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Category: Cabrillo NM

Review: Cabrillo National Monument’s Above the fireworks

Review: Cabrillo National Monument’s Above the fireworks

On July 4th, I attended Cabrillo National Monument’s “above the fireworks” event.  It was a rare chance to be in the park after dark, and tickets are limited due to parking capacity! We had an amazing time and I was able to get some great photos of the fireworks over San Diego. There are 4 simultaneous displays going off at once to music broadcast over the radio. We didn’t bring one, but our neighbors were kind enough to turn their volume up.

San Diego bay fireworks
July 4th fireworks over downtown San Diego
Lighthouse at Cabrillo NM at night
Cabrillo Lighthouse after dark
Sunset from Cabrillo NM, home of the rare Torrey Pine
Sunset from Cabrillo NM, home of the rare Torrey Pine

I would definitely recommend attending next year- here are a few tips:

  • Arrive early if you are determined to sit in a specific spot.  The area near the visitor’s center and Cabrillo statue fills up quickly.  The traffic getting in is the worst when it first opens.  We arrived about an hour after opening and traffic was easy getting in.  We found a great spot up near the lighthouse, along the path through the bushes.  You could also claim a spot against the fence just in front of the lighthouse if you don’t mind standing for 20 minutes (place your chairs back against the lighthouse until the show starts).  You won’t have anyone in front of you.  This would be a great spot for photographers, and likely where I will be the next time I attend.
  • Pack blankets and jackets.  It is windy at Cabrillo so it gets pretty chilly after dark, and you are mostly sitting around waiting for the show.
  • Pack a radio.  They sync the fireworks with a local radio station.
  • When the show is over, wait until they close the park to leave.  The folks at Cabrillo do a wonderful job of getting all the cars out of the park efficiently.  The problem lies in Point Loma – you will hit Shelter Island/Harbor Island traffic leaving, no matter what route you go.  There are also detours in place, so we couldn’t get on the 8 where I wanted and that cost us about 40 minutes of traffic.  It took about 3x as long to get home as it should have.  We thought we could beat the rush, but we were in the thick of it.  So bring a flashlight, and enjoy the night view after everyone leaves.

In the end, it is at least 4 hours total for about 20 minutes of fireworks.  But you can occupy the rest of the time enjoying something rare – the park after dark!

Summer events at Cabrillo National Monument!

Summer events at Cabrillo National Monument!

In celebration of the NPS centennial, Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego is hosting special events all summer, in partnership with the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation (CNMF) and Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy (CNMC).  Many of these events are after-hours and extremely special, since the park normally closes at 5pm.  Visitors have a chance to experience sunset from the park, one of the best vantage points of San Diego (in my opinion).

  • Extended hours on Memorial Day, Monday May 30th.  12pm-8pm.  Check out the Open Bunker Day and a special Ranger guided sunset walk!
  • Sunset Yoga in the Park, sponsored by the Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy. Join Cabrillo’s resident yoga instructor for an all-levels sunset yoga classes overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
    • When:  Saturday June 18th and August 20th, from 6pm-8pm.
    • Please bring: Mat, Towel, Water, & Ticket for Entry.
    • Cost: $30. A portion of event proceeds will be donated back to the park to further expand programs that foster unique visitor connections with the natural environment.
  • Celebrate the 4th of July at Above the Fireworks at Cabrillo National Monument 2016.
    • Cost is $50 per vehicle (with up to 10 occupants).  Tickets are limited so get yours today!
    • What to bring:  Low-profile chairs, Flashlights, Sweatshirt or Blanket
    • Check-in 6pm – 8pm, no late check-ins will be admitted
    • Tickets are non-refundable
    • Picnics are encouraged, but alcohol is not allowed. Cabrillo National Monument policy is a smoke-free and trash-free park (whatever you pack in, you pack out) and no dogs are allowed.
Fireworks over the San Diego bay from Point Loma
This is during the winter boat parade, but the view will be similar with two more areas of fireworks.
  • Full Moon walks, available free to members and guests of Cabrillo National Monument Foundation (June 20) and Cabrillo National Monument Conservancy (August 18, September 16, November 14).  There are perks to joining the organizations – first and foremost, helping support San Diego’s only National Park!

    Taken in January 2012, this rare view of the moon rising over downtown is visible from Cabrillo National Monument during special events.
    Taken in January 2012 from Point Loma, this rare view of the moon rising over downtown is visible from Cabrillo National Monument during special events.
  • Fee free days – August 25-28, in celebration of NPS 100th birthday!
  • August 25th is also Lighthouse open tower day – the 2nd of the 3 days per year where guests can explore the Old Point Loma Lighthouse all the way to the top!

    View inside the Old Point Loma lighthouse tower at sunset
    The tower is only completely open 3 days per year

Hope to see you at an event!