Point Loma

Point Loma, sitting at the gateway to San Diego Bay, provides a spectacular vista west to the Pacific Ocean and east over all of San Diego and its harbor. It is the site of Cabrillo National Monument honoring Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to set foot on the west coast of the U.S., who sailed here from Mexico in 1542 and claimed the land for the king of Spain. The visitor center has a remarkably good movie about the whole affair. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse operated from 1854 to 1891 and is now open to visit, giving interesting insights about the life of a lighthouse keeper and his family.

Point Loma is an outstanding southern California day trip. On the way, stop at Point Loma Seafoods on Emerson Street and pick up some lunch to go. This is a wildly popular local take-out establishment with outdoor tables (upper left) overlooking a pleasant harbor where you can eat if you can't wait any longer. The scallop sandwich is hard to beat.

From Point Loma, it is a short drive to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Casa de Bandini there claims to be the "Best Mexican Restaurant in San Diego" based on numerous annual votes. Have a Margarita and some snacks on their delightful patio next to the fountain (lower right), but go in mid-afternoon before the dinner crowd arrives.