Cabrillo National Monument Caves and Tidepools

I found this little hidden gem on an lucky guess that there might be something cool in San Diego’s only National Monument.

Good thing I was right.

photo by Sophie Henry

If you take a trip down to Point Loma during low tide, you might just be rewarded with one of San Diego’s most beautiful landscapes: the Cabrillo Tidepools.

Not only are these tidepools way too much fun to scramble across, but there’s a magnificent cave to be found if you venture a little deeper than the average tourist.

photo by Sophie Henry

Limestone walls and glittering water flowing in and out of the two sea cave outlets make the place feel like a mystical mermaid kingdom.

The seals that hang out around there help enforce that feeling even further. However, they can be aggressive if they find you threatening. Don’t come too close to them, feed them, or pet them (as that spreads diseases the seals aren’t equipped to fight off). They are cute to look at, though!

oh baby oh baby

The cave opens up to the sky above, a pretty impressive sight. I could honestly sit in there for hours upon hours at a time, it’s just ridiculously peaceful and beautiful. There really is nothing like feeling the earth beneath your feet while the sea kisses your toes. And being inside this hidden cave that most tourists ignore is a good escape from from the always crowded tidepools.

That being said, if you decide to try to check this place out, I have to caution you: it may be extremely dangerous. When we entered the cave, there was a huge pile of rocks that had eroded from the cliff above. It appears that unfortunately, erosion is whittling down the cliffs and may cause the cave to collapse into itself. While one part of the cave opens up to the sky, it is still a relatively tight space and would be a bad place to get stuck. Don’t contribute to erosion any further by climbing onto the cliffs!

I also would not recommend visiting during high tide, as it makes many areas of the tidepools unaccessible.

However, this place is well worth a visit, even if you don’t get around to visiting the seal cave. The tidepools, although crowded, are beautiful, and you can see a silhouette of Mexico in the distance from them! It’s a big space, so there’s enough to cover there that one could spend a solid two or three hours. It’s also close to Sunset Cliffs, Ocean Beach, and Pacific Beach, which are great spots to check out if you’re in the area.

Check out the gallery below if you wanna see more pictures of the magical mermaid kingdom and the rest of Cabrillo!

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3 thoughts on “Cabrillo National Monument Caves and Tidepools

  1. The cave is really an incredible sight! Visitors should be advised that the cave is supposed to be closed to the public and entering is violating the law. But, on a recent trek (1/23/15) there were many people in and around the cave. Just something to be aware of!


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