Southern Pacific

The sturdy headland that protects San Diego’s extensive harbor from the open Pacific Ocean, Point Loma has long been occupied by the military, whose many fences, radio towers, and gun emplacements all seem to disappear at the tip, where the Cabrillo National Monument (619/557-5450, daily 9am-5pm, $10 per car) protects a breathtaking 160 acres of cliffs and tide pools. It was set aside in 1913 to remember the efforts of conquistador Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who explored the California coast in 1542, sailing under a Spanish flag. There’s also an old lighthouse, some nice trails, and a visitor center describing the whole shebang.