san diego california guide
Point Loma California - San Diego County

Point Loma is one of the Jewels of San Diego, California. A 150 year old lighthouse crowns the seaward tip of Point Loma.  It is now a museum featuring all the furnishings and memories of a lighthouse keeper and his family.  Just steps away is the Cabrillo National Monument Park museum where you can learn about the early discoverers of this part of America, sea life (especially whales) and enjoy a panoramic vista of San Diego.

From the museum’s patio you can enjoy spectacular views of the city skyline, the harbor, Coronado Island and US Naval Air station, Tijuana Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and the Mexican Coronado Islands 15 miles offshore. Hundreds of feet below at the waters edge is a newer US Coast Guard lighthouse, with its gigantic fog horns and white 1920s clapboard housing for the Coast Guard staff that live onsite.

Point Loma is blessed with a mico-climate with canyons and neighborhoods filled with evergreens, eucalyptus, and  lush vegetation in its midsection, with drier more Mediterranean climates on its northern and southern ends.  Some say that Point Loma has the most perfect weather in the US.  The high real estate prices with mere cottages starting at nearly one million dollars reflect this.

A university midway on the “Point” has changed hands and names over the decades from when first founded as a religious commune approximately 125 years ago.  Some of the original frame buildings exist including  Amethyst Hall – a Victorian octagonal building with amethyst colored stained glass windows in a clerestory ceiling above.

Abalones used to be harvested commercially from the rich kelp beds off the peninsula’s tip, then shelled  at  ”Ballast Point” just inside the harbor entrance.  The name having come about from the days when sailing ships would unload their rock ballast before taking on cargo for their return journeys. The area is now a submarine base. 

On Point Loma’s San Diego bay side is Shelter Island. Located here is a charter fishing fleet, marinas full of yachts, yacht brokers, yacht clubs, boat yards, fine restaurants and hotels.  The Kona Kai restaurant on the Northern tip of the island commands a downtown San Diego skyline and bay view as well as being located at the entrance to the Americas Cup harbor.  This Polynesian themed restaurant is one of the original themed restaurants dating back to the 1950s. 

Adjacent to Shelter Island is the home of the San Diego Portuguese fishing community.  These immigrants formed the backbone of the tuna fishing and canning operations dating back to the early days of the last century.  A bronze monument to the tuna fisherman can be viewed on Shelter Island drive.  Adjacent to the Americas Cup Harbor is the site of the old US Naval Training Center.  Hundreds of thousands of Navy and Marine recruits received their basic training in these Spanish styled buildings, wood framed barracks and on the parade field. 

A landlocked mock destroyer ship, boat rental facility, nine hole golf course,  and bowling alley remain open to the public  with  the remaining land mostly in the hands of private developers.  Plans call for condos, townhomes and retail buildings where barracks and heavy cannon once stood.

Point Loma article by David Mandich Travel Writer - January 4, 2007

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San Diego, California - Last Revision - 04 January 2007 - jat