The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (2024)

Rich in nature, people, and history, Point Loma is one of the oldest communities in San Diego and one of the area's most-visited neighborhoods, featuring some of the best activities and outdoor adventures around.

With spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the San Diego Bay, the downtown skyline,and Coronado, the sights in Point Loma are unparalleled. However,there's more to do and see than just gorgeous views, including some popularand lesser-known activities like the Lighthouse or the Fort Rosecrans Cemetary.

Whether you prefer active adventures or quietly discovering the history and culture of the region, there's plenty to do and see on your trip to San Diego, especially if you visit the Point Loma neighborhood.

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Discover the Old Point Loma Lighthouse

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (1)

Address

Old Point Loma Lighthouse, Cabrillo National Monument, 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

The central feature of Cabrillo National Monument atop the Point Loma Peninsula is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which was erected by the U.S. Government in 1855.

Standing 462 feet above sea level, the old lighthouse was at one point the highest in the world. It remained the loftiest still operating in the U.S. until 1891, when it was discontinued in favor of a new, lower lighthouse closer to the shoreline. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse had been at such a high altitude, that it could not be seen by incoming vessels in foggy weather or when low clouds obscured it.

Though the lighthouse has long been discontinued, the building has been restored and is now a beloved landmark of San Diego. It now operates as a museum and is located within the Cabrillo National Monument, where millions of visitors take in the spectacular, panoramic view of the city and ocean on clear days.

02of 10

Learn About Sea Life at the Point Loma Tide Pools

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (2)

Address

Lands End Road, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

Phone+1 619-557-5450

Because of their protected status, some of the best tide pools in California can be found right at Cabrillo National Monument. After your visit to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, head to the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula, where a rocky intertidal zone offers a window into the ocean ecosystem that lies along San Diego's coast. During low tide, children and adults will see how fragile and vital this ecosystem can be, as marine creatures like sea anemones, starfish, sea cucumbers, crabs, and sea urchins show up in these rocky depressions. The best time to go is during late fall or winter, when low tide takes place during the daytime.

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Enjoy the View at the Sunset Cliffs

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (3)

Address

Sunset Cliffs, San Diego, CA 92107, USA

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park—a 68-acre park with 400-foot sea cliff formations, sea caves, and native coastal sage scrub—offers a setting found in very few places around the world. It's a lovely place to visit any time of day, but it's particularly so during sunset, as the sky turns stunning shades of orange, yellow, and pink while waves crash below. Just south of Ocean Beach and on the west side of the Point Loma peninsula, Sunset Cliffs isn't a sandy stretch of beach for frolicking, though it is a favorite spot for surfers willing to make their way down the slippery rocks to catch waves. For those visiting from December to early April, be on the lookout for gray whales as they migrate up the coast.

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Tour Shelter Island

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (4)

Address

Shelter Island, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

Family Attractions

4.8

Since it's connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land, the 1.2-mile-long Shelter Island is technically an isthmus, but it's also the most popular neighborhood of Point Loma for tourists and locals alike to enjoy recreational activities and outdoor fun.

Shelter Island is home to a busy public boat launch, and tour operators like Sail San Diego and Next Level Sailing offer sailing and whale-watching tours that embark from here. There are relaxing picnic areas along Shoreline Par, too, which is an ideal spot to catch spectacular skyline views. Shelter Island also features a fishing pier, where locals cast their lines and luck, hoping for a big bite. For those looking to spend the night, Shelter Island offers tourist-oriented, Polynesian-themed hotels, such as Kona Kai Resort & Spa and the Humphreys Half Moon Inn.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.

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Relax at Ocean Beach

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (5)

Address

1850 Ocean Front St, San Diego, CA 92107, USA

Of all San Diego's beach communities, perhaps none exemplifies the community and neighborhood ethos better than Ocean Beach (commonly referred to as OB). Some might argue that Ocean Beach is not part of Point Loma, but geographically it anchors the northwest portion of the peninsula.

Ocean Beach is fondly looked upon as the neighborhood that time forgot and it still has that hippie vibe, a carryover from the 1960s and 70s that never really left. Where other beach communities have embraced commercialism, Ocean Beach remains fiercely independent and skeptical of wholesale change. Swing by on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., when the Ocean Beach Farmers Market sets up shop to proffer everything from flowers to freshly baked bread and kombucha. In the fall, the neighborhood hosts the annual Oktoberfest, which features a beer garden and live music. OB is also home to one of the country's first leash-free beaches, Dog Beach, meaning that you can let your furry friend roam free while you soak up the sun.

06of 10

Shop Among History at Liberty Station

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (6)

Address

2455 Cushing Rd, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

Phone+1 619-531-1534

From 1923 to 1997, Liberty Station acted as San Diego's Naval Training Center (NTC). In the years since, the 361-acre property has transformed into a planned residential community, with mixed-use retail, commercial, and cultural tenants incorporated into many of the preserved historical buildings. Here you will find an expansive 46-acre green space that fronts the boat channel, making it agreat place to explore, stroll, shop, dine, and play—right in the middle of the city. To learn more about Liberty Station's history, consider taking a self-guided walking tour of the area, stopping by the NTC's former Commissary/Mess Hall and Luce Auditorium, which saw the likes of Nat King Cole, Bob Hope, and Lawrence Welk.

Throughout the year, Liberty Station also hosts a number of classes, events, and festivals, including an outdoor summer music series and a First Friday public art experience in the Arts District. Be sure to check the events calendar before your visit to see what's on.

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Play a Round at the Loma Club

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (7)

Address

2960 Truxtun Rd, San Diego, CA 92106-6115, USA

Phone+1 619-222-4653

This funky little nine-hole golf course is a remnant of the old Naval Training Center and survived the property's transformation into Liberty Station. The Loma Club is one of the oldest courses in the county, having been around since the 1920s. Located at the north end of Liberty Station, the new and improved Loma Club features redesigned fairways, greens, and practice facilities designed by renowned San Diego architect Cary Bickler. It offers two courses to choose from, a par-3 course and mini golf, the latter of which does not require a reservation.

08of 10

Visit Point Loma Bunkers

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (8)

Address

San Diego, CA 92106, USA

4.9

Even though Point Loma and the surrounding area have a prominent military presence (Fort Rosecrans Cemetery, Naval Submarine Base), many people don't realize that Point Loma was at one point a major military outpost. From 1918 and 1943, the U.S. army built coastal defenses—including searchlight bunkers, fire control stations,and gun batteries—to protect San Diego Bay against attack during both World Wars. The remains can still be seen at Cabrillo National Monument, where you can learn more about the military's defensive strategies at the "They Stood the Watch" exhibit, housed inside an old radio station. The bunkers, which date back to World War II, are open on the fourth Saturday of every month.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.

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Wander Around Point Loma Nazarene University

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (9)

Address

3900 Lomaland Dr, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

Phone+1 619-849-2200

It's probably the one place on Point Loma that most San Diegans haven't set foot upon, much less even know about. However, Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is arguably the most picturesque college campus in San Diego. The 2,000-student PLNU sits on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Before PLNU moved to this site in 1973, the area was home to California Western University. Before then, the site had some academic buildings in place, including the Greek Amphitheater, which was the first built in North America in 1901.

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Visit Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (10)

Address

1700 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106-3601, USA

Phone+1 619-553-2084

As you drive along the Cabrillo Memorial Drive heading towards Cabrillo National Monument, you'll notice a grave site of thousands of identical headstones all in uniform rows. This is Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, which was once known as the Bennington National Cemetery before the Veterans Administration National Cemetery System took it over in 1973.

A burial ground before 1847, this graveyard became an Army Post cemetery in the 1860s. It is the final resting place for most who fell at San Pasqual in 1846 and for the USS Bennington victims of 1905. At one time, it had been known as Bennington National Cemetery. It's a solemn memorial for those who served this country and is a tranquil setting to reflect.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does Point Loma have a beach?

    There are no beaches on Point Loma, although some may argue that Ocean Beach is geographically within the neighborhood's boundaries. However, you can still get incredible ocean views from Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and Cabrillo National Monument, which offers access to some of California's best tide pools.

  • Is Point Loma its own city?

    No, Point Loma is a neighborhood within San Diego, California.

  • How do you get to the Point Loma Tide Pools?

    The Point Loma Tide Pools can be found within Cabrillo National Monument. It's recommended that you drive rather than walk, as the road to the tide pools is narrow and doesn't have shoulders. From the parking area, a short, dirt path will take you right down to the tide pools.

Your Trip to San Diego: The Complete Guide

The Top 10 Things to Do in Point Loma, California (2024)

FAQs

What is the Point Loma known for? ›

Point Loma is historically important as the landing place of the first European expedition to come ashore in present-day California. Point Loma houses two major military bases, a national cemetery, a national monument, and a university, in addition to residential and commercial areas.

What are some fun facts about Point Loma Nazarene? ›

Today, PLNU is home to more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students. There is a Bible on campus, encased in protective glass, that belonged to Phineas Bresee. It's opened to Isaiah 62, the chapter Bresee claimed for the school.

How far is Point Loma from the beach? ›

The distance between Point Loma and Mission Beach is 8 miles.

What is the acceptance rate for PLNU? ›

Point Loma Nazarene University is a small private university located on an urban campus in San Diego, California. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,174, and admissions are selective, with an acceptance rate of 84%.

Is Point Loma worth the money? ›

Point Loma is yes pricey; however, the low class ratios, beautiful campus, and even more compelling community makes up for the tuition. There are many scholarships that one can apply for. The Student Financial Services (SFS) is great.

What is the Point Loma controversy? ›

A decision by Point Loma Nazarene University to limit the screening of a documentary about the Bible and hom*osexuality has angered students who say the move was disrespectful to the gay community and is having a chilling effect on free speech and academic inquiry.

Does Point Loma have a dress code? ›

Clothing should be appropriate to the occasion and in good taste, reflecting the atmosphere of vital Christianity, which is one of the basic principles of Point Loma Nazarene University. Personal appearance should not disrupt the mood or atmosphere of the activity being attended.

How religious is Point Loma? ›

PLNU gathers for worship at least four times per week. We often get questions like “why chapel?” or “why is attending chapel required?” We are a Christian university that truly desires to invest in the spiritual growth and maturation of each student.

Is Point Loma a good place to live? ›

Is Point Loma a good neighborhood in San Diego? Point Loma is a charming coastal community known for its stunning ocean views and historic lighthouses. The area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a plethora of activities such as hiking, surfing, and fishing.

Can you see Mexico from Point Loma? ›

On a clear day, Point Loma is one of the most scenic locations in Southern California. Looking east, it offers a spectacular panorama of San Diego Bay and south along the coast into Mexico.

Can you see whales from Point Loma? ›

Whale-watching at Cabrillo National Monument

The high cliffs of Point Loma in Cabrillo National Monument make a wonderful vantage point to watch the grays as they parade by close to shore.

Can you have a car at Point Loma? ›

All vehicles must display a valid PLNU permit or parking pass at all times when on the Point Loma or Mission Valley campuses.

Is Point Loma hard to get into? ›

Point Loma Nazarene University has an acceptance rate of 82%. Half the applicants admitted to Point Loma Nazarene University who submitted test scores have an SAT score between 1160 and 1360 or an ACT score of 23 and 30.

What is point Loma ranked? ›

Point Loma Nazarene University's ranking in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities West, #9.

How much does Point Loma cost? ›

First Year Freshman or Transfer Student Estimated Costs
2024-25 CostsPer SemesterPer Year
Tuition (12-17 units)*$22,650$45,300
General Fee$475$950
Room**$3,950$7,900
Dorm Fund***$37$74
2 more rows

What is La Loma known for? ›

The district of La Loma in Quezon City has for the longest time the home of Metro Manila's lechonan. Lechon is a famous delicacy which is the center of every Filipino festivity meal.

Why is Casa Loma so famous? ›

Casa Loma stood as a monument to its creator – it surpassed any private home in North America. With soaring battlements and secret passageways, it paid homage to the castles and knights of days gone by. To this day it remains one of the only true castles in North America.

What is the nickname for Point Loma? ›

The fishing fleets of the Chinese and Portuguese communities earned the Roseville area of Point Loma the nickname "Tunaville." Today, Point Loma is one of San Diego's most historic neighborhoods; a destination for culture, fine dining, and sportfishing; and host to important military bases.

Is Point Loma a very religious school? ›

We believe in a holistic, Christian education that equips you with the knowledge, wisdom, and experience to enrich your faith and live a meaningful life. The added value students receive from a PLNU education is an even greater investment that continues to pay off within four years and far more into the future!

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