It was in 1542 that Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese navigator discovered a sandstone hill rising out of the Pacific Ocean that was to become the place “where California began” – Point Loma.
From Point Loma (Loma means “hill” in Spanish) you will have amazing ocean views as well as a spectacular view of San Diego Bay. You will see Navy ships and subs gliding through the water about to embark or depart for far-away places. From the cliffs you can watch the California Gray Whales migrating from the Bering Sea to Baja California. You can explore the sandstone sea cliffs with their carved out arches and sea caves. The tide pools are alive with marine life. And when evening approaches the sunsets are breathtaking.
A word of caution: STAY BEHIND THE BARRIERS… the sea cliffs are constantly eroding and collapsing. Avoid any urge you might have to climb. While the beaches in Point Loma are beautiful, they are not for the recreational swimmer, surfer or beach goer. They are dangerous! The big swells often break close to the rocks in places. Also, there are no restrooms or any of the usual beach amenities.
The seaside community of Point Loma is home to one of the oldest lighthouses in California. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse, sitting 422 feet above sea level, was lit for the first time on November 15, 1855. Unfortunately, someone miscalculated and the fog, marine layer and low clouds frequently obscured the light. When the light was Captain Israel, the lighthouse keeper, would fire his shotgun to warn the ships. Thirty-six years later, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse was replaced by the “New” Point Loma Lighthouse which was built at a lower elevation.
Point Loma is also home to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. This is perhaps the most beautiful “resting place” I have seen. It overlooks the San Diego Bay and Pacific Ocean and there is no way to describe the beauty and peacefulness of this place.
When writing about this section of coastline, also known as Sunset Cliffs, it is impossible to separate the San Diego community of Point Loma from the San Diego community of Ocean Beach. Ocean Beach is located in the northwest corner of the peninsula where the San Diego River flows into the ocean. The cliffs continue, the sunsets are spectacular, the tide pools are full of marine life and the only real difference is Ocean Beach has amazing beaches with all the amenities.
Towards the south and near the Ocean Beach pier the waters are designated for surfers only, and as you move north along the beach there is a place for swimmers and even further north there is the well known “Dog” Beach. Pet owners are encouraged to unleash their dogs for a run on the sand or a romp in the waves.
Ocean Beach pier extends 1971 feet into the ocean and it is the second longest pier on the west coast. It is also said to be the longest concrete pier in the world. The fishing is good – no fishing license needed to fish from the pier.
San Diego takes great pride in their beaches and takes great care to preserve them through long range planning.