a more extensive menu.
phone: +1 619-756-7715address: 4204 Voltaire StExceptional gastro pub with excellent food and a unique beer selection. The rib-eye steak fries are excellent. 16 great beers on tap including Belgians, local San Diego craft beers and other worthy selections. They will typically have a cask night each week, check out their website. Happy Hour from 4PM-6:19PM.
phone: +1 619-222-6822address: 1921 Bacon StNightly bands & dancing, karoke & Monday night football. Watch the lines on the weekend as this place is packed with live bands, even during the daytime on summer Sundays.
phone: +1 619-223-4778address: 3790 Udall StA friendly and clean hostel, with dorm rooms at $25-45/night and private rooms in the $48-105 range.
phone: +1 619-224-3411address: 2303 Shelter Island DrLocated on Shelter Island, this resort offers many activities including live concerts.
Ocean Beach International Hostelphone: +1 619-223-7873address: 4961 Newport AveA popular hostel with backpackers and budget travelers. There is a bus line on Cable Street that makes it possible to reach the airport.
phone: +1 619-224-3655address: 2901 Nimitz Blvd100 percent non-smoking hotel one mile from the San Diego International Airport. Free airport transportation is available.
phone: +1 619-224-3371address: 1325 Scott St